THE SONIC BOOMER
Once a year, in October, the grandkids’ private school hosts Grandparents Day, a day in which each grade level (starting with the preschoolers) takes the stage to sing a song. For many of the little sweetie-pies, it’s their first time in front of the footlights, and such was the case with my granddaughter Tess. She had been singing her song, aptly entitled “It’s All About Me,” around the house for weeks, and I couldn’t wait to see this diva-tot on stage for the first time. She has been a ham since the day she was born. Would she freeze up when face-to-face with a crowd? Or would her true colors shine through?
I had arranged my entire fall around the big day. Unfortunately, when that day came, I went in to work three hours early to “get ahead of things” and became so engrossed in what I was doing that I completely forgot.
My daughter called, concerned, when she dropped Tess off at school and saw that the auditorium was half full, and I wasn’t in it. “Aren’t you going to the show?” she asked.
My heart skipped a beat. The show started at 8:30 a.m., and I was a half hour away.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“Save me a seat! I’ll be right there,” I said, dropping the phone and not caring that my daughter was supposed to be at work in a few minutes.
I drove as fast as I safely could — in the rain. At 8:29, I screeched into the parking lot where a careful line of dottery old grandparents (damn them!) were snaking slowly around, looking for parking spaces. I passed them all, hydroplaning over too-steep speed bumps until I got to the far corner of the lot. I skidded my 2009 SUV into a space next to a Mercedes and ran like heck to the front door, even though I couldn’t remember the last time I ran like that — and neither could my knees.
As I approached the glass door, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. Ah, yes. My hair was dripping wet; I was dressed like a hobo; and I was running like Forrest Gump. Tess would be so proud.
It didn’t matter. As I plopped wetly into my seat, Tess was singing “…about meeeee!” Then she bowed and exited the stage. My heart was beating so hard that you could see it through my shirt.
“It’s OK,” Jen said. “Skippy is up next.”
I focused on getting my blood pressure back down to within the normal range.
Skippy entered the auditorium right past my aisle seat, high-fived me and gave a stunning performance of “The Barstow School, My Alma Mater,” which is downright funny when sung by a six-year-old.
“Isn’t he handsome in his black turtleneck?” my daughter asked proudly. “He dressed himself.”
“I think he’s got it on backward.”
We didn’t care. We loved that. In fact, those little details are part of the charm of the show. Last year, a five-year-old “community helper” sat down and cried inconsolably mid-song because he’d left his badge back in the classroom. When his teacher found one, he was able to continue.
This Grandparents Day, we were told, set a record for attendance. Next week is when they send letters to all the grandparents, requesting donations. And how can we resist?