Last night we had the privilege of attending my oldest niece’s first choral performance. She’s ten. It was a Christmas concert of sorts with songs played by the beginner band and songs sung by the chorus. The kids had been practicing for about three weeks. Which pretty much meant they were rough, squeaky, awkward and totally fourth graders. It was absolutely lovely. I almost cried.
I’m sure there will come a time in my near future when I will dread having to squeeze in yet another one of these concerts but this one was more beautiful to me than thousand-dollar box seats at the opera. Perfect performances are boring. Imperfect ones are lovely. From the tape peelings left from posters being ripped off the lunchroom wall to the uncomfortable metal chairs that were too close to your neighbor for comfort to the innocent freckled bubblegum cheeks of pre-puberty…I just wanted to capture it and put it in a jar.
So I made a horrible movie instead. I think I got another grain of sand in my camera because my lens has a terrible time focusing. (Blast it. Never buy a Canon TX-1.) I think the awfulness of my movie-making sort of goes with the theme of perfection being overrated though. I just had to share it with you even if it makes you squint and curse my camera skills under your breath. Life is blurry and wiggly sometimes, you know?
The whole event brought back waves of memories that nearly squished me with sentiment. I remember being in chorus. I remember singing so earnestly, standing up there on those creaky old thin carpet-covered bleachers. I remember trying to harmonize when I didn’t even really know what harmonizing was and crooning off key like a dying cow. I don’t think the teacher ever noticed me but that might be the reason I never made it to “Show Choir.”
I remember the fart jokes and the nervousness about my clothes not matching quite right. I remember hours and hours of examining the kids’ heads who stood in front of me. I remember one girl had so many zits on her back it nearly drove me insane just looking at them. I remember it all like it was yesterday.
How did my little niece get to be ten already? I just want to go to school with her every day and fight off the icy chunks of insecurity that come raining down like hail for no reason at all. I just want to meddle and fix and make everything okay so she can be the innocent child that I love so much forever and ever! But I can’t. I can’t hold back her curiosity for the future. I can’t stop time. I can only wince and record it.
It’s all so beautiful.