his is, without a doubt, the worst photo I’ve ever used on the blog.
It’s also the ideal illustration for the post. Photography is a study of contrasts, usually dark vs. light. This picture, as grainy and out of focus as it is, is a perfect contrast with how sharply poignant and clearly — starkly, even — beautiful it was to experience my son dancing on stage in real life.
Seven-year-old Owen (in the light blue long sleeve shirt) has never participated in a group performance or project at school. Christmas concert? Mute. End-of-year concert, ditto (though he did execute turning off the lights on his assigned cue.) When his class collaborated on an art project for a PTO auction, and the teacher documented who painted every flower, every cloud, every leaf on a tree, Owen’s name was missing from the list.
I was unprepared for the visceral pain this inflicts. I’m not much for group projects myself. When I was a reporter, I never wanted to share my byline. But repeatedly, there I’ve been, the only parent not straining for a better view from my folding chair. Because there’s nothing to see. My child isn’t performing. Instead, I sit there, my heart breaking.
At last week’s concert, a field trip, I sat beside him. The singer at the environmentally-themed concert invited students to join him on stage by birthday. January, February, March, come on up, he said. Then April, May, June. I held my breath.
“July, August, September birthdays, come on up!”
Kids stampeded for the stage. “Do you want to go up there?” I asked.
Owen hesitated a second.
“Yeah!” Trailing the stampede, he got up on stage. And he did what the other kids did, pretending he was compost, of all things, jiggling and breaking down to lie flat on the stage, then bouncing back up to repeat.
And from my folding chair, I leaned forward and watched and cried and felt the thousand little pieces of my heart knitting back together.
These are the moments I know heaven must exist.
These are the moments I know all I need is this
I have all I’ve waited for
And I could not ask for more.
- The letter T brought to you by Daily Drop Cap.
- Photo courtesy of Angela Stricker