February 12th, 2013 posted by Kimberly Ripley

by Kimberly Ripley

teen singing All five of my children are musical. At various times throughout the day the sounds of electric guitars, drums, piano, flute, and crooning voices float through our home. Thrilled that each one chose to pursue an instrument, my husband and I provided lessons, sheet music, transportation to and from lessons, and replacement flutes every time Judy lost hers. We proudly attended recitals. One time I was even asked to write a review of a concert in which my eldest son was performing. Giddy with excitement over reviewing my own child, I arrived early at the hall where the performance was scheduled. Introducing myself to the school music director who had arranged the concert, I assured him I would plug the school in my article. “You must be so proud,” I said. “Your students have worked hard all year.” “They’ve done this on their own,” he told me. “They held rehearsals every day after school. It should be quite a surprise.” It was indeed. The first act was a young lady performing a beautiful aria. Her voice filled the hall with a resonance beyond her years. I snapped a picture of her elated parents with tears in their eyes. A trio performed next. Although not particularly gifted musically, they were all good sports and really gave the song their best. They filled the hall with a warm feeling of camaraderie. A rendition of a Tracy Chapman tune left the crowd believing the recording star had somehow slipped into the hall when no one was looking. The voice and style similarities were uncanny. I made a note to highlight this young woman in my article. At Intermission a light supper was served. The proceeds of the entire event would fund another event the music department hoped to attend. After dishes were cleared and coffee was poured, the audience was instructed to relax and enjoy their dessert along with the rest of the show. Through sinful bites of a brownie sundae I jotted notes and fiddled with my tape recorder. I knew that later I could replay the performances and add substance to my story. I wanted to sit back and give my undivided attention when my son and his friends presented their band’s debut. I hadn’t heard this particular band. Many of the groups he’d played in had practiced in our garage or shed, but this bunch had spent most of their rehearsal time at another boy’s house or in school. I hadn’t even met a couple of them. With one act to go, and no sundae left, my eyes and ears were fully tuned for a musical treat. Pushing “record” on the recorder I set it on the table and waited. A wiry little man introduced the next act. “And now, live from Portsmouth High, I’m happy to present Dirt!” “Dirt?” As the curtain opened I saw my handsome son remove the mic from its stand. His buddy Tom looked self-assured. The other two boys wore interesting clothing. One had a jacket full of nails. The other had multi-colored hair. That was okay. Wasn’t it? “Hi, everyone,” my son greeted the crowd. “Hey,” the rest of the band waved. “I’d like to dedicate this song to my parents. If it wasn’t for their help I’d never be where I am today.” I was near tears. The bass guitar and drums set the beat. Electric guitars chimed in with some sort of … noise? I’m not sure what it was, but it didn’t sound good. My son turned around, then lurched toward the audience and began screaming in a tortured voice. “When you come to my area, look out for bacteria!” This child was a former choirboy. He had the voice of an angel. Why was he screaming? “Bacteria! Bacteria! When you come to my area!” At that moment I wanted to fall off my chair and slither away like a snake. What I had expected to be a mother’s proud moment was a nightmare. And I still had to go home and write the review! When the show ended the music director congratulated parents on their children’s wonderful performances. I got a cold hard stare. My son wrapped his arms around me in a big bear hug, obviously pleased with their display. “So, what did you think?” he asked. “It was great,” I lied. With the publication of that review I learned one major advantage of using a pen name.

Recommended Reading:

A comic survival guide to being a parent of teenage daughters, Bruce Cameron’s book started life in 1995 as a wildly, and accidentally, successful Internet column. In short, sharply observed vignettes, he touches a middle-aged-male nerve by describing the rage and bewilderment of having little girls turn into teenage monsters, but every complaint is punctured by a self-deprecating regular-guy-in-a-mad-world irony. There are helpful hints (or rather, unhelpful ones, because Cameron admits that nothing will make any difference) for coping with the telephone, clothes, parties, car you used to own, and boyfriend you don’t want her to hang around with.

Kimberly Ripley (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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