I certainly have a lot of things that could make me insanely proud. Seriously.
Still, it’s the smallest of things that often make life worth living. For me…it was just the other night.
I will use the cheap, well-worn fire pit in the back yard as a bit of a sanctuary. I’ll often go out there with the kids and we’ll make s’mores. More often I’ll put on some Miles Davis or Brubeck on my turntable and go out there, after the sun has gone down, and have a glass of wine just to relax. It’s not horribly often, but when I do it, the evening goes very well. More often than not it is very late, much after the chores of the night, the dishes and the lunches are all taken care of for tomorrow.
But the other night, while out by the fire and reading a book, Hannah came out, excited, happy, and near stammering she couldn’t get the words out fast enough. She had, you see, figured out the chords to the song “Rainbow Connection”. (Admit it – you’re all sitting there trying to do your Kermit voice and sing it now…I know it!) Bear in mind, Hannah’s been singing this song for weeks, so I must have given her a bit of an eye-roll at the time because I was near sick of the tome.
But then she broke out her Stratocaster and decided to sing it with the guitar…and her brother sat next to her and broke in as well.
They were horribly off-key; the guitar was hideously out of tune; the timing was a bit off . . . and it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever heard.
Noah and Hannah, you see, are more often than not at each others’ throats. When they are it’s usually me who has to intervene and even at that I’m usually at full-volume with my blood pressure rivaling Old Faithful’s ability to blow a gasket.
But tonight, my shy son, who hates singing in front of people and who usually acts really silly and imaginative simply sat by his sister, on the arm of the outdoor chair, and sang. Sure, he was off-key, but he did it anyway with a huge smile on his face.
Most of you might think nothing of that. You might even poke a little fun at your kids for being silly. Maybe not.
I certainly didn’t.
Noah and Hannah coordinated, sang, tried to stay on-beat, and just serenaded me there during the cool night by the fire. I hadn’t seen them perform anything together…ever…unless I put it together myself.
It’s a tribute and testament to the two of them and their tenacity that we’ve gotten to the point in our lives where these little things – the Rainbow Connection - would be an event to remember. For them it’s probably a simple, silly moment.
For me, it’s a simple thing that makes life worth living.