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“Be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed.” ~ Jason Kravitz

I planned to blog about my thoughts on Focus today as they relate to the stories I’ve been reading about, and the activities I’ve been partaking in courtesy à la Nikki Stone via her book “When Turtles Fly.” But an unexpected change of events yesterday led me to switch my focus (which happens a lot, and you will find in my post on that subject, once I finally write it, that that is part of the reason my Passions never quite reach their potential).

So now I’m bringing you a completely different post about 24 amazing kids from a local elementary school. Being flexible is part of the gig when you’re blogging and following, so just roll with me.

This week, my days have centered around blogging, working on my young adult novel, and finding a summer wardrobe for my extremely picky, and opinionated daughter on all things shorts-related. (I still think she might be my sister’s daughter, because shopping for her is much more of an ordeal than it ever has been for me, and that was, and still is my sister to a “T”.) So after several trips back and forth to TJMaxx, Walmart, and Aeropostale this week to buy, return, buy and return agin, I think we have finally found something she will wear, and her rear-end won’t be hanging out to boot. Yay!

As I wrapped up my shopping escapade, and steered my car in the direction of the grocery store I was suddenly overcome with intense, nauseating pains in my lower abdomen, and I knew right away the only place I was heading was home! By the time I got there I was pale, had a kicking migraine, and the pain still hadn’t subsided. So I grabbed my favorite blanket and hit the couch, making the decision to call my doctor and schedule the surgery for an endometrial ablation that I had been putting off your years soon.

Just as I was dosing off, the phone rang. I thought about ignoring it, but I’m always afraid someone might be calling from school, so I unfolded myself from the fetal position and rolled over to check the caller id. Now usually, the numbers on the screen are 866 or 888 or 800 numbers quickly revealing that the identity of the caller on the other end is most likely a telemarketer. Or sometimes they’ll try to disguise their generic number by putting it on the privacy setting, but those go unanswered, too, and anyone who knows me knows I don’t answer those either. If I don’t answer my home phone and it is someone I know, they’ll call back on my cell. If I don’t answer then, I don’t feel like talking to you. Get the hint!

But the number on the caller id yesterday was none of the above salespersons, philanthropic organizations, or timeshare sellers that usually interrupt one’s perfectly good afternoon nap. It was my son’s elementary school. Oh please don’t be sick!

I hit the talk button and answered with a tentative “Hello?”

“Mom?” a familiar 10-year-old voice asked from the other end of the line.

“Yes, Shea?” what other woman would he expect to be answering the phone in the middle of the day.

“Um, I just realized that you can come watch me perform today,” he shared. Shea was performing in his school’s version of American Idol, and I had only found out that morning that it was that day, because two minutes before he walked out the door he asked if I could download the instrumental version of  Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts” for him. Playing the part of the unsympathetic mommy and in the mood to teach a lesson about the consequences of procrastination that morning (ironic seeing that I’m the master of the procrastination craft), I said “No,” and he walked out the door with a shrug and the usual “Have a good day, mom!” I suck.

In retrospect, I was just being a little lazy and selfish yesterday morning and didn’t want my morning coffee time interrupted, and I could have downloaded it, let him run through it once and then driven him to school, but Mark was on his way out the door and … Anyway.

Maybe a better mommy would have done that, but I didn’t, so when the pathetic voice on the other end of the phone was pretty much asking me to come to his performance, guilt overwhelmed me. I could almost see him big brown puppy-dog eyes looking at me pleading with me to say, “yes,” throwing in the batting of those super thick eyelashes for effect.

“What time is it?” I inquired, suppressing a sigh of resignation.

“In five minutes,” he said. Seriously? But before I was able to spit out some lame excuse, and tell him that I didn’t feel well, he added, “But I’m sixth so you have time to get here.”

“Ok buddy,” I said, the guilt working its way into my gut, right next to the uterine pain. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

I quickly called Mark and gave him the message, and he agreed to meet me at the school. I pulled into the school parking lot seven minutes later, and was awarded with a great big hug from Shea in front of the whole school when I entered the gymnasium, just seconds before the whole affair began. But that wasn’t the only reward I received when I decided to attend the school’s Idol performance featuring 24 brave fourth- and fifth-graders from the school’s chorus.

From the time the first group of three girls finished their rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” I knew I was in for a real treat (and there is absolutely NO sarcasm in that statement, honest)!

These kids were talented! One by one they got up in front of 400 or so of their fellow schoolmates, and approximately 25 of their parents, and sang either an a cappella version of one of today’s popular teeny bopper-loved songs or, like the first group, they were joined by an instrumental version which streamed through two large speakers parked in front of the audience, and out into the audience.

These kids, though they told me afterwards they were nervous, did not look it at all. One by one they made their way to the microphone introduced themselves and then belted out their songs, most of them in tune. Some chose to perform solo, others brought friends and/or siblings along for support.

A couple of my favorites included, of course, the above mentioned “Love Story” singers, but I was also blown away by one performers a capella version of Christina Aguilara’s “Beautiful.” I wish I had recorded it and tracked her family down to get permission to post it, because this girl can really sing, and could seriously do something with that talent someday.

Another noteworthy pair were the fourth-grade twin sisters who sang “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. “Wow!” I have seen these girls grow up alongside my son since kindergarten, always smiling and greeting me when I see them, and I never knew!! And yet again, no video here for me to show you.

Then there was my son, Shea. We were so proud of him. He walked out to that makeshift stage at the front of the school’s gym exuding confidence, and introduced himself. I sat their awaiting the music to cue his start, knowing the music teacher wouldn’t let him down like his mother had that morning, but to my surprise he began singing a cappella. And he wasn’t bad at all. The song is a little hard in a capella, like all of them, but man can that kid rap, attitude and hand gestures included. Way to go Shea!

Those kids sang with a passion. The same passion I had in fourth-grade when I got up in front of an audience of my peers and our parents and belted out “Tomorrow” in my auburn, curly “Annie” wig and red sundress. You could see it in their smiles, and the way they greeted their admirers after the entire performance was over, those kids knew they had just accomplished something great!

I hope they hold onto that, and I hope the adults in their lives continue to encourage them in their pursuits as they did yesterday, be it in the area of academics, athletics, the performing arts, and beyond. These kids are talented and brave, and could teach all of us a lesson about “feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.” I know they left me with a few things to think about.

**Side Note: I have that book somewhere “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers. Maybe I’ll include that in my Good Reads section of this blog.

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