I am thankful to say that their concert-attending skills are improving. All three stayed pretty quiet during the whole performance. In fact, when Daddy came out, everybody got very excited and still. We all exchanged big, beaming smiles and head-nods. That’s Daddy! Yes, it is! Youngest sat at the very edge of her seat, her back perfectly straight, and listened with rapt attention. Everybody was quiet and alert and attentive. For three minutes. Then all three children proceeded to educate me in the ways you can entertain yourself during a concert without making any noise:
• You can bounce in your seat. Quietly, of course.
• You can motion to Mom that you are dying of thirst and have a sore throat and want a drink of water.
• You can trace the veins on Mom’s arm until she gets so ticklish she can’t stand it.
• You can motion to Mom not to fall asleep when in fact she is reading the program notes in her lap.
• You can try to find a comfortable position in which to fall asleep.
• You can play with Mom’s wedding ring.
• You can peek behind you at college students and make faces at them.
• You can come up with numerous arm-flourishes. Slow and dreamy for quiet moments, fast and dramatic for exciting ones.
• You can have a contest with your sister to see who can be the most cuddly with Mom’s arm.
• You can conduct.
• You can leap up and play air violin during a particularly exuberant passage of Prokofiev. (I keep my hand on one child’s seat in anticipation of moments like this, to keep it from folding up noisily.)
• You can try to get Mom’s hand off your seat because it annoys you.
• You can sit in Mom’s lap.
• You can stretch yourself out in Mom’s lap so that she can no longer support your head comfortably.
We had a lovely time. We were all very proud of Daddy. And nobody melted down until we got to the parking lot. I have to say, though, I wonder about my own capacity to sit and focus for a concert or lecture. When the kids are grown and gone, what will I do with myself? It doesn’t seem possible any more to simply sit and listen.