I pull up to the curb and my boy walks towards the car. He towers over me now, but in the midst of a sea of middle and high school kids he still looks so small. My little guy, thrown in with a bunch of bigger kids.
He climbs into the car and I ask him about his first day at The JAM. Tears come almost immediately. Words about incredibly challenging music, the kids in his bands, a malfunctioning bass drum pedal and an impatient instructor come pouring out of his mouth. His excitement at being assigned to a band with the high school kids was crushed in a few short hours.
I try to calm him down. I speak encouraging words. I ask about kids he knows from his two previous years at The JAM... about his instructors... who he sat by at lunch... Once we get home, I download the songs he has to learn from iTunes and put them on his iPod. We listen to them one-by-one starting with the easiest of the three.
I text the hubby and he immediately calls to talk with our boy. More encouragement, "I'm coming home," and promises of help are given. My boy relaxes for the first time since I picked him up.
The hubby arrives like a knight in shining armor and quickly starts walking the boy through the music. First they conquer, "Pennies" by Moon Taxi. Then they get to work on the Zeppelin song, "The Ocean," which starts off in 15/8 time. My head starts to hurt listening to them count it out. The boy pushes through his frustration and finally feels like he has a handle on his second song.
The third and final song, "Long Distance Runaround" by Yes, proves to be the most complicated. Our neighbor/friend/music geek comes over to help the hubby write out a drum chart for the boy to follow. As they work they are constantly telling the boy, "You can do this." I'm not sure if he believes them but he seems far more confident than he did a few hours before.
By the time they finish it is late. I walk the boy back to bed and climb in beside him. We talk for a few minutes and I am relieved to hear that he feels hopeful about how his second day at The JAM will go. I kiss his forehead and whisper bedtime prayers. He falls asleep before the "Amen" passes my lips.
We rise early this morning. The boy listens to his music while he eats breakfast, his hands tapping the beats out on the table between bites. The hubby stays by his side, helping him count out the complicated rhythms and offering words of encouragement. When it comes to musical things, they work so well together.
I wave at my boy as the hubby backs down the driveway this morning. I silently pray for a good second day at camp. Text messages arrive from my hubby... There are no issues. Gear 100%... Morning teacher says he gets the song beat. Best in class... [a drummer/instructor who has taken a liking to our boy] is going to check on him for the Yes song...
The knot in my stomach vanishes. I know today will not be an easy day for my boy, but I know he will survive. By the end of the week he will be a better drummer and a better man. His confidence will grow in ways that couldn't be achieved if not for the pain of being stretched.
I am linking up with Just Write today. Stop by Heather's blog to read other posts or add one of your own.