15 January, 2010

"One Happy Thing is Every Happy Thing"

You must not seek to add
To what you have, what you once had;
You have no right to share
What you are with what you were.
No one can have it all,
That is forbidden.
You must learn to choose between.
One happy thing is every happy thing:
Two, is as if they had never been.
Histoire du Soldat (A Soldier's Tale) 

My family was seated in the concert hall, waiting for the orchestra to begin. There were muffled coughs, whispers, and a few sneezes. My middle child started getting what my father has always referred to as "froggy". She was plopping her bottom up and down in the very squeaky folding chair. (Why do theatre seats have to fold up like that?) 
Please sit still, I told her.
She sat on her knees and ruffled in her purse for her binoculars.
Please take those out quietly, I urged her.
She shout-whispered, These let me see the stage really close!
Please try to listen to the performance, I begged her.
She told me that she was thirsty. Really, really thirsty.
Please wait for the intermission, I pleaded.
She told me that she was hungry too.
Tears of frustration welled up in my eyes.
Mommy, why are you crying? She said aloud.
As the musicians played I thought. Why did I have this crazy idea to bring my 4, 7, and 9 year old children to this orchestra performance anyway? I remembered the concerts I had attended prior to motherhood. It was hard to recall, but there was a time that I was only concerned about my own hunger pangs. Now I had to carry a shelf from CVS around in my purse every time we left the house. (What is it about being out of the house that makes my children ravenously hungry?)
I spent the entirety of Benjamin Britten's Phantasy Quartet feeling sorry for myself.
It was then that I realized that I hadn't heard a peep for almost ten minutes. I looked around. My 4 year old was asleep on my spouse's lap. My 9 year old was tapping on her thigh to the cadence of the music. My middle child was watching the stage, mesmerized.It was then that I remembered why I had that crazy idea to bring my 4, 7, and 9 year old children to listen to the orchestra.
I wanted to see it through their eyes. 

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