I awoke on Friday morning and did my usual run down of the day while my eyes were still closed, and when I got to variety show, my stomach lurched, my eyes flew open, and, oh the fear. When I was eight years old, you couldn't have given me any amount of gummy coke bottles or actual coke bottles to get up on stage in front of people and sing or dance. I did it alone in my room all the time. In fact, I had it in my head that I really sounded like all the different parts of The Sound of Music, even Captain Von Trapp, and I would tie scarves and towels around myself to make outfits, and I would sing into my hair brush in front of the mirror for HOURS. I still do it today, only I don't make up outfits and I use the steering wheel of my car instead of a hairbrush. Anyway, that was all well and good in the privacy of my dorm room, I mean, uh, my childhood bedroom, but there was no way I was doing that in front of people, so when Leila wanted to do it, every eight year-old nerve in my middle aged body was on high alert.
I was very good, though. I did not ask her if she was nervous, I did not tell her that I was nervous, and I went on with the day as if nothing at all was different except the amount of Tums I was swallowing. She said that, out of ten, she was two nervous and ten excited. She was a pretty cool customer. 1000 times cooler than me.
We got to the school gym, I sent her off with the parents putting on the show (they're like gladiators, I swear) and I went into the kitchen to sell baked goods. Now, you know me, normally, I would stuff my face with as many mini cupcakes as I can before anyone notices, but I had no appetite; too nervous.
I sat down for the first act, and when the kids came on I immediately started to cry like a big dork. It was just like when I saw Maya Angelou and I started bawling when she took the stage, but instead of a national hero of literature and poetry, these were three girls bouncing around in their pajamas to the Black Eyed Peas. God, I'm a dork. I pulled myself together. I clapped loud. All the kids were so brave, and I was so jealous that I never in my life have had that kind of bravery. Anyway, I'm obsessively looking at the program, counting down until Leila's performance, when suddenly she appears on my lap, crying. Of course I'm thinking, well, that's the end of that, but I was wrong. She insisted that she was not scared to perform, but that she just didn't want to sit on the mat without me (all the kids were seated on tumbling mats between the audience and the stage.) Well that was a load of bullshit if ever I heard one. I had to make a choice: do I wimp out and tell her that she doesn't have to perform if she doesn't want to, or do I hard line it and push her up there with both hands? I chose the latter. I agreed to go sit on the mat with her until it was her turn to go back stage. As we got to the edge of the mat, one of the show's helpers beckoned her backstage because it was almost her turn. Well. Weepy windbag says, okay! and runs up the ramp. I go with her and she's all, you can sit back down now, I'm fine. with the tone of don't let the door hitcha...
I return to my seat, and I am a nervous wreck. I want to puke, and I haven't even had a cupcake yet. Some of the other kids performed with a buddy or in a group, but my little, teeny, tiny blonde girl was going to be up there ALL BY HERSELF playing the blues in my bowler hat (from my Unbearable Lightness of Being phase) and some dark glasses that came out of the lost and found at my old work. Honestly, who wouldn't puke?
Readers, she did AWESOME! She was nervous. Her shoulders were all hunched up, and she was doing deep breathing exercises for what seemed to me like an eternity before she started to play. She played her song, flubbed up a coupla little times, did her bow with a flourish and exited stage left. Or right, I'm not sure. It was a great moment, over too fast as all these great moments are.
You know what wasn't awesome? Besides the stomach ache I had from gnawing on the program with anxiety? My decision to ask Rob to record her performance. It turns out that this was one of the top ten greatest moments of stupidity in my life, evidenced by the video below. He missed the bow! He cut off the end! He shook the camera! He zoomed in too far! The whole thing is a mess. Sorry, Leila of the future, blame dad.
At intermission I went and sold more cupcakes, and by the middle of the second half of the show I was so ready to get the hell out of there. The kids were all great, and even the Myley Cyrus songs didn't bug me, but being a nervous stage mom all day can wear you down. My favorite act was a girl who roller bladed around the stage and then played Ode to Joy on the keyboard all while HULA HOOPING! She kept three or four hula hoops going the whole time! It was a sight to see. Leila says she wants to sing in the show next year (gulp) and is bummed that she has to wait a whole nother year before getting on stage again. Atta girl! One of my friends said something really interesting: She pointed out that during school, our kids are required to sit still and be quiet with the rest of the class, and asking them to do the opposite, like sing and dance and roller blade on stage, is totally contrary to their conditioning, and that makes the fact that they do it anyway that much more impressive. You go, kids! Even if it sends your parents to an early grave!
Speaking of hula, I will be gone next week, living without a computer or internet access. I know, right? Fear not, I'll be back!