When I was in high school, I played the flute. Whenever I played my flute for my grandmother, she would invariably cry. It became a bit of a family joke, that she was crying because I was such a terrible flautist. This is largely because, a) I never practiced, and b) because despite being born to a professional musician, I am pretty much tone deaf and unencumbered by any grasp of rhythm.
It was only when I became a mother myself that I realized that my grandmother’s tears were genuinely tears of joy. There are few heart-melting moments so wonderful in parenting as watching your child’s first dance recital, first choir concert, or first halting acting performance as the third tree to the left in the school Christmas pageant. I have sniffled through poetry cafés, church readings and choir practices. I was even forced to hunt madly through my purse for Kleenex during the final “show” for the boys’ camp last summer, watching five boys and 20 girls lurch through a gong show of a dance performance that was far more comedic than the counsellors could have possibly intended.
My 10-year-old son Tristan has been taking guitar lessons for the last year. The day I watched him climb the steps to his first lesson, guitar strapped to his back like a backpack, I nearly swooned with pride — and he had yet to play a note. It makes me laugh to think of a day in the maybe not-so-distant future, imagining my boys torturing the neighbourhood with their garage band. I can secretly hardly wait!
A few months into his lessons, Tristan had mastered enough of a piece that he wanted to play it for my parents. With the big guitar balanced on his skinny knee in the living room, he carefully plucked out a song for his grandparents. Watching my dad wipe a tear from his eye brought me right back to the days I used to play for his mother, and the pride on Tristan’s face warmed me to the core. And of course, a tear to my eye.
Earlier this month we got some exciting news. Both the second grader and the fourth grader were accepted to the school talent show at the end of the month. Tristan will be playing his guitar, while Simon and some mates from his class are doing a dance routine of their own devising to Party Rock Anthem. (No, really!) I couldn’t be at the audition to cheer them on, but I’ve already booked off the afternoon of the show. Now I just have to remember to pick up a fresh supply of Kleenex.