Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smooth Like Butta

I wasn't really sure what to expect when our 5-year-old son had his first choir recital at church this evening. He's been going to choir practice all year, but he doesn't talk much about it. He says they sing. He says they sometimes dance. It was good enough for me.

When we arrive, all the other kids are dressed in khakis and button ups, or dresses and bows. They look all shiny and perfect. Cooper has on his bright green shirt that says, "Smoother Than Butta," with a big ole' stick of butter plastered on the front, and one end is stuck in his jeans after his last bathroom break. His hair is going straight up. He gets up on those risers with the biggest smile I have ever seen.

All the parents in the room are beaming, too. They've got front row seats and big cameras to record every moment. We are seated in the back row because, well, we're those kind of parents. When the kids began to sing, I felt pure pride welling up inside me as Cooper sang every song with his whole heart. You could hear his voice above all the others. He also started every song early, hit his drum with a little too much gusto, and missed a few key moves.

My husband and I give him a thumbs up every time he looks our way. We also get laughing so hard that I have to cover my mouth to keep from snorting. It's the most entertaining performance I've ever seen. When I glance over at my husband, I notice that he's started to get emotional watching our son. He wipes a tear from his cheek before anyone sees.

It suddenly hits me. This is one of those moments. You know the kind where you look back and think I was so happy, right here and right now. It's such a random moment in time and, as usual, we were totally unprepared. Happiness comes anyway. God, I'm thankful for that.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Priscilla Knows Best

All day today, I've been thinking about Priscilla Presley. I should have been thinking about Priscilla in the Bible, which is where the discussion started this morning, and what an amazing woman she was to open her heart and her door to all those in need. She was a woman, my friends, that had it all together.

But I don't give her a second thought. Instead, I immediately start thinking about the Priscilla of our time, the one waving to me on the steps of Graceland when she is still a girl. Her hair is witchy black, piled dangerously high on her head, and her eyes are painted dark. She takes pills to sleep and pills to wake, but that will be much later. Now, she is a girl in desperate love with a man. He loves her, in a fast lane, rock-and-roll kind of way, which might be enough, I think, if he had learned to love himself first.

When I was a child, I would watch the mini-series of Elvis and Priscilla over and over again. My mom could never understand my infatuation with their story. I couldn't really explain it either. She was so young, but knew in her heart that she wanted to be with him. She lived his crazy life to be near him and tried to be perfect, outside and in, so the world would love her, too. He loved her, I know he did, but he just had too much of everything (fame, talent, money, etc.) for everything to survive. It didn't. They didn't. And it was so sad to watch.

Priscilla is a woman that teaches us an important lesson. Love hurts us. It breaks us. It often makes us into people we cannot recognize in the mirror, hair all ugly and piled up high. No matter what we morph into on the outside, we still yearn for love and acceptance on the inside. It may kill us or keep us, but it will certainly define us.