As the lights dimmed in the high school auditorium, a small group of sixth grade students paraded on to the stage.
The music teacher raised his hands. The children raised their instruments to their lips. I raised my hands to place them over my ears.
"SQUAWK! HONK! SQUEAK!"
I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "Is there a sick moose around here somewhere because I think I just heard one!"
"Ssh," he put his finger over his lips as he pulled a pair of earmuffs out of his coat pocket
with the other hand.
"Where did you get those?" I asked.
"None of your business," he replied. "I’m known for thinking outside the box at work and now that talent has suddenly become very useful tonight."
"Can I borrow the muffs?" I asked sweetly.
"Never!’ he exclaimed as he slipped them over his ears and smiled. "It’s very peaceful inside my head right now," he whispered.
I frowned and turned back to the stage. The trombone section stood up and blew on their instruments.
"Who passed gas?" my daughter hissed loudly.
"I think that was the trombone section," I whispered back.
The music teacher waved his arms wildly as the sixth graders blew and blew until they could blow no more. "Hey, I think I recognize the song they’re trying to play!" I said excitedly as I turned to my husband who was now snoring next to me, his earmuffs askew on his head.
I turned to the lady behind me and inquired. "Are they playing Jingle Bells?"
"Good job!" she whispered. "Is this your first concert?"
"Yes," I answered. "And you?"
She reached in her purse and handed me a pair of earplugs. She leaned over to whisper in my ear, "These work much better than your husband’s earmuffs." She winked, patted me on the back, leaned back in her seat and smiled as she pointed to her own ears.
"Thanks," I mouthed gratefully as I turned around and pushed the plugs in my ears.
It was a Christmas miracle, I tell you. I couldn’t hear a thing. I clapped when everyone else clapped, but I was blissfully in my own little world for the rest of the concert. I clapped wildly along with the rest of the parents when the music stopped. As the sixth graders lowered their instruments, I saw Moms, Dads, sisters and brothers throughout the auditorium quickly remove earplugs, headphones, and earmuffs.
I hugged my son. "I saw you did a great job with the bells," I said while secretly patting myself on the back for wording my sentence with the word "saw" instead of "heard" so I wouldn’t be lying.
I just knew one thing as we all filed out of the auditorium that night. In a few years, we’d all be making beautiful music together in the same auditorium and that was all that mattered.