Five minutes makes it all worthwhile

Marc Lalonde
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Miserable day floats away unexpectedly thanks to kids' performance

The other day, I had one of those days. You know, the kind that doesn't seem to slow down, ever? The kind of day where you start the day behind schedule and run like crazy just to catch up to what you have to get done?

Yup – that kind of day.

In between places to go, documents to deliver, documents to be picked up, thoughts to be organized and other details about different holiday events to be finalized. Where do I have to be on Saturday morning – only three different places at once? – OK. Better re-arrange my schedule.

There are meatballs to make, cookies and cupcakes to bake, birthday and Christmas presents to be bought, wrapped and mailed. Errands need to be run, stores to hit and parking spaces to be fought over. You name, it it's on my plate – and it's getting cold.

The Christmas holiday, it seems, it but a blip on the horizon. In fact, this year, taking time off work to just relax seems like an inconvenience, but I've seen enough movies to know what working late into the night on Christmas Eve can conjure up, so no thanks.

There comes a time when it feels like it's too much – and that's where my family comes – again.

My daughter signed up for a lunchtime hip-hop dance class earlier in the school year. The kind of lunch activity I remember absolutely adoring when I was a lunch-program kid growing up – and in the middle of my no-good, rotten, miserable, stinking day, my daughter's hip-hop recital was scheduled for noon at her school in Pointe Claire. So I left the office and made my way over to the school for the performance, wondering just how hot it would get in the building and how fast I could get back to the mountain of work piling up in front of me.

Then, the kids filed into the room, and the music hit. It wasn't a polished performance, but the enthusiasm was unbridled and it did my heart good. The stress didn't leave my body completely, but did push it to the back of my mind, and after a performance that felt shorter than it was because of my sheer delight, I started to understand why parents need to be there for their kids in these situations. Not only does it validate the cost and time of paying for the extra activities, it allows the parent to get a snapshot into their child's life at school, and as I watched my daughter move to and fro alongside her friends, I was overcome with pride; not just my own pride in her, but my pride at having her so pleased that I was able to show up.

It was a five-minute performance, but it was a memory that I think will be with me a lot longer than that.

Geographic location: Pointe Claire

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