Refuge in Grief – Day 21

An ordinary memory…

I remember going to our son’s preschool music performance when he was four years old. The basement of the church had an expansive linoleum floor mottled with years of use from past social events, church fish fry’s, and the preschool trucks, push bikes, and scooters used for the kids on rainy days. As we walked through the hallway toward the main space, the smell of natural gas wafted ever so slightly out of the kitchen as we passed its doorway. This is always a sign of a great church kitchen. The massive industrial cast iron oven had no less than eight large burners from which the gas smell emitted from its pilot lights. I had the privilege of using it when I hosted a Thanksgiving luncheon here. I kept it simple and made chicken noodle soup in large aluminum vats on the stove top served with Saltine crackers, salad with Ranch dressing, fresh cut apples, and assorted cookies – small Indiana-town food-fare like this was well-appreciated. I really liked walking around wearing my little apron and making sure every one had enough to eat and I also enjoyed chit-chatting about our kids, while boxing up extra cookies for families to take home. 
This particular preschool performance was important because my husband was able to attend. Over the course of those early years with kids, it was usually just me armed with the video camera going to these things. When he would come home from business trips, he would watch the videos with our kids and catch up. As the four of us now walk in, my son joins his classmates and teachers while my husband, daughter and I find seats. Folding chairs in long rows face the simple platform stage. Wallah! It’s showtime! Even at age four, my son was both tall and barrel chested, just like the rest of the men in our families. When the kids marched out in a straight across the stage line up, he was nearest the center flanked with the other kids in descending height order. They each wore different brightly colored t-shirts with the preschool logo on them. The only song I remember was THEE song: The A, B, C Song. Every letter was sung like “‘A’ is for apple, shiny and red” and so on. It was a long alphabet song, sung with the proverbial piano slightly out of tune as accompaniment. The middle of the song, it happens… “‘O’ is for opera” and suddenly our son steps forward throws his arms out and belts out in his best Luciano Pavarotti, “Ah, ah, ahhhhhhhhhh!” Three notes, with vibrato, and he held that last note for what seemed like forever! His voice was powerful and he was amazing! I remember looking to my husband and daughter, and then back to my son, and we were all-eyes-wide-open and laughing knowingly that as such a loud kid, and he was made to do this. It was a beautiful family moment, and it was so nice that it was shared by all four of us together.~Paula

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