sort of like monsters in the closet,
but harder things,
things I can't control and wish I could.
I'm afraid of failing, mostly.
Failing my kids, failing at homeschool, failing at keeping myself together, failing at being a good mother, failing at keeping a clean house and failing at loving life.
When those fears get big and monster like, I feel like I'm the kid in the bed. Knees up to my chin, calling out,
for someone to turn on a light and say, Lookit. It's just a coat over a chair. Lookit. It's a tree scratching the roof. Lookit. It's just shadow leaves turning in a crisp wind.
Lookit. I want someone to sit by my bed and hold my hand. I want them to smooth me, soothe me, help make the fear lesser, lighter, easier to carry, easier to let go.
On better days, most days,
I want to do that for myself.
And on every day,
I want to notice
when someone else who could be fearful, could be wobbly and uncertain,
strides into life and says,
Which is what my son did last weekend.
He was invited to sub for a percussionist in an elite Wind Ensemble, to play in the National Eisteddford in Canberra.
He had two rehearsals in which to learn the part. He was playing with high school kids, aged 14-18. He was playing in a group that had been playing together for over a year.
I would have quaked in my boots.
But this is what my boy saw:
He was getting to play with drummers who inspired him! He was going to hang with kids he liked! He was going on an overnight trip to Canberra! He got a band shirt! It was purple!
For me (coming along because I wouldn't miss it for the world),
most of the trip was a complete unknown.
As we headed off, I didn't know when we were going to have dinner. I didn't know which we were doing first, dropping our gear off at the Youth Hostel or going to the Concert Hall. I didn't know who was holding my son's music (though I knew Someone was). I didn't know when he should change into his band shirt. I didn't know if it mattered that he wasn't wearing the required black socks. I didn't know how he'd go or if it would go well.
I had to sit back and let go. I was, literally, going along for the ride.
My son chilled out on the bus. He got into his band shirt when we got there. He skipped as he went, everywhere.
It was time for the concert. By this time, I actually felt sick with nerves.
How would it go? Would he be all right? Would he keep up, know the music, would he fail?
There. There was that word again. Fail.
I had no control whatsoever over my boy's future. He could tank, completely. There in those ten minutes on that enormous stage, he was completely vulnerable. I couldn't protect him, sitting in that audience of over a hundred, in that cavernous, impossible space. If anything went wrong, I couldn't leap the seats and shield him with my body. If anything went wrong, I couldn't fix it; I couldn't carry him out of there. I couldn't protect him, if he failed.
If he failed.
My son strode onto the stage with his friends. He stood amongst the timpanis, the triangles, the marimbas, tiny. Wearing his purple shirt, and of course, his hat!
The music began. My son focussed. If his focus had been a colour, you would have seen it coming like a beam of blue light.
There he was. Counting the measures. Counting the beats. Waiting for just the right moment when a note or sound was needed. A note only he could play.
And he did. He played. He played with his whole heart.
Threw caution to the wind.
Poured his Everything into it.
He Brought It.
And in that seat I simply sat. Watching my boy climb, no safety ropes to hold him, no net beneath. It was all or nothing; it was All.
after I nearly cried with pride and fear,
he came up and brightly said,
"That was fun!!"
Because it was.
It is so simple,
to leap at life
clutching at nothing,
dreaming and looking
upward and out and around.
Seeing the potential everywhere. Seeing beauty in everything. Letting fear go and finding…
in the biggest and smallest moments.
This is what my children teach me
where my children lead me
the joy they show me
the light I gather from them
the gift they give.