Tonight was celebrate reading and writing night at the twin's school, which is code for 'get-the-parents-in-here-one-last-time-before-school-is-out-to-drop-$30-$40-bucks-at-the-book fair.'
It worked. And Grandma even bought the books.
Even more genius, they had the recorder club play a mini-concert at the beginning of the night. There were all of three rows of chairs set up on the other side of the gym so that the parents of the 15 or so 4th graders could take pictures. I invited my parents because we recently made the executive decision that Maggie and Ryan won't be joining band next year and we thought this might be their only opportunity to see them perform in some musical manner.
I set the expectations pretty low, because honestly...I've heard them practice. Maggie was holding her own at home, but Ryan gave me the impression that the goal was to play as quickly as humanly possible and therefore squeaky notes were par for the course.
Tonight we were stunned. Not only did they sound great - they each had a solo and nailed it. Dan and I looked at each other when Ryan stood up and prepared to smile through the wince, but we never had to fake it. Sometime between rushing into the school with his music in hand and making his way to his seat, the kid transformed. He played one of the more complicated pieces cleanly. At bedtime I told him how proud and impressed we were and how well he did and in true Ryan fashion he said "I had no idea what I was doing."
And then the fact that Maggie didn't run and hide somewhere at the last minute was another miracle. My little living room performer (who has stage fright in public) found the courage to stand up for her solo and play it perfectly. When I talked to her at bedtime she said she messed up on one song at the same place she always does, but she kept moving her fingers and pretending to play and then found her place a minute later. So she won't be playing in the symphony anytime soon, but kudos for pulling this off!
It's these brief moments of pleasure - when I'm watching my kids' brows furrow in concentration as they try to keep time on their little plastic instruments that I will treasure forever. They are pure joy.