I really love thew way Matt Archbold writes about his kids, but this piece on a school talent show, and what he learned from it is a hilarious,insightful and touching keeper that really resonated with me, for all the nights I’ve lain away regretting a too-hasty answer, and for all the times — like the day pictured above — that I let a kid surprise me:
She dropped to her knees in the living room, put her hands on her head, and moaned an anguished yawp as if her visions of grammar school glory were foiled yet again. We all stood back impressed that a five year old could conjure such deep wellsprings of regret given that she’d only heard about the talent show on the way home in the van.
“What were you going to do as your talent anyway?” asked the 11 year old to distract her because her first instinct is to always make things better.
When we received no response I asked the same question. Slowly, she released her head and stared up at me incredulously as if I’d just admitted that I didn’t know her at all. “Dance, Dad,” she said. “Dance.”Oh.
Now, mind you, this particular child wore a Batman mask for four years. This past year has been spent swinging styrofoam swords at her brother. I’ve never seen her dance except out of the way of some invisible missile hurled by an imaginary nemesis. But the way she was acting you’d think she shuffle-stepped out of the womb wearing leg warmers and glitter.
She suddenly stood up and without any music began jumping, twirling, and waving wildly as if someone were shooting at her feet. The kids and I watched her for about twenty seconds enjoying the show and then after about twenty more seconds we started wondering if we’d have to taze her to get her to stop.
When she did finally stop because she’d made herself dizzy she didn’t stop and look at us for applause or approval, she simply walked past us and asked her seven year old brother to play in the front room.
“That was great,” called out the eleven year old to her.
As my son followed her, I asked him what talent he’d planned for the talent show.
“Cartwheel,” he said and walked out with his sister.
A Hat Tip to New Advent for this one. Take the time to read the rest, and let it surprise you. Whether you’re a parent or someone who wonders what sort of things ran through your own parent’s minds, sometimes, you’ll be glad you did.