Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spring Concert: A smile from Tess

*Last night belonged to my middle girl, Tess. It was the night of her spring concert.

My children attend the Catholic School a few blocks away from our house. Our oldest began in the third grade after my attempts, as a good sociologist, to teach her the power of diversity by sending her to the public, inner city school, failed miserably. Really. If you put a child in a school where she is the only child of her kind, this does not teach of diversity. Instead, my kid got a tremendous lesson on White Privilege and I had to yank her out of there before she started to believe that the teachers were supposed to dress her, and then put her atop an elephant robed in sparkling fabrics, to be led through the school whilst everyone salaamed to her. It was BAD.

So I pulled her, and put her into a school where everyone was like her, and she got a dose of humbling. I breathed a sigh of relief. She graduated last year, and is back in public school for high school, and this one is actually diverse... so the sociological Suz is pleased.

Tess is in the first grade. Grace will start in the Pre K four class next year. We will be attending these spring concerts for TEN MORE YEARS. And let me tell you, they are really something.

The church hall is small. Last night it was so stuffy, none of us could breathe properly. They start the program with a prayer, then announcements from the Principle. It is his last year in the position and he was so over the top enthusiastic about introducing all the grades, that my husband and I mused over whether or not he may have had a drink or two.... this being his last hurrah and all. I wonder....

Anywho, we certainly wished WE had something to drink because there is just no way, even with my wordcraft, to describe the situation. The children from the eighth grade down (wouldn't you put the little ones on first?) come on stage and stare out at their sweaty, tired, overworked, wish they could be somewhere else parents, and they mumble the words to the songs accompanied by the ever gleeful music teacher who plays the piano with a sort of perfunctory prowess. One after another the students come on stage, they mumble ...(sing?) and then everyone claps and "whooo hoooo's" and then the next group comes on stage.

In the back of the auditorium my husband and I are watching, holding our baby who is damp and sticky and who keeps yelling "I WANNA GO HOME" and because she is rotten and mean and spoiled we just laugh at her.

As the grades get lower, the children get more spunk. They sing louder, are more engaging, and aside form the solo's (those kids were so BRAVE...but what was the music teacher thinking????) The cringing that came with the opening band all the way through the fifth grade began to wear off. And then, at last... it was time for the first grade.

We walked, as a family, up to the front left hand side of the auditorium to see our Tess sing. She was on the very end. She was wearing her Easter dress. A high waisted sleeveless dress made of cotton and covered in a riot of pink and orange flowers. She wore silver loafers with this dress... what the heck right? She looked adorable.

My eyes welled up. My girl up there... her hands behind her back, doing a little swing with her hip. Singing her heart out ... until she forgot a word... and then singing her heart out again!

When we left, and the evening air hit us and we could all breathe, it occurred to me that we suffer through these things for many reasons. We suffer through them for our own moments of parental splendor... and out of respect for fellow parents who want the same thing. And we suffer through them so that we can say we suffered through them... and so that we can put a plate down at the martyr feast our children will all eat from when they become parents.

I go to them because the awfulness amuses me. It tells me stories, and the people watching is really good at these types of functions. But in the end, the only true reason we do what we do as the families of these strange, unformed, adults... Is this:

When my Tess walked out onto that stage she panned out over the audience, and when she found us, she smiled. That's it. That is the whole reason. A smile from Tess, in my opinion, is something I would move heaven and earth, mountains and moons for. A smile from Tess is ....bliss.


  1. Now you know the title of this post caught my eye! You have a Tess? I bet she's adorable. And nice. And smart. And....well, you get my drift :)

    I've been to those concerts - and you described it to perfection.

  2. Now you know why your blog caught mine! You also have a teengage girl. That is a mixture I knew I could really relate to!

    And you look like her! No Joke. Do you facebook? Freind me and you can see pictures of her. I bet she looks like you did when you were a little bit of a thing.

    Thanks for visiting. And thanks for that YA, MG clarification on your blog. Though I don't write either, I know people who confuse them all the time, and I am going to direct them back to your site. Nicely done.

  3. i end up crying at all those damn concerts. for example we went to see mj's strings/chorous performance at betsy ross and i kid wasn't even in it, mj hadn't even performed...i am pathetic!

  4. Don't facebook :( But, yes - we have too much in common not to have found each other's blogs :D Very fun stuff.

  5. Thanks ALL! I have another one to go to tonight.... Awards for the biggest one. Ah the season....

  6. Mine aren't in anything like that yet. Maybe next year...

    I read your blurb about contests. Too funny, Sharon. LOL Just kidding.

    Lynnette Labelle

  7. sweet! (I have a first grader, too)