it was a friday, but there was absolutely no way that i was going to miss the contest. my second son was chosen as one of 6 students to represent the school for an inter-school poetry reading.
he struggled throughout the week, battling fever and an asthma attack. he missed several days of school. there were nights where i would sit up and watch, listening to his wheezing, giving him a blast of nebulized medicine to quiet his breathing.
we couldn’t push him to practice his lines. he would get tired so easily.
as we entered the contest venue, he picked the number 8. it was a very cold audio-visual room. i worried that he might get more sick. but his teacher was there, behind him, speaking with him, blocking the cold air vent from the air conditioner. yes, his teacher loves him. and because she does, we love her too.
there were a few students who mumbled through their lines, probably wishing their piece would be over soon. number 6 was a big problem. he got stage fright, and rooted frozen in front of the microphone. i worried about this because of his proximity to my son. would he freeze too?
i looked over and saw his teacher gather his classmates, talk to them quietly, distracting them from the scene evolving on the stage.
when the principal called number 8, my son, he began walking up the stage with his back straight and hands held behind his back. it was a confident gesture.
when he spoke, he blew away everyone.
the principal said, wow, i haven’t heard it said that way before.
his voice was clear and commanding, he modulated his lines, shouting ‘great!’ at one point with fists in the air. he halted after every few words, recovering from his shortness of breath. he missed one line, but you wouldn’t notice.
when the judges gave their score cards, my son came in second. when his teacher said, congratulations for the silver, he turned to us and asked, ‘mom is this ok?’
he was preparing for the gold. hesitating, afraid that we would be disappointed, he tentatively asked us if he did well. our hearts burst with love.
we hugged him and said he did very well. i went to the clinic afterwards walking on air. nothing could top this day.
i do not know where he got his genes. but he is one well-made child.