It lurked on the calendar all semester. It mocked, it poked fun, it menaced. It served as another reminder of where we are, who we are, and how different that is from where we thought we'd be. They'd been hard before... they'd made our kids cry, even made us cry in the past. And here came another chance to conquer.
What could strike such anxiety in a family's... a mother's... heart? An appointment? A deadline? What in the world...?
The spring band concert.
In the past, even at the Christmas concert last semester, if we went at all it was for the very beginning, just long enough for the people who want us there to see us, then we leave when Ryan gets upset. Usually it's like opening that pair of jeans you just shouldn't be wearing in the first place. Once that zipper starts, it's gonna keep going! The force behind it is too great.
Please don't tell me I'm the only one who gets that analogy...
Anyway, we made it to the concert, just as it began to rain. I sat in the van and took one last deep breath, prayed again that we'd do well at least through the percussion ensembles, and it would be great if we could hear the band a little. After reminding myself of the need to be flexible, peaceful, kind, and calm at all cost, we all unbuckled, unstrapped, unharnessed, locked, grabbed hands, and walked.
We found a place in the auditorium close enough to the exit and right on the aisle. See, I used to be a band director, and that means that I was a college music student. I know concert etiquette. All the unspoken rules were pounded into me by the dean of the school of music, who glowered over us at every recital, seemingly waiting for someone to giggle or talk so he could pounce. There is a way to behave respectfully during a performance, and it's hard to throw all that out the window... even part of it. Leaving or entering in the middle of a performance, for instance, is the inexcusable in the professional music world. There's no room for talking, which means that the echolalic outbursts that are part of Ryan's charm aren't terribly welcome.
All that said, I know this is a high school band concert. But honestly, when you know better, you should do better. And when you respect the work these kids and directors have put in to prepare in addition to knowing better, well, it's quite the internal battle.
We've left before. We've listened to most concerts in the hall, if at all.
Once we found seats after making sure we weren't too close to anyone, I placed myself on the aisle with Maelynn in my lap, Ryan beside me, and Richie beside him. We talked about staying quiet and listening. We talked about staying in our seats. Honestly, I was just proud that we made it into our seats, and I'd be tickled to get through the state-bound ensembles before we left.
Ensembles played, we stayed.
The kids shouted "There's Daddy!' every time they saw him, and "Where's Daddy?" when he walked off stage. But for the most part they were being awesome, so I thought it couldn't hurt to try staying through the pop tunes I knew they'd planned.
Then the boosters talked, and we were still there. Ryan yelled out a couple of things, including yelling "candy!!!" right after he whispered to me "do not yell 'candy'". Encouraging, excited looks from M, one of the other band wives, boosted me to consider staying through the UIL contest pieces.
WE MADE IT.
Folks, I'm not the best musician ever, but I've played some pretty cool concerts. We played at the Meyerson Symphony Center twice, at the Texas Music Educator's Association convention as a feature concert (something the hubster is a bit jealous of, I might add), and played some seriously stiff stuff! I've been moved to tears even in rehearsal as a player, and I've prepared concerts as a band director and have some fabulous memories of making music in some pretty cool places in some pretty cool ways. But the hands-down, best musical moment ever?
For just a minute or even less, I had all three of my children's hands in mine, and together, we helped conduct one of the UIL pieces. It was just a moment. But it was a moment of sharing one of the things I love the very most in life with the people I pour my life out for.
It was sweet. Inexplicably delicious. And I will savor it forever.
Thanks be to God for these moments when we feel the warmth of His hand, giving us a precious gift!