Alex was nervous. Really nervous. But he was trying really hard not to show it.
It was his third time acting as altar server—and his first wedding. We called up our neighbor two doors over, who’s been serving for six years, and asked him to serve with Alex. Forty-five minutes before Go Time, Alex was dressed and ready and afraid his “experienced” buddy wouldn’t show, even though I’d called to confirm only a few minutes before.
“When is N. going to get here, Mommy?” he asked. (As an aside: I am only now beginning to truly appreciate the fact that all my children still call me Mommy and not Mom.)
“Well,” I said, and just then N. came walking through the baptistery and into the church. In short order, he too was suited up and helping Alex put things in place while Christian and I were timing the prelude and warming up. Mid-phrase, I glanced up to see the boys coming down the sanctuary steps beside us, N. looking debonair and dignified, and Alex at a dead run, his nerves showing in the ungainly gait as well as the speed.
It was the cutest thing ever, although I’m quite sure if my fourth grader saw this post, he would give me the Look-iest Look ever aimed at a mother by a child. And I thought: Why, oh why can’t we skip that awkward-new stage and go straight to the ease of experience? It’s so nerve-racking. Starting a new job. Learning to drive. That whole romance thing. Ugh. So awkward, finding your place in the world. I don’t think I found mine until I was mid-thirties, and still I find myself feeling awkward and out of place in new situations.
But then, I suppose if you skipped over all the awkward stuff, you’d miss the highs too: the exquisite agony of a crush, your first kiss (or anyway, your first good one; let’s be honest—your actual first kiss was probably on the “awkward” list, wasn’t it?), making the state band, the misty humidity of a night football game, with the air glowing and the voices coming over the speakers using words you’ll never remember, but which leave an indelible impression anyway.
So much my boy has to look forward to in the coming years. And in some small way, I get to experience it all again, through his eyes. Only this time I’m not chained to the rollercoaster as it bottoms out. I can pick and choose.
Griffyndor for the win!