Our World Tuesday: Playing Our Song
On Saturday, Adella had her audition for the north region's music ensemble. It was nerve-wracking. Held at Avon High School, which looks more like a corporate complex than a public school (it's clean, naturally lit, spacious, and decorated with student work in a variety of media and disciplines), the audition requires an hour of travel and passage through a long corridor of anxious parents who look like they're waiting for the electric chair before the students come face to face with their adjudicators. Honestly, I'd prefer the hangman to the sight of some of these anxious parents. I don't do that kind of anxiety anymore. I want my kid to make it, but I'm happy to believe she'll do her best and what will be will be. At the end of the day, she will be Adella and I will be Sandy, and we will breathe, eat, walk the dogs, and go to bed.
Adella said there were parents who came into the warm-up room to stare at their kids, and it was blood-curdling. I'll take her word for it. I was sitting in a comfortable place reading How to Teach Shakespeare to Your Kids by natural light. I was in my zone; Adella was in hers. Ed was talking to some guy about sports. As a public school teacher, I was happy to be blown away by how much time, effort, and other resources (yes, tax-payers, your precious money and mine) go into creating opportunities to give their best, come what may. The free world is a damned exciting place. I was conscious as I read my book of all the parents around me who were speaking the languages of countries that outshine us in myriad ways. I wondered how many American kids were running off to India and China to compete for a place in an ensemble. (There I go being a smug American. But I see it as a tax payer and a teacher as well as the daughter of a family of veterans who have paid the ultimate price and every other price for the privilege to be here. I pay a pretty high price, too, and I will happily and humbly tell you what it is to be American. Compassion is always a part of my story. So I could read a book while the folks from those up and coming nations pressed their little heads against the cold, hard bricks of the wall. We've paid the price, I thought, and you're welcome to be here. You keep the standards high.)
Of course, I bragged on the kid at school today. One of my colleagues heard me going on about Adella with an administrator, so he came up and asked me to tell him, too. He wanted to be happy for her, too. "She's having fun. That's good," he said. This guy's been teaching in public schools for 35 years; he knows what's important.
Also teaching in public schools is the excellent North Carolina music teacher who has been working with my daughter via Facetime every week since June. She is a fabulous woman who can relate to my daughter and can listen and respond and take my daughter to bigger and better musical places. I am grateful to her for all she has done.
Hard work pays. And your puppy is waiting for you at the end of the day. This is America, and it's good.
Our World Tuesday