Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mushy Mommy Sweet Spots

The sentimental bug has bit again. It's like an infestation lately. But this time I have a good excuse. My baby boy, the one I rocked for years, well beyond the appropriate baby-rocking time; thinking every time he'd let me that this could be the very last time. I don't remember the exact last time, but I'm sure I had that thought.

Fortunately he's still a sweetheart. On the night of his birthday we snuggled next to me to watch a movie, even though there were multiple comfy spots in the room. And during the movie he grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear that he loves me. Hearts are known to melt that way.

When our kids are babies, those simultaneous heart-melting whilst bursting moments come frequently. All they have to do is say 'please' with their adorable eyes wide open and your heart goes to mush. It takes nothing more than putting a train properly on a track (like my little grandbaby on his birthday this weekend), for the heart to swell with pride. (Just ask his momma.)

But those sweet moments become fewer and far between, and therefore all the more precious as they transform into small adults. And I really do love the age of twelve: that gianted-footed awkward age of walking a tightrope between childhood and adulthood, always a little off balance, never sure their place or appropriate behavior for their age. They still want toys for their birthday, and only want boys at their birthday party, but they need the cool clothes and hair. Of all my children's stages, that age ranks among my favorite.

Which brings me to a video. First I have to apologize for posting it again, I know many of you have seen it. But I didn't include the story of why it was one of the sweetest mommy moments of my life.

The pre-story is that Brandon was chosen to be in his school talent show (this was a pretty selective talent show, no mind readers or bubble gum blowers or gifted bodily orifice noise makers). The auditions were a full month before the talent show, and while Brandon did well enough to be selected, he didn't know the words, moved awkwardly, and there was this horrible bridge in the middle of the song where he just stopped singing, leaving the audience to shuffle uncomfortably in their seats.

So I informed him he'd need to work on these things if he wanted to be in the show. But of course the show was a whole month away. As the days drew near he worked on the song from time to time, and became much improved. There wasn't much that could be done for moving awkwardly. He's almost twelve with giant feet. That's how it goes. And then there was still that horrible bridge solo. He'd attempt squawks and squeeks, but they were worse than the awkward silence. So finally the night before the performance I lay down the law and say he's got to work out that bridge. He absolutely can not just stop singing in the middle of the song.

So we turn to Youtube and watch other performances. Some of them do a dance. Awkward. Some sing. Beautiful. Some cut the bridge out. Wimps. (And since we've already turned the minus track in, we don't have that option.) So Brandon decides he'll sing. The night before.

I plop myself next to the hubby and grumble that I've been warning him about this all month. He's just got to stop procrastinating. yadayadayada.

Before I go on, I have to backtrack with the story of the video camera. Ours broke last year, which is a crisis when you have a son who performs. Last summer we borrowed a camera to record his singing performance at the state fair. But it took hours to get it onto the computer, and then seconds for the computer to crash and burn up the vids. So Rob bought me a new camera for Christmas, but it was a flip and did not have the zoom or audio for our needs, so we took it back. Which meant I absolutely needed something for this performance.

In the weeks that he was supposed to be practicing, I was hunting for the best features for the value, and ended up buying one just the night before. Of course that meant I wasn't absolutely sure how to use it. So I arrived early. Early enough, in fact, that the principal sent me to the front row. I didn't even need the zoom. I got the camera all set up on a tripod, turned on, focused on the person setting up the mike. I'm practicing the different functions when I see Brandon waving frantically in my direction. We try lip reading and sign language, but it becomes clear that I must turn off the camera and tiptoe my way across the front of the auditorium to see what he needs. His message is that he's first, not second as we'd been told. So I head back to the camera, but before I do the principal announces the student body, who are standing on the same side of the room as me. I figure I won't confuse anyone if I step forward now. I most definitely don't look like a jr. high SB officer. But I might embarrass my son if I suddenly step into the limelight. So I wait until they're onstage, introducing my son's performance, and then I stoop over and try not to step on too many toes while I rush back to my precious camcorder. I miss the intro where they say how amazing he is, but I do get it on time for the performance. Good thing he dragged me away from the camera to warn me.

Anyway, I'm frantic over the camera and nervous for him and my stomach's all full of butterflies. And then he opens his mouth and the most pure, angelic sound comes out. My heart turns all kinds of swollen up mush. Within seconds the group is clapping. They don't slow down or lose their enthusiasm, even when he gets to that bridge.

If you watch, you'll see him look my way with a bit of panic in his eyes. If you could see me you'd know that I'm holding my breath. But then he looks away and takes a breath of confidence and gets through it. Not perfect, but he ends strong enough that nobody seems to care. When he ends the song, the crowd roars their approval, with me heading up the lead. I decide not to stand--that old embarrassing your child deal--but I wanted to. This was one of those indescribably joyous moments that makes all the messes and tantrums and nagging and childbirth and expenses worthwhile.

And a quick followup, two days later I pick him up from school, and as he approaches the car a group of very tall junior high students surrounds him. My Mommy Antennas protrude. Brandon shakes his head and nods and pushes his way through. He gets in the car looking glum. I ask what that was about. Of course I'm wondering if I'm going to have to go talk to the principal. Maybe I should just go take those boys out myself. Teach them a thing or two about bullying. And then he says, "That's how it's been ever since the talent show." After more prodding I learn that the boys said: "So you're the singer." Brandon: "yeah." Boys: "Good job."

"You did say thank you? Right?" Because I always ask him that, and he always promises me he does. But I think he just does it through telepathy because I've never witnessed it. Anyway, I continue to say, "But you love it, hah?" "No I don't" he insists, with a little curl of a smile playing on his lips.

That's my cutie. Provider of Sweet Mommy Moments Everywhere.


The Bowler Five said...

Brandon did such a good job...it seems like he has grown up so much!

Kimi said...

The video is even that much cooler with the back story!

Love it! Good job, Brandon! Oh, wait, don't tell him I said that. I know how much he hates it--wink!

Mike, Jen and Ethan said...

You almost gave me a heart attack! You talked about loving the 12 year old stage, and then said, "that brings me to a video". My first thought was, "she wouldn't...would she"? I am so glad it was a video of Brandon and not me at age 12. As Ethan would say, "Whew"!

PS Go Brandon!

Suzanne Reese said...

Oh Jen, what a great idea! Maybe for mother's day you can convert some of our old family videos to digital! The things I could blog!