(I'm choosing very purposefully to call him my little boy. Because there is not much left in him that is little or boy, and it makes me feel better to delude myself into thinking that's not true. I know he is a young man who is taller than his father, and I would have it no other way, but it is still a bit shocking to my heart. And so, for the foreseeable future, I shall refer to this 6'1" young man as "little boy".)
Back to the purpose of this post: little boy had his regional solo/ensemble competition this weekend, and it was finally time to play that crazy solo for an adjudicator. After a not-so-hot final run-through with his accompanist the night before, I was wondering....but this little boy pulled it off quite masterfully! It's not "mastered" by any means, but he is playing an ambitious solo that has the craziest last page. I'm not musical enough to put it into the "right" words, but let's just say that this momma holds her breath for a good 6 minutes of his 13 minute performance.
And you know what's hard? To see your kid give it everything they have, to the point of seeing facial contortions and neck veins bulging, and knowing that there is someone sitting there with a pen in her hand, writing notes and making page notations and evaluating. She's a professional musician, has a doctor title and all, and she is evaluating my little boy. And I, having very little idea from a musical perspective of whether it's great, good, fair or terrible, have no idea what she's thinking. It's all just so judgemental. Even though he's there by his own choosing, he's being judged. I know that's why they give them the fancy title of 'adjudicator', so it sounds less judgemental. But however you phrase it, my little boy is being judged. And that is hard for me to watch. Not because I think he's perfect. Not at all. But it's one thing for me to see his faults. It's another thing entirely for someone else to point them out. Unless of course we are talking about his bassoon playing, and then I guess I would really have no idea how to be constructive about his faults.
And when the song was finally done, she was wonderful. She was very complimentary, very constructive, and had some fabulous suggestions for taking his playing to another level. Exactly what this whole thing is designed to be. And I know that. I have been through plenty of these to know that. But put me in that room, staying totally silent and watching this unfold, and I fight my feelings. This is such a mush of words, a complete reflection of how tired my brain is this evening. But all this to say, these solo performances are hard for me. The ensembles? Not so much. But solos...eeek.
And my little boy? Cool as a cucumber. A cucumber that has been sitting on a glass patio table in the direct sun on a hot summer day, perhaps. But pretty cool.
And he did it again. He qualified for the State Solo competition. Which means he now performs his solo (Oh, goody...we get to listen to that for several more weeks!) in front of three judgemental adjudicators who give no verbal feedback when you are done. Play, bow, exit room, await judging sheets and scores.
And these two beautiful girls? I'm so proud of how they support their brother. They don't just come to his performances because we pile them into the van and make them go. They show up in the truest sense. The enthusiastically show up. They are proud of him, and it shows. And that makes me so proud.
So when it was all said and done, we went for the traditional Mexican meal. The little boy is always very hungry after a day like this. Well deserved, little boy. Mommy loves you.