Last night I sat in a darkened gym with my family, while my fourth-grade son and his fourth-grade cohorts performed their annual musical. It was a lyrical and poetic look at dreams–the good ones, the bad ones, the ones to which ten year olds hold tightly. They performed their hearts out, complete with dancing trees, Native Americans, ballerinas with glittery hair, a pajama-clad chorus, even a spooky skeleton. All ten year olds, of course. Think A Midsummer Night's Dream meets Hannah Montana.
They meandered in and out of their songs, poetry, and choreography. At one point, a group of six stepped up to the microphones.
"I dream of people who are kind to each other," said the girl on the end.
"I dream of a chance to make a difference," said another.
A lanky but graceful boy in the middle stepped forward to speak his lines. He towered a good 12 or 18 inches over his fellow fourth graders. Hubs leaned over and whispered, "I dream of that kid's NBA contract." I swatted him and stifled laughter; our media cabinet is already too full of video tapes in which Hubs' wisecracks have made my arms jiggle.
In the aisle next to me, Corrie rolled around on the floor, occasionally hopping up to flash her on-stage brother a thumbs up (and he flashed back a look that said, "I'VE NEVER SEEN YOU BEFORE, I SWEAR."). Joseph stood in the back of the gym, atop a pile of folded gymnast mats, laughing and sweating with a random collection of other little brothers. The gym teacher tossed fruitless shushes in their direction every so often. I shot her a look of apology; I shot Joseph a different look altogether.
Stephen, who was, for tonight, a little blonde-haired Native American, delivered his poetic lines with great poise, though he wrapped it up with a curious gangsta pose. I'm sometimes not sure I understand that boy, dawg.
I heard a gasp; I looked over to see Corrie staring, jaw open and eyes huge, into something I couldn't see. I followed her gaze. It turns out that she, sitting at the base of the spotlight, could look upwards and see all the dust particles bouncing around in the garish light. I can't imagine what she must have thought of all that magic, but she spent the rest of the play in a state of bliss, laughing and pointing at the miracle happening right in front of her.
When it was over, we all clapped and cheered. The students, who had been on risers on the ground, took turns in rows walking across the stage. Stephen's friend V, who is in a wheelchair, was gently lifted to the stage by some fine, strapping dads, and V had his curtain call too. The crowd cheered louder.
It was a good night. The only thing that could have possibly made it any better was ice cream.
So we went to get ice cream.
It was a great night.