Giving birth is agonizing, but it’s good training for later years when parents will be required to sit through yet another school choral/band concert.
Yes, we've weathered the spring choral/band concert again this year.
Don’t get my wrong; I love my child and support her in all she does. I even love the other people’s children who are in the program. I am thankful for my sense of hearing. Yes, I know how important music education is; it makes kids smarter and builds self-esteem, makes them well-rounded, etc. Yes, I’m thankful for so many things, but I cannot tell a lie; sitting through those concerts is just hard for me. And by the looks of those around us last night, I am not the only bad mom in the world.
Part of the problem is that I do not have an appreciation for choral music, unless it’s sung during an Easter or Christmas service. If I were Queen, I would allow choral singing on those holidays only, and that’s it. Christmas caroling and “Happy Birthday” would be tolerated, but only if done responsibly, which precludes singing "Happy Birthday" in Texas Roadhouse with the birthday person sitting on a saddle.
These concerts are physically painful because you are cramped in tiny stadium seats. The only way to cross your legs is to have one foot turned completely perpendicular to your leg with the outside of the twisted foot plastered against the back of the seat in front of you. So if you uncross your legs, you have to sit there with your knees pulled up like you’re strapped in an electric chair.
And after a while, you are almost wishing a jolt of electricity could course through your body to take your mind off of the pain of sitting through the jazz band’s rendition of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.”
There are some givens at these concerts. There is always an African song. I don’t know why you never hear a Turkish or German song; it’s always African. There is always a song without real lyrics, where kids syllabically be-bop a tune. There’s always a song that includes sign language, which makes me think of the Happy Hands Club in Napoleon. There is always a patriotic song, and often a Negro spiritual like “All God’s Chillun Got Wings.” This night, it was something about “Hand me down a silver trumpet, Gabriel.”
The smaller the kids are, the less painful it is because they are cute. Even the 6th grade band with all of its squeaks and squawks is kind of endearing. But what really ticks me off is that the organizers purposely schedule the little ones at the end of the program so that people will be forced to sit through the whole thing in order to see their small child. Administrators don’t want choirs/bands to be playing to an empty auditorium at the end of the evening. But the thing is, the performing kids’ parents and grandparents would still be there, even if the crowd diminishes as the night wears on. (And I mean wears on.) And after all, we’re all only there to see our own kids anyway, and everyone knows it.
One result of scheduling the little ones at the end is that bored, tortured younger siblings start to fidget and cry and climb over every person down the row for relief. I can’t blame them. By that time, I’m ready to climb and crawl around on the floor, too.
Nevertheless, this was my youngest’s spring choral concert, and I was there to support her. At one point, I thought the night would never end. But afterwards, when my girl and I were standing in the narthex waiting for her dad to pick us up, she looked at me with those big brown eyes and asked so sincerely, “Did it sound good? Did it sound all right?”
My heart nearly exploded. “It was great!” I said, “Especially that one about spring!” She processed that reply for a split second and then looked reassured.
Suddenly, I was keenly aware that not every child had a mom there to affirm him/her due to divorce, abandonment, illness or death, etc. I was so grateful I had the chance to be there, to see her, affirm her and hear her. Well, sort of hear her.
In the back of my mind, since she is in 9th grade, I'm aware there aren’t that many choral concerts remaining. I know from having two who have moved into adulthood that one day, I’ll actually remember the school concerts with a smile. And really, let’s be honest … I did have the most talented, spectacular, beautiful kid up there!
So it wasn’t so bad after all. I may even watch the videotape of the whole thing just to re-live the experience, even that Wilson Pickett song that the middle school band interpreted!