The wife and I had an important date tonight. We needed to watch our children in the performance that marks the end of the week they spent in a Day Camp. This was a performing arts-based camp, and so we needed to have dinner, then drop them off so they could get ready for their show.
As we dropped them off, my wife took the primary instructor aside, and asked her how our daughter had been doing this week. The answer was delightful.
“She’s done really well. She was making new friends and interacting well.”
My wife asked for some additional clarification. Our daughter had been at this camp for three years running. This instructor was well aware of how challenging she could be. Did she notice a difference from last year and the year before?
“A big difference. I mean, she’s still quite a noncomformist. She’s going to do things her way. But things went really well.”
Oh God, what music to our ears. We’ve reached a point where we can’t tell anymore what’s reasonable and what’s unreasonable to demand of our daughter. We second guess ourselves constantly. Is this an unreasonable hissy fit? Or is it normal temperament for a 10 year old? And most importantly, we need someone who knew her before she started medication to tell us if they noticed a difference. And this was just about the best possible news we could get.
Noncomformist I can handle. If she wants to forge her own path through life, I say more power to her. As long as it’s her choice, and not because she’s been rejected by everyone around her.
With a half-hour before the show, the wife and I walked to a local Coffee People for a drink. We were buoyed by what the instructor had said, and because it was Friday. We got our drinks and sat down. The music playing in the coffeeshop sounded…odd. The vocalist sounded very much like the basso profundo lead singer of Crash Test Dummies, except he was singing heavy metal, in another language. We asked the guy behind the counter who it was. I forget the name of the band, but it was a Norwegian group.
So, here was this really deep Norwegian voice singing thrash metal. And after a song or two, I got a mental image I had to share with my wife — the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show fronting for a metal band. Studded leather, wild hair, the works. I could see him in my mind’s eye, throwing the horns, screaming “Börk! Börk! Börk!” She started giggling. I started giggling. For the rest of the album, every time the vocalist said something particularly Scandinavian-sounding, we cracked up.
Our children did quite well. The boy had an important part in one play, the girl had an important part in another. But apart from the quality of their performances was the important possibility that we were moving in the right direction. That things could be improving. That we might still salvage a semi-normal relationship with our daughter. And that, as the commercials say, is priceless.