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What I Did on My Summer Vacation
July 18th, 2011

If you are a 10-ish-year-old boy named Will from St. Louis, the whole “back to school” affair that’s coming up in a few weeks just got a lot more exciting.  The end of day camps, and cannon balls, and chasing down the ice cream truck are about to draw down for the year.  I suspect this would be a huge letdown for most little boys.  And perhaps it will be for Will too.  But when Will goes back to school next month he will likely be asked, in front of all his classmates, what he did on his summer vacation.

Will will sit patiently while he listens to stories of grandma’s house and Disney World and beach trips from his classmates.  And when it is his turn Will will stand up and say, “I danced on stage with Bono in front of 56,00 people.”  And with that statement Will wins the summer vacation sweepstakes.   (Assuming, of course, that Will’s pint-sized classmates grasp how unlikely and how awesome such an event is…)  I’m pretty sure nothing tops that.

I think we have defining moments in our lives.  For most of us they include things like wedding days, childbirth, professional conquests, and sometimes tragedy.  But many of us also have little moments of fortune that create huge memories.  Things like catching a home run fly ball, or winning the science fair, or getting pulled up onstage by Bono for the better part of “City of Blinding Lights.”

I don’t know what kind of impression his rock star treatment will leave on young Will.  I know that I was beyond excited on his behalf.  I know that I will remember him walking around that stage with Bono holding his hand.  I know that it was an experience that millions of people around the world might dream of, but that Will himself may not understand that for a number of years.

But that’s the thing about these defining moments: what is pivotal for one person may not be for another.  We all interact with the world in our own ways, and are impacted by things differently.  That’s part of what makes life so interesting.  Will may go on to have an astounding life in which an onstage appearance with Bono is merely a footnote.  Or he may think back on that moment filled with adrenaline and excitement for the rest of his life.  I’ll never know.  But today I’m thinking back on some of the more pivotal moments in my life, and they are making me smile.

7 Responses to “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”

  1. anne Says:

    Wow…lucky kid!!! Bet it was a great concert:)

  2. Laura H Says:

    I was so excited for that kid too! But also I was worried that Bono might not bring him back to the right part of the crowd where he plucked him from!

  3. Gale Says:

    Laura H – Did you notice that there were security guards tracking with Bono along the perimeter of the stage? I figured that even if Bono didn’t remember where he picked up the little boy, one of the security guards had probably made a mental note. :)

  4. BigLittleWolf Says:

    Those “little” pivotal moments are the best… Sometimes they define us in ways we can’t imagine.

    Ain’t that grand?

  5. Laura H. Says:

    The paper says that it was Will DeWitt…the son of Cardinals President. So I’m sure he got back to where he belonged, and that it was pre-arranged. Guess certain pivotal moments only happen to pivotally connected people!!! I wish I hadn’t read that. It made it a less magical for me!

  6. Gale Says:

    Laura H – Seriously? That really takes the wind out of my sails. Of course it was probably still very cool for Will DeWitt. But he probably also has the autograph of the entire Cardinals roster. Too bad it couldn’t have happened to a kid without all the connections…

  7. Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities Says:

    I love this. I love that these moments are entirely unpredictable, that they can spring up anywhere, and alter lives. Thank you for making me smile :)