Monday, August 11, 2014

Parenthood Week 63 - The Party: Part 2

Click here for part 1

“Did you drive? I know parking’s awful bc of Billy Joel concert nearby?”

With this text on my phone, I knew that I couldn’t make up an excuse and go home. The fact that she noticed I wasn’t there meant that she cared that I was there. Even though I felt that I had failed because of how late I was to the performances, she didn’t seem to think so or else her text would have been a lot more annoyed and less understanding.

So I turned around, and texted  her I had just parked and was on the way over. As I approached the apartment for the second time that night, I still felt the feeling of hesitation and insecurity but I had told LaJuanda I was on my way and I couldn’t break my word.

I climbed up the back steps of the apartment as LaJuanda directed. As I entered the back door of the dining room I heard the sound of girls singing an arrangement of “Long Hot Summer,” coming from the living room. As I walked through the apartment, Mike, LaJuanda’s boyfriend waved to me and whispered that they had just started.


There were people crowded into the living room sitting on the floor and couches and watching the group performing standing against the far wall. I squeezed behind someone sitting on a bar stool and there I saw LaJuanda in the back corner of the room.

Our eyes met and she smiled at me. In that moment, the tears of depression and failure that were welling up earlier came out in tears of joy. As the girls sang “The only place that I want to be is where you are, ‘cause anymore than a heartbeat away is too far,” I realized there really wasn’t anywhere I would rather be at that moment.

During the intermission, I gave LaJuanda a hug and made an awkward attempt at small talk.  I was out of practice and felt like I had no idea how to chill out at a party but for some reason, I didn’t really care.

The girls had a great second act with a really clever T.G.I.F. sitcom theme song arrangement. No, these weren’t professional singers but they had fun and were really into what they were doing. That energy is the most important thing in any performance and they had that going for them. It was clear that everyone in the room was feeling what they were feeling, no more hoping and wishing.

After the performance I chatted with LaJuanda and Mike for a little bit. I told her that I felt silly that I was worried that I would be late and that I thought that she was texting me in the middle of the performance. She asked me how I thought that her group did and I told her how much I enjoyed the song selections, the transitions and their energy.

I explained to LaJuanda I had to get going because I was off on a road trip early the next day and while she was sad that I couldn’t hang out, it was clear that she appreciated that I had come.

When I’m out with Ollie and Diana, I don’t have to think about my own feelings. My focus is on their needs. When I get frustrated that I can’t find parking and Ollie is in the car, I ignore those feelings for Ollie’s sake and power on.  Going out by myself forced me to confront my doubts and insecurities and if it wasn’t for that text from LaJuanda, expressing to me that I mattered, I would have given up on myself.

LaJuanda and I aren’t best friends. I have no illusions about that. But you don’t have to be best friends to have a significant and important impact on each other. You don’t have to be someone’s best friend to make a difference.

Some of the hardest moments of as a parent are when you aren't with your child.  It's important to remember that while these times are tough, you don't have to go through them alone.  

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