Dad Life, Nolan, Parenting

Nolan, the “hula hooping sensation”

By the time I publish this, what happened tonight is already three days old. Tonight’s events won’t be as clear as they are right now. Some details might get lost in time. (I know it’s only three days, but I’m 35 and forget stuff). I was going to wait until today to type this, but I couldn’t let this moment pass.

We just got back from Nolan’s grammar school talent show. Yes, you read that right.

A grammar school talent show, where fifteen brave kindergarten, first-, and second-grade acts (consisting of 40+ kids) performed in front of a crowd of more than 200 parents and peers. Their sub-two-minute performances ranged from gymnastics routines to stand-up comedy, singing to Bollywood dancing, ventriloquy to Nolan’s hula hooping. The courage these kids – ages five, six, and seven – displayed was amazing.  Or maybe it’s just youthful ignorance. Either way, it was fun to watch.

Ten acts took and exited the stage before they introduced “a hula hooping sensation.” Nolan took the stage as the 11th performance of the night. Just a boy and his $2, slightly warped, blue hula hoop on stage and the catchy beats of Soundcheck‘s “Up, Down, Left, Right,” a song he listens to on what seems like a never-ending loop. (Thanks, Odd Squad!)

I was stage right, holding the wall up with my shoulder, phone rotated to landscape (because I think that’s how you’re supposed to film with a phone?), letting the stage lights illuminate the lone fearless five-year-old on stage who was about to hula hoop the hell out of this Friday night. (Friday nights play out a little different with kids.)

He was excitedly nervous but remained carefree, aware of the faces focused solely on him but likely oblivious, focused on the music and hula hoop all the while seeming completely at ease. As any good performer, he waited for the beat to drop before going HAM with his hula hoop.

Annnnnnd he crushed it.

Me? My eyes were welling up, proud as hell and dumbstruck that this kid, our oldest son, despite being a kindergartner at the bottom of the school totem pole, had the balls to get up there and do something 80% of the room wished they could…I’m talking about hula hooping. But in all likelihood, probably 95% of the people there wouldn’t dare get up in front of a roomful of strangers.

He might as well have had the old biker helmet sticker acronym across his chest: DILLIGAF. Instead, he sported a forest green shirt with a yellow dolphin jumping over a wave. Yup. That’s him, to a T.

Sure he can be a huge pain in the ass, not listen, be a jerk to Graham every now and then…but he’s a good soul who’s artistic, caring, compassionate, creative, and clearly not afraid to hula hoop on a stage by himself.

He even came away from it with a flimsy star trophy that he couldn’t be more proud of.

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