Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Inclusion Supersized at the Superfest with Byron Allen

For the past two nights I have taken Nick to the filming of the NBC special Byron Allen Presents Comedy and Music Superfest which will air this Saturday. I know this does not sound like a big deal, because you guys know I take Nick everywhere, but it was a big deal. It was big because, first because we were there. And, then on day two Nick sat in the front row where he was included with everyone else. Not tucked back in the crowd, but right up front! 

He was not included as a special needs kiddo, he was included as a young man excited to enjoy the show like everyone else, and enjoy he did! Tell all of your friends to watch and cheer on our kiddo! 

My goal as Nick's mom has always been for him to have the fullest life possible, no limits! When Nick was 7 a mom asked "Why do you take Nick everywhere with you?" She was not being mean, rather she knew how much effort it took to bring him along with this constant tantrums and crying as he struggled to navigate the world. Still for me, I never questioned if he should go anywhere his family went. To the contrary, I never thought his disability should deprive him of the right to take part in everything. I was not going to let the world drive us into isolation, for convenience. 

All of the work, all those years of taking him out have paid off for both of us. These last few nights I was the happiest mom. My face muscles hurt from smiling as I experienced the gift of successful inclusion and witnessed moments where his face lit up with pure joy! A joy that only comes from being with people.

Nick doesn't know a thing about celebrity and he doesn't care. What he cares about - that was so clear - was the music and the excitement of being in a crowd of happy people. He stood when we stood, he clapped when we clapped and he laughed when we laughed. 

Happy Mom enjoying the show! 
The highlights for me began when Nicks eyes grew wide, and his face lit up as John Legend sat down at a piano and began to sign and play, Nick was mesmerized. He does not know John as a celebrity he was simply watching an incredible performer up close and in person. Next was Toni Braxton. Again, this was not about celebrity, it was all about seeing a hot woman! When Toni tossed off her jacket to expose a tiny sequined get up, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head! He expression was all "Mom, you never told me about this!!!"  No doubt my kid is all "He/Him"!! And, Nick loved watching all of the instruments in the band, and he noticed things I took for granted like the gold color of the horns. He loved  how they shined. 

Most of all I felt gratitude. Gratitude because sitting in the front row of a show, that Byron was making for families, all families, was our family. Our family with our special needs kiddo, who reflects so many families was right there, front and center included for the world to see! 

Thank you Byron!  Thank you Byron's family and the entire AMG team! 

Thank you Carolyn for all you do, including having raised a good man. I love you, and I am honored to be part of your extended family! 

Must see TV with Byron Allen, Kenan Thompson, Cedric The Entertainer, Tiffany Haddish, Howie Mandel, Jon Lovitz, Loni Love, Gary Owen, Tommy Davidson, John Legend, Toni Braxton, Gabriel Iglesias Boyz II Men, Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind & Fire

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