Getting older is a weird experience. I mean, I am my own person so I have absolute control over every decision I make, but that’s often not the reality. As an adult there’s this expectation that because you’re an adult, it’s okay if you step aside. The younger generation behind you should take precedence. And while I don’t disagree with that general notion–I mean the rising generation will eventually have to take over–but I’m not dead yet, nor do I want to be put out to pasture and be nothing but a spectator for the rest of my life. An example of what I’m talking about happened this week.
At our first wrestling dual of the season, the high school girls who were supposed to sing the National Anthem didn’t show. Half joking, the head coach asked if I could sing the National Anthem.
“Yes, I can,” I said.
“Really? You’d be okay to just hop up there in like five minutes.”
“I promise, it’s no problem.”
When I was in high school, I sang the National Anthem countless times, for sporting events, dance competitions, I even did it for a rodeo. But after I graduated high school I moved to a new town where people didn’t know what I was capable of, and soon I was thought of too old to even ask. It didn’t necessarily bother me, but I have stood through many a poor rendition of the National Anthem since, and thought maybe always looking to the youth might not be the best answer.
So, my name was called. I march to the table, took the microphone, and belted out the National Anthem just as clear and controlled as I had when I was a teenager. To say the audience was stunned is an understatement. There was about a three to five second pause after I finished before anybody started clapping.
One of the moms on the team caught me when I returned to my seat.
“I had no idea you could do that. It was beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I said only to be hit by the woman sitting next to her with a snarky comment.
“Shouldn’t a high schooler have done that?”
I forced myself to keep smiling. “They did ask for a high schooler, but they didn’t show up so I filled in.”
Part of me wanted to punch her for sucking some of my residual high away, but I let it go. I got to do something I hadn’t done in over twenty years–and I nailed it. And I don’t care if that makes me sound cocky, it’s actually more that I’m thrilled for being able to still do it after so long of standing in silence and watching others.
After the duel, my youngest son helped that high return one more time. “Mom, I’d never heard you sing that, but it was awesome.”
That very tall teenager got a very big hug. It’s nice to know every once and a while that this old lady has still got it.