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Get Out The Tissues And Camcorders

Is there anything at all more emotional than a room filled with parents watching an elementary school talent show?

I swear, the sweetness just about killed me last night at our family talent show: little legs hanging from the piano bench, head earnestly bent over the keyboard; a father and son doing a comedy act, the boy staring adoringly the whole time at his father; children all night long swallowing their fears and clutching their violins and guitars and microphones as they mounted the steps and stood, trembling, in front of EVERYONE.

And all the parents in the audience, hastily shushing their children as someone else’s baby played “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on the piano, knowing their own kid would be next eventually. All the parents leaned forward in anticipation, mouthing along to “Let It Go” as a brave first grader remembered every. Single. Lyric. The other students sitting in a circle on the floor in front of the stage, tumbled like puppies on each other’s laps, arms draped loosely around friends’ waists as they cheered other friends on.

My little neighborhood gang sang “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music as the closing to the show: me, ten children, and a father accompanying us on the guitar. We’d practiced for weeks and everyone had worked really hard. All the kids hit their marks and remembered their lines, even the ones we changed: instead of Liesl singing “I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne!” we had the two youngest, most mischievous boys sing, “I’d like to stay up really really late!” And when they said, “Yes?” the entire audience delightedly hollered “NO!” back at them, like as if we’d warned them ahead of time.

And then of course when my little Cora came forward and sang, “The sun has gone to bed and so must I,” then curled up like a sleepy kitten on the floor, the whole audience breathed in a remembered whiff of baby scent – that top of the head, fresh baby smell – and exhaled delightedly.

I swear, these things get me every time.


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