We were at the town field picking up a pair of tickets for the Lowell Spinners home opener that night. My oldest’s whole team was going – in fact, they’d be leaving in just a few minutes. He’d be joining them later, after his band concert.
“Aw, c’mon mom! I don’t want to go to the concert.”
“Honey, we talked about this already.”
“But I’m going to be doing band next year. There will be another concert.”
“Yep, and there will be other baseball games, too. And anyway, you thought of a good solution. This is all gonna work out.”
“So-and-so’s missing the concert…”
“Let’s not talk about this any more,” I said through a smile plastered over my clenched teeth.
I glared at him. “You will feel good about yourself when you do the right thing. This is the right thing to do. It was your idea. Now let’s go get your brother.” I had left his brother at extended day because he wanted to play basketball.
My oldest had missed his last baseball game of the season because he was away that weekend with his dad, so going to the Spinners game with his team would be an important “last hurrah” for him and his dad.
The concert was also an important event, since he’d been taking clarinet lessons all year and it would be his first opportunity to perform.
Even though it would have been easier to just send him along with the rest of his team, I wasn’t going to do it. We went to get his brother and then went home to eat dinner and change into concert-wear. My oldest was morose and flung himself face down on the couch, which is uncharacteristic for him. He wouldn’t eat. Eventually, I presented him with a choice of two “party shirts” alongside his khaki pants and dress shoes. Then we worked out how he could change his clothes and hand off the clarinet for a quick getaway.
“Will you help me talk to Mr. Band Director?” he looked up at me with wide brown eyes.
“Of course I will, honey,” I said, squeezing his hand. This concert had already been rescheduled twice, and if it had just remained where it was on the calendar after the first reschedule, we wouldn’t be double-booked.
Arriving at the performing arts center early, we saw Mr. Band Director setting up chairs on the stage. I took a program as we marched into the hall, and noticed that fortunately, my son and his group were slated to play early in the performance.
“We’re supposed to meet in the cafeteria, Mom.”
“Yes, honey, I know.” That is standard operating procedure for all of the kids’ events. “But Mr. Band Director is here and we can go up on stage and talk to him and then you can get comfortable with where you’ll be sitting and how you can off the stage discreetly.”
We walked up on stage. I could tell my son was a little nervous, so I began explaining, “My son’s baseball team was awarded these tickets…the game is tonight…so he has a conflict. He wants to perform with his group, but needs to leave right afterwards…”
I was glad that Mr. Band Director addressed my son directly. “That’s fine, son. You’ll miss the combined performance but I understand completely.”
Later, when the kids began filing on stage, I chuckled at where my son ended up sitting. It was the farthest possible seat from the exit-stage-left. Oh, well, so much for a discreet departure.