Friday, March 9, 2012

just laughter, smiles, and fun

Last night we took both boys to see The Fresh Beat Band. My big five year old is a seasoned concert goer - not only has he seen the Michael Stanley Band after an Indian's game he has also seen Elmo, live in concert. And then there was that year we followed the Wiggles...

This was the first tiny toddler's concert. He doesn't like anything loud and sometimes he freaks out when around large groups, but he loves music and dancing, so it could have gone either way. He marched right into the crowded theater and climbed up into his red velvet seat as though he had done it a thousand times. When the concert started he climbed up into my lap so he could see the stage. He clapped when everyone else clapped and at one point he raised his right hand up in the air, palm out, for the entire song. My tiny toddler was testifying! He LOVED it! He bounced up and down on my lap and sang his "la la's" to the music. He didn't make it all way through the concert; my sweet husband had to take him to the back of the theater where they could stand with all the other dad's and squirmy kids, but at least he didn't cry and cause a scene... And as a side note, at least he wasn't the one in our row smelling like the diaper genie. I thought it was him, but after dragging the tiny toddler down two flights of stairs to the restroom and putting him through a terrifying diaper change on a marble ledge because there was no changing table I realized the smell was, in fact, not my baby.

As I sat there watching the concert with a child on either side of me I found myself tearing up, again. I remember sitting in a very similar theater with a small Chinese boy on my lap. He hugged his Elmo doll and clapped when Elmo and Big Bird appeared on the stage. He laughed and pointed and bounced up and down while I cried. My sweet husband cried a little too. We had waited so long, we had gone through so much to get to that moment, right there, giving the amazing gift of Elmo to this young boy that we loved so much. I am sure it is a normal adoptive parent desire to give our newly adopted children only experiences that are fun, to do whatever it takes to see our kids smile, to overcome whatever sadness their young lives had seen. (It ends, somewhat. Nearly four years home with my big five year old and I am, usually, OK with doing things here and there that make him a little sad, like limiting his screen time or not allowing him to eat ice cream and candy for breakfast.) So last night I saw my youngest son light up when the band took the stage. I looked over at my sweet husband and I was laughing through my tears. Which is pretty normal for me. For most moms, I guess. Laughing through tears...

The other thing I realized last night is how very different my two boys are. The tiny toddler is still trying to figure life out and so he spends much of his time imitating his big brother. Because of this they often seem like little mirror images of each other. But I am really starting to see a little man emerge from within the baby my preschooler used to be. He is becoming a very serious young man with a dry sense of humor. At home he acts like a clown, bouncing around and making funny faces to get his little brother to laugh. At school he loves to play basketball and soccer with his friends and he often causes trouble for the teacher with his constant chattering. (something I was often in trouble for in school myself.) At the grocery store he dances down every aisle, totally oblivious to the other shoppers watching him. But put him in a large group, like a concert, and his protection mode takes over. (again, just like mommy. I will go to great lengths to not look stupid in public.) He sat in his chair last night, hands folded in his lap, enjoying the show but not really participating. By the last few songs, when Daddy had taken his little brother off for a walk and it was just the two of us watching the show he did start to dance, just a little. I miss the no worries kid he was, the one who would have danced in the aisles no matter who was watching, but I respect the kid he is growing into. And bonus, I am really enjoying his developing sense of humor. He loves to park at the very top of parking garages and was campaigning heavily to do just that last night. We were late for the concert and traffic had been horrible and I had to pee and while the boys had eaten I had not, so it was kind of like the perfect storm. Plus I was driving a big to me SUV in a small to me parking garage, which all explains how I got to the point where I told everyone in the car to BE QUIET. I then began a conversation with my sweet husband as to where I should park, since so many of the spots in this garage are reserved and I never know if you are allowed to park in the reserved spots after hours or not. But my husband didn't answer me so I said, "WHERE SHOULD I PARK???". And a small voice whispered from the back seat, "at the top, mommy." Tension broken. No more worries over traffic or being late, or having to pee. Just laughter and smiles and fun.

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