“Mama? Can I have my own show?” TWO hops around the kitchen, dancing with herself. “You have your show, and Daddy always has shows, and even my sister has a recital. I’m the only one without a show and I really want one.”
It’s strange how true her statement is. She’s been in the middle of our rehearsals and recitals and open mics for months, but it’s never occurred to me that she’d want a chance to perform. Which is ridiculous, since she was pretty much born stage-ready.
“Sure,” I tell her. “We can make a show for you.” In my head I picture myself sweeping into her classroom with some music and getting her friends up and dancing, generously allowing TWO the lead position. Ahhhh…Hero Mommy. And I get excited, because unlike the other requests I get for Girl Scout events, or classroom activities, this is something I can actually do. Something I’ll enjoy. Something I’m good at.
“Oh good,” TWO says, interrupting my personal revelry. “Because I already told my teachers and the kids that it’s going to be in the really big Running Room and that I get to go first because it’s my ballet show. And I’m going to show them how to dance. And I invited everyone from my class and the other classes and everyone from church and all their parents and little brothers and sisters. And you can come too, if you want. And we need goodie bags with sunglasses and stuffed animals (I told them we’d all get stuffed animals, because even though it’s my ballet recital I’ll get a stuffed animal, too, because I’m the host). And I want you to wear your hair down because I think it looks better down…”
My first response is to jump in with some reasonable boundaries, but instead the sweetest thought washes over me. Let her make it as big as she can. Step back and just support her. I don’t know if it was the sheer exhaustion and stress of my own project talking, or just the answer to some prayers I’d said a long time ago and then forgotten about, but I was able to silence myself and listen. Why bring her up as just an idea person like me when she might have some of that follow through rumored to exist somewhere along the family line?
So I contact her teacher to see if the school would let us do something like this, and the teacher immediately responds back with YES. The next morning I let TWO pitch her idea to her teacher, who sets the boundaries, and together they plan the event.
The school gives us a room big enough for the kids in her class (and their families) to dance around in for the last half-hour of the day. This gives us enough time to perform four songs and have a little party afterward. We have a few weeks to prepare. TWO gets to work on invitations right away.
She picks her songs (The Cat Came Back, Little Bunny Foo Foo, The Goldfish & Jesus is Alive), and we make up motions. She rehearses in the car,
on the roof,
and in front of the imaginary audience that my husband and I have (apparently) made our girls believe lives in our living room/studio.
Final costume decision are agreed upon (fairy for her, hair down for me), and we bake pink refreshments, and make tickets.
Finally it’s the day of TWO’s Show. I set everything up to her specifications, and other than when I accidentally kick a 4YO in the face and make her cry during “The Cat Came Back” it’s a huge success. The best part of performing with TWO, instead of my usual position behind the camera, is that I get to experience how talented she really is, and see up close what she’s capable of. Which is, of course, even more than I thought.
The upside to making so many mistakes as a parent is that when you get it right–really right–you immediately earn the right to elevate yourself to hero status. At least in your own mind. And maybe even in the mind of your budding director/performer. Because if she doesn’t naturally look back at this time in her life as the starting point for everything creative to come, you exist, along side of her, in the pictorial proof.
Which should, at the very least, tide you over for the looming summer months of whining, parenting inadequacy and hiding with audiobooks. Because remember that time we made a show for you?
©2012 CEK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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