Sometimes, it’s all worth it. Sometimes you get the much anticipated gift of knowing your hard work has paid off. I am speaking of course, of when your kids “do you proud.”
We live in a small NC town where people know each other or know more about each other than they would prefer. In a town like this where anonymity lasts about 5 minutes after you move into your neighborhood, it is crucial that your kids not become — you know — Those Kids.
Several few weeks ago we were dining at Gianni’s, one of our favorite restaurants in uptown Concord, and the waiter in the pizza loft was chatting with us as he was taking our order. He mentioned that he had a band and was going to play a gig for his album launch at a kitschy little restaurant/pub across the street called Little Robert’s. Our teenage daughter Clarke chirped back that she had a band, too, because first of all Kevin is a good looking young fellow, and secondly, she’s a teenage girl with functioning eyeballs.
Kevin, invited her band to open for them without having heard the band at all, which was both generous and brave of him. We realized this was a great opportunity and immediately encouraged her. She said she would check with her band and let him know for sure.
Well, since Kevin is of legal age, he and his band were being paid in beer. Clarke would be paid with experience. Still, it was a good opportunity. She got her band members to agree and she and Kevin agreed a few days later that they would perform for about 20 minutes.
The band practiced several times. My husband Frank and I made all concessions to ensure she got as much practice as necessary, as we were very excited for her and proud for her to have the experience. We told our friends and family about the gig, and several people agreed to come. This thing was happening!
The night before the gig, we were back at the pizza loft enjoying ourselves and Kevin and Clarke were chatting about the next night. Then he said it…the thing that changed everything…he said he was looking forward to her 30 minute set. Clarke doesn’t speak rock and roll and took him very literally at his word. She called the band members the next day and said they needed to throw in a couple of covers to stretch the set and make the 30 minute requirement.
The bass player would have none of it. He baldly stated that it was a recipe for disaster and that the band was in fact NOT ready for the gig. He was not coming. After several hours of back and forth with the drummer and lead guitarist discussing plans and attempts to convince the bassist that everything would be fine, the efforts came to nought. The boy would no longer answer his phone and fled to his girlfriend’s house.
His reason for not showing was simply that because it would make the band look bad for them to show up and not play well, so he refused to try.
And this is when our girl began to shine. She called the lead guitarist and stated that she had made a commitment to Kevin and that people were counting on them. “We may suck,” she told him, “but we’re going to play no matter what.” The guitarist, Heath (God bless him) agreed. This was at 3:30 pm when they were supposed to be at the pub for a 6 pm sound check.
Clarke spent the rest of her afternoon coming up with a song list of covers and original music, printing the music she needed, tuning and practicing. She timed each song to be sure they met the time requirement. She went to the pub, met up with Heath and they went over the music from sound check until set time. (The drummer, for reasons unknown, also did not show that night but it turned out to be for the best.)
She and Heath rocked it. Make no mistake, our Clarke is very talented, and for that we are extremely proud of her. But the fact that only half of the band showed up, and she made it happen with a fresh set of tunes and sheer determination blew us away. It blew everyone away.
I told Heath he was my hero and kissed him on the forehead.
I told his parents how awesome their son was.
I danced when my daughter sang and embarrassed her to tears, but she kept singing.
Yeah, Clarke and Heath are Those Kids: Those Kids that made us proud!