I have 2 children, a 3rd grade daughter and a 5th grade son. I assume with all schools, there are events and programs that are scheduled and performed throughout the course of the year. A couple of weeks, my husband and I attended “Thanksgiving Lunch” in the school cafeteria for both kids. Which began at 10:30 with the first lunch and the second lunch concluding at 12:30. Essentially, Thanksgiving Lunch was a mid-day affair (10-1). Today was the Ancient (Agent Egypt as my daughter calls it) Egypt play / musical which was scheduled to begin at 8:30.
After the kids were off to school I decided that I would get to the musical early because it was the only mandatory item on my agenda for that day. Kissed my husband on the way out of the door as he says … “save me a seat.” When I left home a few minutes after 7 for a 3rd grade musical scheduled to begin at 8:30, I must admit that I fully anticipated a front row seat! Front row – left side of the cafeteria – small blue chair – which would be closest to my daughter’s class.
Imagine my surprise to find the closest seat pair I could secure for the widely anticipated 3rd grade performance on Agent Egypt was in the 4th row. What! The 4th row!!!! I can’t even!!! What in the Hay!? Was I late? Was I in the right location? Why are all of these people here ALREADY?
I wanted in my heart-of-hearts to surprise my daughter and be in the front row. The mommy in me thought about rejecting the idea of the 4th row and extending the left side of the front row by adding two little blue cafeteria chairs. But, I knew that my husband would inevitably ask me why we were the only two people on the far-left in the front. So, I retreated and took my proper place in the 4th row saving one seat for the performer’s dad.
I settled in for my hour wait with a fully charged phone, cup of lemonade and a book. As I thought about if my daughter would see me when she walked in, because I knew she would be looking for me, I begin thinking about those students who would look to the audience and not see a face. I thought about the last event that both, my husband and I were unable to make, and how I felt and how our kids expressed how sad they were that we were not there. So, I began to think a lot about balance.
As a parent, how do you balance? How do you determine what your schedule can accommodate? What about parents that have schedules that allow for limited flexibility? Education is definitely class-work and completion. However, it is also a feeling of presence. The presence should serve as a shield of protection, comfort and guidance for our children. Will there be other events that I miss, while I hope not, the reality of life is that I will. Will there be other events that I don’t make it to the front row. Sure. How do I balance? I have learned – one event at a time. How do I explain my absence when it is not permissible – with lots of love, kisses and a listening ear. Today, I am glad that I visited Ancient (Agent) Egypt. Even if it was from the 4th row!