We took the kids to a koto** concert on campus (a.k.a. the place I work, filled with my students and my colleagues). Not so very long ago, we had easy access to koto music, so the kids could recognize the sound and the instrument. Not so much these days, though. When I heard about this concert, I realized it might be one of the few chances my children might have to see and hear a koto. So even though the concert started later than their normal bed time, we dressed them up and made our way to the university auditorium.
Part of my motivation for bringing the kids along was the fact the person who organized the concert worried there might be a small turnout. We're nothing if not strength in numbers, so we brought seven seats' worth--our clan plus Sky's friend William and William's mom.
I'm not sure, really, what possessed me to do any of this. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you can imagine all the things that could've gone wrong. I mean, sometimes we can't even make it to the garage before a major catastrophe befalls us and forces us to turn around and go back into the house to regroup.
Miraculously, on this particular night, we made it all the way to our destination without incident. In fact, we made it into the building, to the auditorium, and into our seats all without anything going wrong. It. Was. Amazing. Transcendental, even.
Once I got everyone settled, I looked up. Then, and only then, did I realize two things. First, the place was packed, and second, practically everyone was there. Directly in front of us, the provost, and behind us? A retired president of the university who also happens to be a specialist in my field. Suddenly, the sheer idiocy of my plan hit me. And, we still had at least 10 minutes until the concert would start. What. Was. I. Thinking?
Those were the longest 10 minutes of my life. The kids squirmed. They giggled. They competed for William's attention. Twice, we changed our seating configuration.
But, they didn't fight. No one cried, and no embarrassing personal information was shared.
They actually held it together all the way until the music started, and then were quickly enraptured by the whole experience. The musician combined her twenty-first-century compositions with some premodern favorites. It was ethereal. It was magic. And, it almost immediately put all three kids to sleep, leaving William stuck in the middle a bunch of snoring mini-MOEs. At the end of the two-hour concert, they all woke up without a fuss, walked to the car, then into the house and straight to bed also without a fuss.
In other words I took my kids to a grown-up event past their bedtimes, and nothing went wrong. I suppose there are all sorts of lessons for me to learn about trusting my kids to do the right thing and believing in the benefit of all the interventions we've been pursuing.
I don't know about those things, but I do know I need to get a copy of that koto player's CD.
**The koto is a traditional Japanese instrument with 13 (or more) strings and made from paulownia wood. Here's a link.
Photo adapted from Wikipedia.