Ed goes to a Catholic high school, so I did not go to a Winter Concert last night. The Catholics are walking proud, talking loud, and calling it Christmas Concert. I don't know how I feel about that, after all the Solstice Kwanzaa Chanukah Divali (is that right?) discussions over the years. The concert was the same. All school concerts are the same, no matter how they are billed. A few kids with real talent (including your and my children) and a bunch making noise. Nerves on the part of the performers. Smiles on the faces of the parents. Punch and home-made squares at the end. It comes as a surprise to parents to find out that their kid is good at something. I mean, good in an adult way. Ed plays drums for the jazz band, and I panic-parented for a few seconds ... and then realised that he wasn't a baby any more. I stopped clenching my hands and worrying that he would get lost, or fall off the chair, or poke himself in the eye. I thought -- Hey, he's good. He's having fun. I actually relaxed, and hummed along with Superstition and Tequila! and a jazzed up Feliz Navidad. My applause was from enjoyment rather than a release of pent-up tension. Not that the concert was screw-up free. There are always some mistakes, and they are often the best parts of the show. Your own kid screwing up is a tough, because you know you will have to live with it later. And you will have to lie. No, you were fine! you say. You were great! I didn't notice that your costume had come undone and that you forgot your lines. Nose bleed? Really? I didn't even see it. My favorite mistake last night was three girls forgetting the words to Silent Night. They were going fine and then -- like a car running out of gas -- coasted to a smooth and complete stop in the middle of the second verse. They handled it perfectly. One of them clutched her mouth. The other two burst into fits of giggles. All three ran from the stage. I clapped extra hard. So did the grandma beside me. All around me I saw warm smiles. Yup, it was a school concert. You know, in a couple of years Ed is going to graduate. I am going to miss these evenings -- no matter what religious or non-religious festival they are named for.
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