Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oh,Say...Can Anybody See?

Tonight we have Connor’s FINAL 5th grade concert at the Elementary School. He is in the chorus, which is mandatory here at the elementary level if you choose not to play a musical instrument. (Which he emphatically does not.) Connor dislikes chorus enormously…and I’ve no real clue why, because he has a great voice (when I hear him in the shower…or rocking to some anime tune on his iPod….he sounds fantastic.) By the way…he would be mortified if he knew I was telling you this, so mum’s the word.

But seriously. He really, really dislikes chorus. He’s even grown to hate the day of the week that practice falls on and now that the concert’s imminent, they practice ALL THE TIME and he’s pretty miserable.

It’ll all be over tonight. It’s his LAST concert…possibly EVER. I can’t remember if they have them at the middle school level. I’ve probably blocked it out, so for now we’ll assume that after tonight, he’s DONE.

The other problem he has with these concerts is that they require him to wear a tie. And a dress shirt. And a pair of pants that do not have a reflective stripe running down them.What kind of tyrants are these people, anyway?? Here (again), I think it’s harder with BOYS than with GIRLS, as GIRLS will wear anything and everything many, many times. BOYS (or at least mine) will wear the items required exactly one time. Uno. Ein. From there, it’s relegated to the back of the closet where’s it’s not discovered till the day he leaves for college. His response then will be to give me the prerequisite eyeroll as I dissolve into a maternal, mushy mess.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. First things first: we have to get through tonight. Connor awoke this morning proclaiming “This is gonna be the worst day EVER.” Fifth grade will do one concert for their peers during the school day and then they get to come back (a scant hour and 45 minutes after arriving home) and do it all over again. At least he doesn’t need the tie till tonight’s performance…a fact that brought him little comfort at 7:00 this morning.

Having been through this day many times before, I know just how it’ll go down:

  • Connor will come home from school complaining of a scratchy throat/stomach ache or other hard-to-prove malady. He’ll feel sick, but still find the inner strength to play video games.
  • The household will continue through the late afternoon in perfect, quiet harmony until my head snaps up from my laptop and I realize it’s 5:25pm! WE HAVE TO GO!!!!!!!
  • Connor’s head subsequently snaps up from his computer as I run into the room and I realize he’s not dressed. 1 minute and 45 seconds later, he’ll bolt out of his room…black pants, button down shirt (unbuttoned), socks on but no shoes. He knows the drill: when we’re late you put your shoes on in the car…plenty of time!
  • As we’re pulling out of the garage, I’ll mutter my standard “We’re not letting this happen again…NOSIREEBOB!” Connor will roll his eyes and continue to try and tie his shoes as the car lurches over the uneven dip at the end of the driveway, temporarily throwing him up against the door of the car.
  • There will be no available (valid) parking spots when we reach the school, so we’ll have to “make one up”…a technique I’ve perfected by subbing at the school and therefore being technically, almost, sort-of, kind-of-like a teacher…in a way.
  • As we’re heading (at warp speed…Connor laughing with amazement that his old mom can actually run that fast in heels) towards the building, I think to yell over my shoulder “DO YOU HAVE YOUR TIE?” He basically blows past me and shows me this black, crumpled up ball in his fist…and I groan.
  • We’ll bust through the double doors and head straight down the hallway towards the “cafetorium”, to be met by none other than the principal who will take over the “tie-ing of the tie”…something I used to know how to do, but have since forgotten.
  • At this point, we’ll split paths…Connor heading for his class and me seeking out my sister who will have snagged me a chair in the perfect spot.

The rest of the evening will be spent smiling, snapping away at the backs of people’s heads and trying not to look bored as you wait for the all-important moment when YOUR KID is on the stage. We’ll clap politely and fight the urge not to whisper in each other’s ears like little four-year-olds when we remember something that simply cannot wait to be said. We’re adults, after all. We must SIT UP STRAIGHT and DON’T FIGIT and PAY ATTENTION.

In the end, we’ll be left with many, many un-useable photos of kids with their mouths shaped in the perfect little “O”, but so blurry or far away that they’re barely recognizable.

We’ll squint at the picture and mutter “Is he even IN this one? Can you see him??”

And then it’ll be done.

Anonymous said...

School really was that awful, wasn't it? This story reminds me that it wasn't b/c I was young, it really was a controlling tyrannical nightmare. Did they at least serve cocktails? No, of course they didn't.

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