The other night my youngest, Emily, stood up from amongst the other orchestra members on stage at her elementary school, with microphone in hand and did it. She didn’t sing, instead it was her purpose, her responsiblity, to explain the next piece of music and how they were going to play it. She did it eloquently, perfectly, with a big smile, received a round of applause and then sat back down. A simple, solitary act, but more meaningful in the multitude of moments I hold for her in my heart.
Emily first came to tell me the other day, proudly, that she had been given a speaking part in the Winter Concert at school. She started to explain it, then held back, telling me I would see what she meant. You see Emily plays trumpet in the orchestra. She just started it this year in 5th grade and we all chuckled a bit when she decided that was what she wanted to play. Mainly because the instrument is about half her size, and we knew with her discipline and dedication we would be hearing the practicing going on in our home all (school) year long. Actually, Emily doesn’t overdo it with the practice, and she is actually quite good. You can’t exactly tap your feet to the music, but she’s got the keys and the notes down.
But I digress. So there she was in her white and gray dress, hair perfectly straightened and hanging down past her shoulders, playing along with the rest of the orchestra. When the first song ended, they handed her a microphone, and she popped up just above the music sheet holder in front of her and read her piece about the next song to be played and its meaning. Crazy thing is, I have no idea what she said, I was just so proud she was saying it and saying it so perfectly, I was focused on the performance, not the content. But she knocked it out of the park. After she was finished, one of our friends snapped a picture, with his camera (a real camera, not the smartphone kind). I don’t have the picture yet, but he showed to me right afterward. Emily, with her head tilted to one side, and a huge, beautiful smile from ear to ear. He told me he had been taking pictures of all the kids, especially those we know from “the hood” and Emily was the picture of the night. His words, not mine. I’ll take it.
To know Emily, is to know that it was really not a big deal for her to get up and speak, but it WAS a big deal to be asked to do it. She prides herself on accomplishment and is disciplined and focused on any task she is given. The kid is a doer – from the time she was small – when she wanted to do everything “myself”, as she would say. She is shy to say hello sometimes, which can give you the misperception she is cold. Couldn’t be further from the truth. My baby is as sweet and loving as they come. But her shy demeanor around others, made the solo performance she gave the other night a more meaningful act for those who might only get a meek hello from her when they see her in public. I think they have new respect for that quiet kid.
Again it was a moment. When I launched the blog last week, I spoke of Sophie and the place she holds in my heart as my first. Her beauty, creativity and sense of humor is remarkable. Emily holds the other spot. She’s my baby. Always will be. She is just as beautiful, creative and funny. I couldn’t possibly be a luckier man. And there are none coming behind her. She’s it. If I could keep her little I would. At 10 years old, it’s already happening too fast. You want your baby to stay a baby… to hold onto that last gasp of innocence that makes life so refreshing. But the one thing you can’t control, time, keeps moving forward. Always. So you buckle up and enjoy the ride — as we go from diapers to diamonds, and all the moments in between.
It was another moment. From the toddler that used to scream “I do it myself”, if you had the audacity to do it for her. She would then undo what you did and redo it, herself. The other night she did it. Herself. And I couldn’t be more proud.
The girl that sees so much in black and white, adds so much incredible color to my world.
I love you Emily, forever.
Til next time, thanks for taking the time.