“Nevermind, I’ll find…someone like youuuuu…I wish nothing but the best….for you toooo…”
If I hear that damn Adele song ONE more time…I really think my head may explode. As of the last two weeks, the repeated torture has been not only for my daughter’s pure entertainment but in practice for her performance at her school’s annual talent show. Ooooh…wow…that’s coming up again isn’t it.
Which begs the question…which one of us, the gentleman or myself, will fall subject to the painful two hours of awkward song and dance where the microphone is perpetually screechy and the speakers are never turned up enough to overcome the heating and cooling system in the gym? Yes, it’s that time of year again. The hubs gets an instant nomination from me so as to keep me at my post in the kitchen for dinner prep. And frankly these are one of the many events that we have to tag team…taking our 5 year old is a non-option. I’m certain it would end in tears, hurt feelings and an expulsion…and that’s just from the principal.
“I REALLY need to make a healthy, home-cooked dinner tonight…the kids had chicken fingers last night and frozen pizza the night before. YOU should go…really. Take some pictures for me…help me feel as though I were there myself,” I pleaded.
And then…I heard him mutter to our daughter, “So…do you know where you are on the list of performers? I really don’t want to sit through ALL of the songs and skits…could you text me when you get close? I’m going to run some errands but I’ll get back in time to hear you sing.”
What. The. Frick?!?!
No. That’s it. I’m taking her to the show…she is nervous enough about singing, she shouldn’t have to worry about sending you smoke signals prior to the start of her performance. Done. Where is my purse?
Thankfully she and I arrived early enough that I found a seat in the front row, which NEVER happens for me at such things. No coat on this seat…no legs laying over it…it’s mine. (Tell me why I continued to get the stink eye from the family sitting two seats away for the rest of the night?? If granny had gotten here sooner, maybe she’d be in luck. You snooze, you lose…too bad so sad.)
I cozied up on what felt like a folding chair of concrete...you’d think with the amount of cushion on my ass it would feel like a Lazy Boy. I perused the play list handed to me by the sweet pea in pigtails and realized…HOLY SHIT. There are SIXTEEN acts/songs/skits/dances/etc in this God-bless-ed program! Me and my big-ass mouth.
Don’t get me wrong…I know they’re just kids. Feigning an entertained smile with ferocious applause every time Sally Sue attempts her cartwheel without landing on her ass just. Gets. Old. Fast. I never claimed to be an uber-nurturing person…another one of my fatal flaws. BUT…I’m here to support my daughter enthusiastically. Smile on, clapping hands ready…and go.
Act one…dancing duo of 4th grade girls. Not horrible. Totally takes me back to the “routines” we made up as young girls during sleepovers. Bee-boppin’ to Huey Lewis, Madonna or more than likely Cyndi Lauper. Ya know…the kinda dance where you literally act out every word in the song? (Point to heart, ears then feet…and repeat.) Sporting matching neon T’s and socks…with side ponytails. Side ponytails, I tell ya!!! I couldn’t hate it. I actually…kinda…loved it. They were horribly choreographed…but they were having a BLAST. I couldn’t help but lend a genuine smile and clap along to the music. Despite a few off-steps and incongruencies, they kept going, kept smiling and finished with dignity. Hmm…maybe this won’t be so bad after all.
I glanced down to my list, mentally checking off performance number one…what’s next? Does that really say “jump-rope”? Out bounced an 8-or-so-year-old girl…jump-rope in hand…Adele cued aaaand jump. And jump she did…for the entirety of the song. Just plain old jumpin. Nothin’ fancy. Just front to back with a bounce in between, jumpin’. The poor girl’s hair wasn’t pulled back at all…it was hanging completely in her face. Within a minute or so she began to miss about every third jump. Then every other. By the end of the song, the poor girl was tangling that rope between her legs and gym shoes literally every jump. The beauty? She. Kept. Jumping. Not once in any of the brief glances I could capture of her face was she red-cheeked or embarrassed. When her hair parted I saw a smile. She was having fun. When the song was over, she swept her locks behind her ears, sweetly smiled, took a bow and confidently darted off of the stage.
There were more dancers and singers to come…most of them grooving to Adele. (So I wasn’t the ONLY parent ready to ship the bodacious Brit and all of her CDs off to a deserted technologically void island.) I won’t detail each of their performances but suffice it to say that it was girl after girl, putting themselves out there, on stage, with a smile regardless of the outcome. I found myself tearing up with pride despite not having a drop of blood relating me to any of these young ladies and their smiles. THESE are the girls my daughter will be surrounded by as she grows and transitions into the cruel harsh world…and it warms my heart.
The most important smile that night belonged to my daughter. She was nearly last on the list of performances. She slowly but confidently made her way to the center of the stage and cued the “music” girl. (Despite having managed the music for 12 or so skits already that night, the poor girl still seemed to fumble.) The music was too quiet…and in true school talent show form the microphone started off rather screechy. But she sang. It didn’t phase her. She just. Sang. Now…I won’t lie and say she’s a natural singer. Truth be told, she will likely end up a band geek like her momma. (I save my singing for the car and shower.) But I’ll be damned if that girl didn’t belt it out…like it was her JOB. Was she off key? Yes. Was her timing off? Sure. Not once did I see her appear shaken or embarrassed.
As I nervously peered from my seat, I started to see myself in her…not necessarily in her appearance but in her hopes. As a girl I WANTED to do something like this. I dreamt of performing on a stage but never had the proverbial balls to bring it to fruition…not even for an elementary school talent show. I was a total puss back in the day. My sweet little blond fuzzy duckling, however, was becoming a beautiful, tall, talented, intelligent, witty swan before my very eyes. It was in that moment that I realized how much I admire her. That there is much to learn from her. That I still have time to be like her.
I was the lucky one that night. The gentleman may have gotten to relax at home but I got to witness a group of young ladies strut their stuff, spread their wings, use their voices…with confidence. With smiles. They didn’t expect perfection. They expected to be seen and heard. And they were.