Saturday, March 31, 2007
I recently took Anne and Betsy to a concert. The Christian singer we went to see is known for making girls weep, and Anne was not immune to his charms. She knew she'd cry during one or two of his songs, but she wasn't sure she wanted to do that in public. She discussed a couple of options with me beforehand:
*a strategically timed bathroom break?
*Her mother's comforting arm around her?
*A hefty supply of tissues, and the hope that, in the dark, no one would notice?
Options still up in the air, we found ourselves seated in the auditorium. The song began. Anne began to cry. And -- breakdown in strategic planning -- I was not sitting next to her, though I had already passed the tissues.
The friend to Anne's right, J., put her arm around Anne. S., the friend on Anne's left, sweetly patted her knee and offered a look of compassion (hey, I'm a mom ... I see everything, even in the dark. It's a maternal superpower.)
My friend, sitting to my left, whispered, "Do you want S. to trade places with you so you can be next to Anne?"
I considered it for a moment, absorbing the scene. All sensible rationalization about it being only a song aside, Mommy Mode had kicked in. My daughter was in distress. She needed comfort and help. I wanted to be the one to do it.
But, it was already being done.
I turned back to my friend and, breath catching in my throat, whispered, "No ... she's okay. She has her girlfriends."
And then, it's quite possible that a mother in the audience shed a few tears of her own that night, knowing that there had been a foundational shift in her universe.
And feeling, at the same time, that she was doing her job.