Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dad/Son Learn Together - Pt. 3

(Continued from April 10 and 17, 2010) ..... However, as the downbeat for the first piece came closer to being a reality, my dad was still not in the auditorium. I knew that he was somewhere in the school, as he had driven me to the event. But, I could not find him in the audience.

We played the first piece and no dad. We played the second piece and no dad. We played the third piece, my solo, and still no dad. The fourth and fifth pieces came and went and still no dad.

You have never seen a 14-year-old so crushed as I was at that moment. I did not care at all about the performance that had been given; I didn’t care about the solo that I had flawlessly executed; I didn’t even care that my mom was front and center for the whole performance (although I was certainly grateful!) …… I could only think about the fact that my dad had disappeared and had missed the entire concert, a feeling that I had never experienced, but later in life learned that kids feel this way every single day.

As soon as I was able to do so, I went to my mom and asked for the whereabouts of my dad. She looked disappointed, but said that she did not know. How could this be? They came to the concert together; they headed to the auditorium together; and yet she did not know where he was???

She told me to check outside near the baseball field, the same field on which he had managed my games and the same field on which the season would soon be starting.

While other bands were playing, I went outside to the baseball field and, much to my surprise, there was my dad talking to another dad. Again, how could this be? How could my dad have missed my whole concert just to talk to another dad by the baseball field???

I went up to my dad and the other dad. My dad asked, “So, is the concert over?” I told him that, yes, it had ended. I then asked him why he missed it. He told me that he and the other dad were discussing the upcoming baseball season. Being raised to be a polite young man, I excused myself and went back in to the school to hear the other bands.

Again, the feeling of helplessness and non-support from a parent was devastating, especially with the answer that he had given to me ..... he was talking to anther dad about baseball instead of watching my concert? It was an awful feeling, one that I hoped that I would never have to again experience.

Later that night, I asked my mom as to how my dad could have done that? She said that she did not know. But she suggested that I should tell my dad about my feelings and to tell him that I was sad that he missed the concert. (In later life, I learned that my parents had already discussed the issue, with my mom expressing her disdain and shock and my dad expressing that he did not believe that I was upset).

So, I approached my dad and again asked him why he missed my concert. He responded by saying that he had already told me that he had been discussing baseball with the other dad. I said something about wishing that he could have at least seen my solo. He then said, and I remember the exact words today, “Look, is it really important that I sit in the audience for your concerts? Because, if it is, I’ll never miss another one.”

I told him that, yes, it was important for me to have him in the audience. He reaffirmed that he would never miss another one. And, he stuck to his word – in a BIG WAY!

(NOTE: In total honesty, I truly believe that my dad did not understand the level of devastation that I would feel if he missed the concert, a misunderstanding that I later found many parents have. Trust me, from the writing of a former 14-year-old, and from the mouths of a host of adolescents, the feeling of devastation when your parents do not attend an event is quite powerful!!)

(Please come back next Saturday for the 4th and final part)

Paul W. Reeves

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