At our house, we’ve been waiting impatiently for a packet from Land O’Lakes Arts Academy. A phone call a few weeks ago let us know that Snowman had passed muster for admission, but we wouldn’t be able to say yes or no officially until we knew more about the financial aid available to him.
As I stood holding the package in my hands, I considered my mixed feelings. A good award would make this an easy decision. Or would it? I feel some hesitation in letting this bird leave the nest, hesitation that has more to do with me than with his readiness to fly. A bad award would mean two more years of having Snowman here at home, more time to spend with him and enjoy his sense of humor, more listening to the music he recommends, more Wednesday evening’s watching "Lost" together, more hearing him play his clarinet at church, more of many things I don’t even know how to name.
On the other hand, a good award would mean a head start on what he hopes will be a career in music, a chance to go to school with kids who are more like himself, eager to learn and to develop not only as musicians but as human beings.
I opened the envelope.
The outcome: a medium award, not so good as to be automatic, not so bad as to end the conversation. I had a talk with Snowman’s dad, The Father of My Children, and I think we have a way to make it possible for him.
I know it’s a place, as they say in the acceptance letter, where it’s "cool" to be talented. But here is what convinces me. They write,
Chosen candidates share a distinct passion for learning, a thoughtful perspective of the world at large, and an equal commitment to community and to personal excellence. It’s simply not enough to be gifted; a successful candidate must have compassion and demonstrate a commitment to excellence and the improvement of the world in which we live.
I’m reading the letter and weeping, because they are describing my child. How could I not let him go?