My son Jamie wants to be a rock star, just like Steven Tyler. He wants to sing at the front of a band in the biggest arenas in the world. The only way this could have been predicted from his toddler days was that he preferred to sing rather than speak. Learning to speak was as difficult for Jamie as learning a foreign language is for the rest of us. He didn't like to interact with other people because he couldn't understand what they were saying or doing. Music and movies were a refuge because they were always the same, predictable and safe.
When we were told that his condition was called autism, we didn't know what the future would hold for Jamie. All the dreams that parents have for their children were gone and only questions remained. It was a scary moment. As Jamie grew and matured, we learned to live without the dreams and just appreciate his humor and his enthusiasm. Yes, his autism still limits his world. But he loves the things that he lets into his world more deeply than most of us can appreciate.
We can never tell where one of his loves will come from, or lead to. One of Jamie's early loves was roller coasters, which has allowed our family to travel. When he was younger, Jamie did not like to travel, because it took him out of his comfortable routines. But if there was a roller coaster at the end of the plane ride, it was worth the trip. We rode lots of coasters, but his absolute favorite was Disney World’s Rockin' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. He loved that ride so much that we then travelled all the way to Disneyland Paris for the Rockin' Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith.
So the roller coasters led to Aerosmith, which led to the ambition to be like Steven Tyler. He has been taking voice and guitar lessons at the Paul Green School of Rock for over a year now. Much to Jamie’s delight, their Spring show this year was a tribute to Aerosmith. And thanks to a love of Aerosmith, there was Jamie, who used to be afraid to talk to one person, singing Dream On in front of 500. (You can see his performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP1e8LdNN-o&feature=channel_page).
Jamie is 14 now and with the straight path of our early expectations completely out of sight, we are continuing down this twisty path of one interest leading to another. Jamie's endless enthusiasm has taken us higher (literally, those coasters are enormous) and farther (to France!) than we ever expected. So I leave it up to you to decide if Jamie is one of Aerosmith’s Most Deserving Fans. I’m just so grateful that Aerosmith has helped Jamie develop a talent that can let this old mom, even just a little, to dream on.