Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5/11/11 1st-grade performance

I left work today to attend Julian's spring performance at school.

When Gabriel was in first grade, the whole first grade did songs. Each class would sing a few songs, then the whole first grade did one together. This year, they split up the performances into one or two classes together at various times throughout the day. This made seating and parking and actually seeing your kid much easier.

This year, the first grade did some mini-musical plays instead of songs. Some kids played xylophones, while others had speaking parts. Julian was one of three "soldiers" in a story about "Stone Soup," in which 3 hungry soldiers arrive in town, and the townspeople try to save their food by pretending to make soup with stones. I couldn't quite follow the story actually, though it sounds familiar.

Julian's role as soldier meant a few things. One, it meant that he finished all his schoolwork yesterday on threat of being left out of the play altogether. Two, it meant that he wore a "costume" -- a helmet -- and a mike headset. Kids are terrible with mike headsets, and constantly had their hands at their mouths holding the mikes.

First, a soundcheck.

Julian as a soldier waiting to say his (mostly unintelligible) lines.

Toward the end, Julian joined the xylophone group.

Of course, the photo-op at the end. Notice how Julian, back row far right, is reaching out to touch a classmate's head. He can't quit pestering other kids for even 10 seconds.

He's friends with these kids, but the one in the red shirt is such a good friend that Julian has mostly alienated him and pushed him away. In fact, this happy smiling little boy is one of the reasons Julian went to the principal's office last week, because the poor kid was tired of Julian's constant physical play with him. (I'm not sure who the dark-skinned one in the middle is.) I passed the time before the show chatting with the kid's mother, mostly apologizing.

This was all very sweet and fun to see, at least for those of us whose kids had some speaking to do. I wondered if the parents of the xylophone kids felt gypped.

I brought Julian home with me after school, where I continued to work and he continued to putz around not doing his homework.

I really shouldn't even be working with all I have to do to prepare to leave for NY tomorrow, but with my impending absence I feel more pressure to get things completed.

It's also hard mentally to wrap my head around scanning photos of my Dad for his service coming up next weekend -- it's what I need to do, but it's a surprising emotional investment. I'm now past the initial shock of my father's passing, but it seems my coping mechanism has been to set it all aside. It's not working. When it does re-enter my mind, or rather when I re-enter that part of my mind, the pain and loss is as fresh as ever, and I burst into tears yet again. I guess this is what it's like losing a close family member, even one who was lost in many ways long ago.

A close friend wisely observed that I don't do well with finality. Never moreso has that been more clear than now, when for the first time in my life, I have to deal with the finality of the loss of someone close. I think this will be easier for me when I'm in my father's home and with my brother and sister this weekend.


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