WHEN I see Amelia swinging atop the trapeze, back straight, eyes clear and true, I think: “Anything is possible.”
I don’t think about the time I tried to take her to another circus class someplace else and they said no. No, because she’s deaf and autistic and it was all too hard. My daughter wasn’t worth the effort.
I don’t even think back to the day I took her to a soccer clinic and she lost it, running across the pitches to avoid me, screaming and yelling.
I kept falling over in my desperate effort to catch her, to get us out of there. My legs were grazed and people stared. Their eyes said, “Thank god that’s not me.”
After an eternity in hell, a burly, tattooed man helped me carry her away to our final point of collapse on the nature strip. I held that stranger’s hand so tight and cried enough tears to flood the street.
I forget his name but not his kindness.
My mind has moved on and carried me elsewhere, to human pyramids and balancing acts. To death-defying feats like the tentative first steps taken on a wire.
To a place where a young woman has learned some Auslan without being asked just so Amelia can be more involved. I want to hug her for the longest time.
To Thursday nights when we drop her off in the safe hands of her new troupe of friends and we don’t worry.
We sneak a peek at her from the doorway, transfixed by her form sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with kids her own age.
She watches everything like a hawk and is not afraid to try. Suspending her strong body from brightly coloured sashes she looks weightless and free. So are we.
We don’t want a lot more in life than to see our child happy and healthy and safe. To be able to join in and feel included. They’re basic things but what else could be more important?
Nothing. In our world we’ve learned to appreciate the smallest of triumphs. Like the look on Amelia’s face when we pick her up at 6pm and she’s flushed from the fun of it all.
We dreamed of this for her and now we are here. Our little girl’s run away to join the circus but she has our blessing along with our hearts.