I can’t believe that I was crazy enough to put together another Signing Time Foundation benefit concert. Last year I pulled it together in just one month. That’s right, one month. This time, I thought it would be a breeze. I was confident that with an entire year, everything would fall into place easily. Not true! Due to… well, life, I was unable to pull together a committee. This meant that with one month left before the event, it was me, my husband and the ever-capable Carrissa from the Foundation who organized this year’s amazing concert.
The day before the concert, Rachel and Leah’s flight was delayed. They spent 8 hours waiting at the airport! But they made the best of it and had a great time together. They arrived very late that night and I took them straight to the hotel. Rachel had a 5:20 a.m. television news interview, but she got to rest at the hotel again before doing story time at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. People were shocked to see how big Leah is, and how little Rachel is
The concert itself was amazing, but the most memorable moment of the evening afterward during the “Meet and Greet.” A woman named Mary, and her son Elliot, waited patiently in line to talk to Rachel. Elliot has Down syndrome and uses signs to communicate. He loves Signing Time and came to the concert last year. When Mary finally got to the front of the line, she asked Rachel if next time she would sing “Shine” because, as a mother of a child with special needs, sometimes that song is what helps her through the day. Rachel asked Mary to hang out for a few minutes so she could finish talking to the last few people in line. (In the meantime, I rushed to set the sound equipment back up!)
Rachel put on a very special encore performance for Mary and Elliot. There were about 15 of us still there, and not a dry eye among us. Rachel even put Elliot’s name in the song, and when Elliot’s eyes lit up, we all cried even harder. That small act of kindness made it all worthwhile. Rachel could very easily have said, “Sure, I’ll sing it next time,” but instead she gave us all a gift to remember. I will never forget the smile on Elliot’s face!
-Ronai Brumett, Master Signing Time Academy Instructor
P.S. I want to send a big “thank you” to all of the Signing Time Academy Instructors, Saint Paul College ITP students, Macaroni Kids Volunteers, my kids, and their friends for lending a hand. I couldn’t have done it without you!