Last night I went to the Orchestra Concert at the High School. I go to all of the Orchestra Concerts, and the Band Concerts, and the Choir Concerts at the High School. Next year I probably won't go to any.
My beautiful daughter plays in the Band and the Orchestra, and she sings in two different choirs, so there has been a healthy helping of concert attendance in my life the past few years. Kate will be graduating this spring, so I am anticipating that there won't be many, if any, concerts for me next year. That's actually a bittersweet thought.
So I'm sitting in the auditorium last night, thinking about my numbered days at these events, and my mind wandered back to when Kate first started playing. She was in the 4th grade, and she was pretty shy about playing in front of anyone, including me. She would cry when she was practicing because it was hard to get any tone at all, let alone a good one. But she struggled along, and pretty soon, she was getting it to work. She practiced well, and we had pretty regular lessons. She would play for Grammy and Grandpa if I would let her hide behind the chair while she played (so no one could see her...) We played the little duets that came along in her lesson books, and it was fun for both of us.
Fast forward to now, after dozens of festivals and concerts and recitals and rehearsals, when she will be playing the Gordon Jacob Concerto No. 2 (III and IV) with the Orchestra in January, she is preparing her Senior Recital, and she sightreads Kuhlau duets with me for fun. And last night, while I was thinking these kinds of thoughts, the Orchestra began playing Bizet's Carmen Suite. And this beautiful sound floated out above the Orchestra--a soaring, singing tone. The tone of my dreams. It was Kate, and she sounded so wonderful. I remembered the days when there were tears, I remembered the lessons where I picked on her to do better and to work harder, and all at once, the winding road that led her to this moment was clearly visible to me. It is a road we have walked together, my girl and I, and the joy of the journey has never been more apparent to me than it was last night as I listened to her play. And I cried. Oh, the tears flowed down my cheeks, because I was so incredibly proud of her.
It was a Payoff. One of those moments in life where you can see that all the hard work and the struggle and the sacrifice were worth it, and you get a glimpse of the beautiful possibilities for the future. My girl will be graduating and moving on, and we won't get as many moments as we have had in the past. But I will always remember last night as one of the best ones. EVER.
4 hours ago