So, last night I attended Henry's winter wonderland music concert. The performances were outstanding, and the musical talent at our little charter middle school is so great as to make one's mouth hang open in admiration. Henry, though, is not a boy of musical talent or even persuasion. He only "performed" as part of the chorus, and that was mandatory. What I didn't know is that a quartet of provocative and seriously talented chanteuses in the seventh grade had enticed him into a small role in their performance of "All I Want for Christmas is You."
Remember that song?
Help me Rhonda for posting a Mariah Carey video -- not my favorite (let's just say you won't see this video posted as a Carol of the Day, either), but it goes with the story, so humor me. And Mariah.
Anyhoo. Guess who the YOU was in the song?
Henry, my very handsome, effortlessly self-possessed and sweet boy, gave the singing chanteuse a little swagger (as part of the act) when she reached out her operatic arms toward him in the final line and walked off the stage. Everyone chuckled in the audience and then clapped wildly at the talent of the girls' voices -- which were amazing. I have to say that it's both thrilling and bewildering to have this beautiful son who, apparently, is a bit of a chick magnet and is also at ease with being one -- so at ease that he can perform in a musical performance without opening his mouth to sing. As one of my friends noted, Henry was the exploited and objectified male beefcake in the performance. It's thrilling and bewildering because in the seventh grade I was outrageously awkward -- let's say even ugly. I was painfully skinny (those were the days), wore big metal braces on my teeth and goggle glasses with rose-tinted lenses. My hair was short and curling-ironed into hideous "wings" that made me look more like Chachi from Happy Days than Farrah Fawcett. I was a brainy, non-athletic, Carpenters and John Denver-loving geek. And as those of you who know, this is something that one never forgets or gets over. So, when I look at Henry I feel at once thrilled and bewildered. Where did he come from? Who made this kid? Certainly not me or my efforts!
Anywho. On to the next concert, which was Oliver's, this morning.
We had a rough morning here -- the usual and the not so usual. I was alone with all three kiddos and not at my best. I still can't really talk, so I can't yell, and everyone was running late and no one seemed appreciative of the fact that I'd made approximately twenty loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread and wrapped each one individually for teachers and aides and I'd also put hundreds of chocolate kisses into little cellophane bags for teachers and aides and therapists (O.K., I wasn't expecting Sophie to be appreciative); I'd toasted some bagels for breakfast and was marshaling lunches and so forth and then somewhere in the chaos, I fell apart (maybe it was when Oliver appeared twenty minutes after I'd woken him in an outfit that made him look like a homeless person). Reader, I broke down and croaked out my displeasure and then I cried.
I'll skip forward to dropping Sophie off at school and then racing to Oliver's school to make the concert on time and his performance. I circled and circled his school, looking for a parking spot. I drove through the school parking lot and gazed longingly at the handicapped space, empty. I told myself that no, I wouldn't exploit the placard and use it. I did this for fifteen minutes. I did not use the handicapped placard and eventually found a spot for my car and ran into the school yard.
I missed Oliver's performance.
Lest you believe me to be a highly moral person, I will tell you that in the melee of the elementary school winter wonderland concert, Oliver had no idea that I wasn't there. I asked his teacher what he'd done, and she told me that he recited something and had a nice flourish at the end. When I finally saw Oliver in the crowd, I leaned over and told him how proud I was of him, how well he had done, and how much I had enjoyed his flourish at the end.
Reader, I didn't use my handicapped placard but I lied to my son.
When I told my friend S this story this morning, herself the mother of a child with disabilities, she told me that if she had the placard and she was me she would be sunbathing on the roof of the car in that handicapped space with chocolate and wine in her hand.
I'm going to think about that for next time.