Our Lady Smiled Down Upon Us...

I was downloading some pictures this afternoon and came across this one of me and my daughter. It was taken December 7 at the George Mason University Holiday Concert. We were very blessed to receive tickets this year from the sweet and wonderful Tony Maiello, Conductor of the GMU Symphony and Chorale and a Professor of Music at the University. What an incredible talent and extremely gifted instructor. He sent them specifically for Courtney and that alone makes him tops in my book.

My Courtney LOVES music. It calms her, makes her laugh and smile, and occasionally puts her to sleep. She is blind and non-verbal (meaning she sounds like a baby), but music has a universal language all it's own. I have to admit to great concern in attending the concert, because she doesn't do well in situations where she has to be quiet. She hums or calls out which can create some pretty awkward moments when there is complete silence. So as we were loading her wheel chair in the van I began to pray to Our Lady for help. I just wanted Courtney to be quiet at all the right times and to not draw attention to ourselves. I could feel the stress begin to climb up my neck and settle at the base in a dull throb.

"Have faith, it's going to be fine" said my husband as we began the 20 minute car ride. Faith, I have faith, I thought as my stomach rolled or maybe not. We arrived and Our Lady answered my first concern right away. We were seated right next to an exit where I could easily get out if Courtney was too loud. Thank you Mother Mary, I breathed a sigh of relief.

As we waited for the concert to begin, we saw many people we knew and smiles and hugs were exchanged. People were happy to see Courtney with us and kept rubbing her hands, giving kisses and hugs and she was happy. Another prayer answered, we felt welcomed and the awkwardness we usually feel about being the only family with a wheelchair just dissipated. Thank you Precious Mother I prayed silently

Then the music started and we were just transported into another place. Being in a concert hall, the music physically surrounds you. The air just vibrates with it and sweeps you away. I watched Courtney's face the whole time and she never stopped smiling. She was enraptured with the glory and majesty of it all. I had tears streaming down my face when they played Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach. I kept wondering if Courtney could actually feel the notes played as the strings section just soared. Her face was so peaceful and filled with absolute joy. It was transforming for her body as well. Nothing was tense, all her muscles were relaxed and she was serene.

When they payed The Dance of the Jester by Tchaikovsky she leaned forward in her chair and beamed at the quick pace and wonderful horns. Her hands wouldn't stop swinging as if she herself was the conductor. I imagine that the herald of Angels sound something like that.

Then a miracle took place before my eyes. The GMU University Singers began performing Franz Biebel's Ave Maria. They were singing accapella directly above us on the balcony and the words fell as gently as the snowflakes on a winter morning. Courtney began to search for where they were with her body. She kept looking up and over, her smile growing broader by the moment. Then, she reached over and placed her hand on my lap. Now, I was in a full weep, because this child very rarely moves her hands with purpose. I placed my hand in hers and leaned over and whispered in her ear as the sung prayer continued:

"Can you see her Courtney? Is Mother Mary here? Can you hear them singing for her?"

She leaned over and laid her head on my shoulder and said very slowly " MMMMaaaa"

I had no words, no tears left, I had nothing but wonder and praise for Mary, my most Blessed Mother, who once again provided another miracle for me and my precious daughter. She was there in that moment, of that I am quite sure. My faith restored and my heart full of yet another Christmas miracle, I silently thanked her for keeping me in the moment with my daughter and for taking all my worry and concern away. It doesn't get any better than that.

Thank you Tony, for allowing the Blessed Mother to work through you and your students that night. It is a night we will never forget.

Merry Christmas,

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