May 9, 2011

Maypole Mayhem

That's my boy - the tall blond one, holding the red ribbon at the Sunrise Waldorf magical Mayfest. There he goes dancing, skipping, brilliantly keeping time and looking so free inside and out. Lost in the music, the beauty of the ancient pagan dance, embodying the freshness and fertility of the season. I'm one proud papa.

Look at how intricate their dance is! Grade 3 children weaving in and out of each other in a complex pattern, building a new design on the old maypole with their interlocking rhythms. How on earth could they keep track of all this? What teamwork! I'm proud of the whole class.

And now, Oh No!, there's my boy going the wrong way! His red string passing over the whole class, around and around he gaily skips, oblivious to the impending doom he's creating. My heart knots up, I w\ant to will him to stop, want to turn back time and tuck him back into the design, want to protect him from the pain he's about to feel. I'm a protective papa watching my child about to get hurt.

Then a classmate yells his name, and he realizes it's him. In the middle of his class, the middle of the whole Waldorf community, he holds his red ribbon of shame and wills a thousand tears not to erupt from his bulging eyes and red face. Hold it in, hold it in, be strong, I silently signal. This too shall pass. I'm the hurting-for-him Papa.

But hold it in he does. He bravely works with the teacher and his classmates to unwind the tangle, three full rounds and more ins and outs as the fiddle band continues to play and the parent community holds the sacred space with compassion and hope. An eternity later his ribbon suddenly emerges and the crowd cheers and my boy has saved the day. Not only has he survived, but he's somehow thrived, and the cheers are as much of admiration as condolence. Not just for my boy, but for the whole class that held it together and worked together. I'm back to the proud Papa - proud of my boy, his class, our school, our community that holds each other.

Our children are going to go through - have to go through - trials much worse than this to find their strength. And we're going to have to helpless watch them through it and hopefully hold them after. This day I've seen my boy's resilience, his composure, his faith, and I hold less fear about his adolescence and lifetime of challenges. He learned, or perhaps always knew and just showed me, that he can dance to his own drummer, skip gaily in the sunshine, then stand just as strong and free in the rain.

I'm not glad this happened, but I wouldn't take it back for the world.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully expressed - thanks Rick. Brought tears to this dad's eyes. I experienced pretty much the same journey watching your son.