Thursday, January 5, 2012

James Durbin, An Aspie's Idol

I am not typically the starstruck kind of girl. Until last year, I never watched American Idol, and I have no plans for watching future seasons of the show. However, right as we were accepting a Tourette's diagnosis for my, then, eight-year-old, a friend called and said, "Have you seen the guy on American Idol? He has Tourette's and Asperger's." I looked at my child who has boycotted children's choir since he was old enough to make his wishes known and was the only second grader not to participate in the school chorus (back in our public school days). I tried to imagine him performing on national television and in front of a live audience. I decided that, whoever this guy was, he must have fought pretty hard to conquer his obstacles and make his dreams happen.

We tuned in.

That was our first semester of homeschool. I DVRed American Idol on Weds nights, and then Haydn and I watched it together on Thursday mornings. On Friday mornings, we watched nervously, praying that James would make it another week. When I heard, before we had a chance to watch the episode, that James had been voted off, I sat Haydn down for a talk. Being the mother of an aspie, I know that my son should always be prepared for a disappointment. I could not let him watch without a warning. Haydn decided he would not watch that final episode of James' Idol time. I still have it on our DVR queue, just in case he changes his mind.

I was hopeful that, despite being voted off, James would release an album. He was obviously very talented (there's an understatement), and we had not been the only people upset by his dismissal. Even my husband enjoyed James' performances, which I fast forwarded to for him, because he did not want to watch AI. My husband grew up loving classic rock and some of those bands that scream a lot and give me a headache. It says something when an artist appeals to Corey and I both. We are pretty different. At last, I saw an announcement for Memory of a Beautiful Disaster and started counting down until its release. I ordered it, wrapped it, and placed it under the Christmas tree. I will include a picture of Haydn after he opened the gift. His reaction made me a bit teary-eyed. (And I definitely ripped the CD to my own iTunes account and have also been playing it in the car. It is really good. Go buy it!)

Recently, I started following James on Twitter. I am hoping to get a chance to show him the picture of Haydn holding his CD and tell him what an inspiration he has become for our family. He reminds me so much of my son. I find myself feeling very motherly towards this man I have never even met. So much so that, when I saw he had tied the knot with the lovely Heidi, I called my husband to tell him the news. I considered calling a few other people, but realized quickly how crazy that would be. Who is this person who cares about Hollywood weddings? Not me, surely.

I tweeted a congratulations to James and his new bride. I was stoked (yes, I did just use the word stoked) when she replied. I plan to buy the magazine issue with their wedding pictures, but don't worry too much. I promise not to paste them into the family album. ;)

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