Listen to the Music


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It started with a CD that came home in November with a wide-eyed eight year old boy asking if I’d ever heard of Bruno Mars (sadly, no) or The Beatles (thankfully, yes!).  This was followed by months of YouTube videos accompanied by questions ranging from “Ma, who played at the Superbowl last year? Was it The Beatles?” (Um, no, that was Madonna!) to “Do you know the words to ‘Twist and Shout’?” (YES!).

For a little boy who, like many little boys and most men I know, isn’t prone to “share”, he has been really excited about the 3rd Grade Winter Concert.  I nearly choked on my coffee when he announced yesterday “I’m so psyched! Today’s the day!  We have our final rehearsal! In front of the whole school.”

Tonight was the BIG night.  Not a rehearsal in front of the “little kids” in grades K-2, but the big performance. The one with all the grown ups — parents and grandparents wielding cameras and video cameras and jockeying for the best view.   The night when all third grade boys and girls spiffed up, wearing black and white, looking more like a seasoned choral group than the ragamuffins we know and love.

I knew going in that I should wear waterproof mascara and stuff my pockets with tissues.  I’ve been known to cry at far less momentous occasions than a hundred third graders singing Count on Me (which, by the way, I now know is Bruno Mars!). The evening didn’t disappoint and, as expected, my mascara didn’t hold up.

My third grader is my firstborn, my baby.  And there he was, up on the stage, with bright eyes and a shining smile.  Those eyes were searching the crowd and eventually, they found me.  I waved, expecting an enthusiastic wave back.  I didn’t get it.  “Oh my God.” I said to my husband, my heart sinking.  “He doesn’t see us!  He can’t find us! He probably thinks we’re late again!”  Because the truth is, we are often late. This time we weren’t.  But that wasn’t the issue.  He did see us, he told us afterwards.  He was just too cool to wave back.  Or, perhaps too polished.  Too well trained by the music teacher and knew better than to wave back to his mama mid-song.

I might have guessed he was growing up when my “baby” came home talking about Bruno Mars and The Beatles but it took the wave – or the lack thereof – for it to really hit home. A home that now hums with the tunes of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.  And I’ll take it.