Lil Messengers

I love having young parents at my gigs because they always send their young kids tottering up to deliver tips and song requests on their behalf. This is already adorable but what’s better is that I get to watch the entire interaction play out: a mom stands her little boy out of his chair and looks him in the eye. She hands him the money and the request, gently folding his tiny hand around it herself as she explains their mission. She leans in and whispers instructions quietly, discreetly, like she wants the collaborative nature of their plan to be a secret. Then she points right at me, blowing their cover.

Almost every time, the kid looks at me, then back at her with fear and confusion in his eyes. “Really? ME?” he seems to say. “Yes,” she says, nudging him in my direction. Sometimes he gets halfway towards me then suddenly runs back, wrapping himself around his mother’s leg. She shakes him off and, seizing the teachable moment, urges him not to be afraid and to try again. He always does.

I’m in the middle of a song and there’s not enough time between lyrics for me to tell the boy everything I want to - that I saw he was afraid but came up anyway, that I’m proud of him, that my heart is a little warmer for witnessing his family today - so I usually say a quick “Hey - thank you!” and hope his parents know the rest.