Sunday, May 15, 2011

Swelling Notes Of Praise

OK, so I admit it...I am the woman that bites the insides of her cheeks to keep the emotions from spilling regularly out of the eye gates...I feel the burning start in my nose, the swelling salted moisture. I feel the levee groan within; mixing, swirling joy, pain, thankfulness, and pleasure.

Yesterday it came unexpectedly at my son's band concert.
The day domino'd from one activity to another. I arrived just in time for the 5th grade band to assault my senses. I sink into the safe embrace of the man I love and I realize I forgot my ear plugs. I sip on my dinner, because there was no time for solids and I send up a prayer for staying power, for focus. Time rolls slow and loud.

The body reboots a bit and it is time for the 6th grade band to perform.
My son is right up front! That nearly never happens. I see him, all of him, tucked neatly into the frame of a boy turning man. He wets and re-wets the reed on his bass clarinet. He pretends not to notice us all a grin. He is that age now. Nearly 13, mostly aloof, and cool as a cucumber...The age where he is hungry for our affirmation. The steady flow of praise that is supposed to buffer the demands of the world and the critical pressures of his peers. The age where it seems that for every 10 praises, only a few make it to his heart.

There is only a few bass clarinets so we hear him well. He even has a solo. I want to kick myself HARD because I feel like crying. “No Lord!” “I don't want to be the mom that embarrasses her kid with tears!” I maintain composure, but I am not just watching a band performance. I am thinking of every moment that led up to this one.

When Uriah first mentioned playing in the school band we tried to dissuade him from choosing the clarinet.
We are string people!
I observed his willingness to comply with us, to please us, but we saw his disappointment, and his unexplainable draw to the clarinet.
We gave him the pro's and con's, but decided as man and wife to let the growing boy choose.

Our logic in the end was that he will learn to read music, to hear music, to play music...This is good for us all. No need to make it a battle.

When he first brought the clarinet home he gave us the grand tour of his borrowed instrument. I wondered if it was gonna be as bad as the time the kids all had recorder's. They squeaked out a repetitively forceful version of hot cross buns, until our ears bled. The so called “instruments” mysteriously disappeared...

We are giddy, we all want to try.
Not a one of us could get the clarinet to make a sound.
Our musician daddy, who can pick up nearly anything and wrestle a descent tune out of it, was helpless. He blew hard and then harder, veins plumping full of blood from the force...
Sound constipation...Nothing.

Uriah in contrast to us, made it sing. He made it look effortless. I was smitten and proud of my pied piper. The first year he started with the regular clarinet. This year he jumped through some hoops to play the bass clarinet. He gladly gave us sample sounds. He plays it sitting down due to the size. Smooth, deep notes fill the air space, ear candy.

Back in the auditorium thankfulness wells up in me. These are the moments that threaten to burn the eyes and streak the face with tears. Moments strung together pushing their way out of a bass clarinet.

Each note carries with it moments.
Moments of decision.
Our decision to let him be his own man with likes and dislikes.
Moments slowed down for our enjoyment.
I see portions of him that are a mixture of Derrick and I, and yet he is his own soul.
Moments of perspective.
He is God's dream, our dream, on temporary loan to us.

Moments of responsibility and irresponsibility.
There has been easy listening. I know these songs and hum along.
Moments that require practice;
The smoothing and healing of dissonance and discord.
Moments where failure led to a desire for success in us all.
Relationships built up.

Here we are.
We made it victorious through all the choices, the practicing, the performances, and all that life has dished out in the midst of it. Uriah doesn't know it yet, but his success is ours...It is shared victory.
All is going to be OK...It is necessary to go through all our hills and valley's to get to the destination planned for us. And oh what beautiful music pours fourth when we are able to put one foot in front of the other.

The heart is brimming with sweet melodious victory.

Here we are, unified and performance ready.
Enjoying living breathing relationship with our maker and His good gifts our children.
He uses them to put a new song in our hearts, to grow us.
We are thankful.
These are the tears I swallow back, digest. These are the thankful drops God collects.

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