Thursday, February 12, 2009

Musical Epiphanies, Part 1

Lent begins in a couple of weeks and I feel like I'm collecting a basketful of pieces of things to contemplate, think about and pray over during that time. One of the shards in said basket would be all the attendant schtuff around raising a teenage girl. Because let me tell you, for the last few months The Child has been busting my damn chops. Like, to the point where I have seriously been depressed with the thought that we have totally frakked up as parents, that she will never amount to anything, that in a few short years we will be foisting onto an unsuspecting society this completely lazy, entitled, self-absorbed person who, on top of everything else, believes that the floor is a place to store stuff.

It's been a little depressing, to tell you the truth.

Rewind to Monday night.

There was a school concert. I was not excited. After 9 years of school concerts I'm pretty much over watching other people's kids stand and scratch while mumbling the ABC song, accompanied by the lead pellet of fear in my belly that it'll be MY kid who scratches the most or pukes or hits such a high and horrible flat note that it'll be heard in space and it'll be all over CNN.

I pretty much had to beg The Spouse to go with me. Because he is over it, too.

But we made it a date. We had a lovely dinner in a nice place and walked over to the concert hall and they were, thank God, serving liquor. (Sometimes it soooo pays to be Catholic). We had our cocktail and we looked around the lovely concert hall and steeled ourselves to do what parents do: which is go to these things and fake enthusiasm if you have to because you love your child and support her and want her to grow up and do something meaningful with her life (even if at the moment you seriously doubt you've given her the tools to do so).

Then everything began to shift. This was, I realized, a big deal. Turns out, it was the 10th year for this particular event - "A Festival of Catholic High School Choirs". It was a sold out show, emcee'd by a local celeb, attended by the that. Plus, Benaroya is just a freaking fabulous place for a concert. Suddenly, I sit up a little straighter.

The first half of the show was each of the participating high schools doing one or two numbers. And of course, The Child's school is the last on the program. But the performances ranged from quite good to excellent. So it was enjoyable. So enjoyable that, even though we were at this point listening to other people's kids, The Spouse turned to me with tears in his eyes and whispered, "Thank you for making me come to this".

Then, finally, it was time for The Child's school. I got a little nervous. I remembered The Child lamenting earlier that they weren't prepared enough (even after 2 solid days of rehearsal capping off 3 months of practise). What if they sucked? I thought.

But they didn't. Oh, they so didn't. They were, in fact, quite the best choir in the concert and I'm not just saying that. They were so good I wished I had snuck in a camera and recorded the performance so I could show it to you.

Quick intermission and then the choirs combined...first all the boys for 2 songs, then all the girls, then everyone together. More loveliness ensued...especially when the girls sang "Heart, We Will Forget Him"...which I had never heard but is just gorgeous. And I watched my daughter sing, her posture perfect, her attention focused, her mouth moving and I was proud of her; proud of all her hard work, proud of her for being old enough to essentially be away from us for 2 days preparing for this moment, happy that she has found a niche.

But the thing that was most profound was when the choirs combined...nearly 700 kids. (OK, not kids...young people who are this close to being adults). Because I could still see The Child. And for the first time in my life I looked at her and saw myself. Which was very weird because people have always told me that she looks like me but I have never seen it. Monday night, half a concert hall away and surrounded by other young people, I saw it. And it astonished me because she looked so beautiful and grownup and purposeful. After weeks of feeling depressed about my failures as a parent I suddenly felt a rush of hope. Maybe she's going to turn out alright after all.

Sometimes, you get gifts when you aren't expecting them.

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Blogger Willym opined...

Dearest Rainey, I read this at a point when I was more than a bit down - and found I was almost in tears. But they weren't the bad kind - they were so the good kind.

You're right sometimes the gifts come when least expected but thank god they do come.

Much love

February 13, 2009 9:14 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Oh what a wonderul should put it in your pocket and when she is being a real crab, (that was what my mom called us when she was mad at us)just pull it out and remember.

February 13, 2009 9:32 AM  
Blogger Doralong opined...

It's quite shocking to look at them and suddenly see, really see them, isn't it?

February 13, 2009 11:55 AM  
Blogger Citymouse opined...

I was just thinking about that highschool transformation. It is so wonderful to watch them be themselves --- who they are suppose to be.

February 13, 2009 6:29 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Funny..I just assumed that you knew The Child was a miniature you in progress.
I love this story!

February 14, 2009 10:33 AM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

This is SO true!--and you are SO not the worst mother in the world!! You are a wonderful Mom, and the Child will grow up to be a beautiful woman who loves you dearly...believe me, this will happen. :)

February 14, 2009 8:46 PM  
Anonymous the neighbor opined...

Great post Nayb - glad it worked out - much better than going with me, right?

February 16, 2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann opined...

That is a beautiful story, truly. Your kiddo is going to be a fabulous adult.

(And thank you for the flashback to my own high school choir days - we too sang "Heart, we will forget him". I've got to go find that song on iTunes now.)

February 17, 2009 8:23 AM  

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