This is gonna be a long one. Hopefully the headers make it more readable.
Children like routines. That's what most parenting books will tell you. Because in routine is consistency and stability - all the things a child need to feel secure. Jesse is a textbook example of this. And quite unfortunately so.
Sunday was a big day for the boy. It was his kindie's year end concert and he was going as Prince Charming. But it would also be a day that breaks all conventions with him.
UNFAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT
First, he was going to school at 6:30pm. And he wasn't in uniform. And the "school" is also at our spanking new church building where the concert was being held. It was all too much for the poor boy to take in.
I had dropped Mae and Jesse off to park my car. When I called to find out where she was, I heard a child crying in the background. "Oh God, please don't let that be my child," I thought to myself. But God likes to mess with me every now and then. *sigh*
By the time he was ushered away to the kiddie seats in the hall, and we were seated amongst other parents he was still sobbing away - presumably because he thought we had abandoned him. And for the next two hours as show went on to entertain parents and kids alike, Jesse was okay one minute, and pining for his parents the next. I was miserable. Mae was miserable. And poor Jesse was probably the most miserable of all.
SMALL DECISION, BIG DECISION
Throughout the course of that time, I was two minds about what I should do. Do I spare him the misery by whisking him away, and also deprive him the opportunity to appear up onstage as he had so longed to do? (My boy lives for attention, I swear!) Or do I let him be and hope he's all okay by showtime? It was the simplest of decisions, yet this one tore me apart.
I decided to leave him be. Mae and I even stayed hidden as the toddler troupe passed up by to get up onstage. By then, his love for showbiz had surpassed his melancholy, and our boy proudly galloped onstage in full royal regalia.
I beamed with pride as I saw my little boy up on stage with his classmates, waving to the crowd. And like every idiotic parent, I was up there snapping photos of my boy with Jesse's Uncle Jeff in tow. That was when he spotted us.
A BURSTING DAM
"Teacher Lavender," he called out excitedly, loud enough for me to hear, "it's Daddy and Uncle Jeff!" But the discovery of his long lost Daddy was too much for him to bear, and there in front of the audience, I saw his composure slowly cracking. "Daddy is proud of you!" I cried out to encourage him. I probably would have made a fool of myself if weren't for the commotion of the crowd drowning me out, but I didn't give a shit. My boy needed to hear something encouraging.
He sucked it all in for as long as he could, until they led his group offstage. I made may way through the crowd in the most dramatic fashion, like one of those old Chinese movies where a father and son are reunited amidst a madding crowd. I knelt down and he ran towards me, jumped up on me, put his arms around my neck and cried buckets and buckets of tears.
"I wanna go home, Daddy," he sobbed. I told his teacher, then whisked him off to his legion of adoring grandparents, uncles and aunties who had come to see him. It didn't take him long to be a happy child once again.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Jesse is a little highly strung, and Mae and I have come to acknowledge this. Even so, this was a little puzzling to Mae. But it was all familiar to me. "I chickened out on my kindergarten concert as a kid," I told Mae. "Really?" she replied, and added, "shit." Or so I imagine.
But Jesse is way ahead of me. I never got onstage all those years back. But that, I will tell you more in another post.
That night, or poor little boy tossed and turned. "I wanna go home," he cried in his sleep, a few times over. Not even his nasty fall and the surgery had such an impact on him. I can only imagine what he must have gone through that night at his concert. :(