I know that I will be tripping over debris from this year's variety show for weeks, but it will be worth it. After six years, I guess I really don't want the magic to end. Even though I am still bleary-eyed from the past few weeks of burning my elementary school candle at both ends, I wouldn't have missed it.
There were plenty of moments to store away, but the one that I am savoring presently came hours after the curtain closed and the chairs were stacked safely away. When the show was over, as has become our custom, a number of the dads who had given their weekends and evenings in support of our cause went out and hoisted a few in recognition of our accomplishment. A couple of us had our root beer, others had another amber liquid that helped them find a celebratory note. It was fun to hang with the guys and tell a few bawdy stories that couldn't be told in front of our grade school audience, but my favorite moment was yet to come.
Sometime after midnight, making it clearly the next day, I came home to my wife and child who had just wound down their post-show celebration and had drifted off to sleep. My wife lifted her head up when I came in, and we compared notes on how the show looked and sounded and felt. Then she said it: "Your father would have been proud of you."
I pretended not to know what she was talking about, so I made her elaborate. But I knew what she meant. My father was a father for everyone. When I was in band, he was there, pitching in and running the concession stands at football and basketball games to raise money for uniforms, instruments or general upkeep of the Boulder High Marching Panthers. Before that he was a mover and shaker in the Y Indian Guides. He was the guy who used to string four or five sleds off the back bumper of our station wagon and drag all the neighborhood kids up and down our cul-de-sac on those cold, snowy nights. I know that part of it was because he was looking for a way to extend his own youth. He stayed young by playing with kids. He was good at it.
When I went to bed at last, I thought about all the kids that I have seen singing, dancing, telling jokes: the ones that were nervous, the ones the were supremely confident, the very serious, and the just plain silly. My own son has found his own voice and inspiration through his experience over the past six years, first from the wings, then on the stage beside me, and finally performing his own act with his buddies. If I had anything to do with that, then I am very proud. And ready to move on to the next thing.