June 6, 2016


You’re sitting in a dark auditorium with one hundred and fifty other well-intentioned and supportive parents. You have all worked full days and you are nearing exhaustion. Most of you are still in your work clothes and have not had dinner. Some have their phones out ready to document this milestone in their child’s music career. Perhaps a photo to post on Facebook, or a more private video to send to the grandparents.

The music is okay; it is the primary school show after all, but you are all there as if it is a night at Carnegie Hall. You scan the program to see when your child will be showcased. You get your camera ready and sit through the other acts. Tapping your feet to some and fighting to keep your eyes open for the rest. You cannot be the dad who is nodding off at this show. What kind of insensitive jerk would sleep through a kids music show? By the looks of it, as you scan the dark room, you would guess you are not alone. You can see so many heads bobbing awake in the darkness.

You feel guilty at your fatigue. You know your kid and all the other kids have works tirelessly to put on this great performance. You know that there are teachers, your colleagues, who have clocked countless hours to make sure the lights are working, the kids are in right keys and that everyone is where they are meant to be, but man! Those droopy eyelids are just not listening to your brain, no matter how much shame it is trying to excrete.

You clap. You nod. You appreciate the spectacle. You can’t believe that your little baby is up on that stage singing in the choir. She is smiling and confident and doing the right moves. She sounds good or so you hope. You try not to, but you compare her to other kids. Well, she seems more animated than the kid over there, but why can’t she do that thing like that kid over there. You wonder about the things that she will be great at. Will she end up like you- mediocre but happy with the various hobbies that bring her joy, or will she find a passion, a wave to ride? Which is better? You are not sure. You wonder if perhaps you dreamt that last thought train.

The show is over. People clap. Flowers are given out. You make the small talk and get in your car.

You are now home in your pyjamas. You do a tiny bit of work and scratch out this post, because you made a promise to yourself to write no matter what. The day was long and heavy to carry, so you decide to put it down. Is this what you dreamt of as you read Henry Miller after midnight in NYC? Is this bohemian dream set in Paris or Big Sur? You know it doesn't matter, because this is reality. This night so calm and safe and quiet and perfect, was not even an option to the younger version of yourself, the one you spent a life time trying to escape from.

This night is better than anything you could have ever dreamed of at twenty-two. Your child as on stage singing. You are tired from doing your dream job. You are staying true to the promises you made to prose and words and connections. All of it is here and it is wonderful. Tendonitis and all. You feel good about that last sentence, because things were going dark for a while, and you were wanting to be hopeful tonight. Real and honest, but hopeful. It feels good to end with joy.

So now, you will hit post and grab a glass of Prosecco. Game of Thrones is on and while some people might judge you for this type of routine behavior- you love it. You will dim the lights and escape to Westeros, because tomorrow is another day. There are twelve more comments to write this week and grades to input.

Summer is around the corner and you are a father god damn it. You are taking your family back to California and there ain’t much better than that.

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