Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Matter

Thursday night I attended the Festival of Arts Band Concert in our school district. All the school bands, 6th Grade through High School were playing in one concert - which was good for me because my kids are in two different schools, so this was only one trip to see both kids play.

The festival takes place in the High School Gym, so I found a spot in the bleachers where I'd be able to see my kid playing his clarinet. I arrived early in order to get a good spot, so I was sitting there for quite a while. I watched as the bleachers filled up with more and more parents.

It's times like this when I am really self-conscious of myself, though, and it makes me really uncomfortable. I looked around and the place was full of couples. Moms and Dads sitting together. And for some reason, on Thursday night, all the Moms and Dads seemed to be all over each other...holding hands, arms around each other, you get the picture. In the meantime, I felt like there was a neon sign over my head that said SINGLE MOM with a flashing arrow pointing at me. I felt like people were staring at me with a mixture of pity and contempt, while in reality, I'm sure nobody even gave me a second thought. But that is how I felt. I even scanned the bleachers to find any other single parents, and surprisingly, could not find one other single parent in those bleachers...not one.

Then something occurred to me...there wasn't anyone in this room to whom I mattered. I became involuntarily sad - and boy do I hate when that happens. There wasn't one person in that room to whom I was important, and if I got up and left, nobody would even notice, let alone care. I get really annoyed with myself when these thoughts enter my head, but I just cannot stop them sometimes.

Soon the concert started, and I listened to the first three bands play, which was somewhat uneventful for me personally because neither of my kids were in the first wave of bands. Then the second wave of kids took their seats, and I prepared to tape the first band. I re-situated myself to make sure I was able to see my kid, and propped my hand with the camera up on my knee, ready to hit record. As I scanned the band again, to make sure my kid would be in the picture, he looked up, caught my eye and smiled. I smiled back. Then, for some reason, I looked over at the other band, and ironically, my other kid was looking at me, and he smiled at me, too. And at that moment, I thought of something.

I did matter to someone in that room...two people, in fact. And my feelings of worthlessness immediately melted away. It's amazing what our kids can do for us without realizing it.

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