It was free.
And ever since that free concert for kids at the symphony, this is what Malakai’s been doing: going around wildly conducting life.
A burst of hands, an exaggerated swoop, then a punctuating of thin air (the drum! the drum!).
This makes him happy. He can’t stop smiling.
He had leaned over to tell me (we were blessed seatmates because he kept dangling headfirst off the edge of the balcony — only because “Wasn’t it okay to just want to know what’s directly underneath of you?” — much to the fluster of the usher and the blushing embarrassment of his non-adventuring mother, who now held his hand quite dearly and tightly) —
He had leaved over and he’d whispered it thick and hot right into my ear there in the dark,
“I didn’t know making music was such fun.
I thought it was like… practicing the piano.”
When the strings were all playing Dvorak strong and my chest was pounding the thrumming hooves of a thousand storming skies and his little hand was sweaty in mine and the feet of hundreds of school kids pattered the floor, coming like a crest of song, a wave of time too, I looked over at him outlined in the dim light of a lifetime of memories — and I remembered her words,
“But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this.
I did not live in the moment enough.
This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed.
I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
The drums had crashed.
He’d flashed his grin at me and knocked me right over.
And I had crescendoed:
I want a life that makes music — not just practices the piano.
I want the moments enough to let go of the mirages. I want the now, the space that doesn’t hurry, and joy’s the only next thing. I want here with it’s doing because that means living; I don’t need to get there, with it’s getting it all done — because that’s only when it’s all over and you die.
He claps, thunder of his own, and I make a point to memorize the way this boy looks as I wake up.
That curl swirling at his right temple. How he’s still clapping, smiling, when he turns to me in the shadows and says it too loud, “Did you like it, Mom?”
The surprising raspy gravel of his voice. I nod.
His voice, that’s what I memorize. And the curve of his eyelashes. And all that light caught, glinting, in his eyes.
This… this… this…
The way to really conduct a life — the symphony of it all gloriously loud in the ears….
And I can hear it…
Our hearts in time with the moment…
Live wisely …. and make the most of every opportunity …. ~Colossians 4:5