Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Show must go on. . . even if your Pants are Falling Down!

"I think Ren's losing his pants," whispered Scott as we watched Annie Get Your Gun for the 2nd time in one weekend.

I looked over to my boy dancing on stage and sure enough he was grasping his pants with one hand while trying to wave his other in unison with everyone else while singing "I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night."

In horror, we watched as he'd let go, raise his arms, and then quickly shoot his hands down again to yank up his pants.

But give my boy credit.  He kept singing and dancing with a big grin splayed on his face despite the periodic clutching at pants.

Scott and I couldn't stop laughing.  There's something about an upbeat song and a son losing his pants before 500 spectators that just has to be enjoyed.

Parental mortification happens to us on a regular basis and comes in all shapes and sizes.  Our family incidences include:
  • a kid forgetting how to play piano in the middle of a piano recital (come to think of it, that's happened to more than one kid more than one times)
  • the whole Somerville pool being evacuated because someone pooped during swim lesson and then finding a poop smear in my kid's bathing suit
  • a 4 year old screaming and lying on the floor outside Sunday School kicking at me 
  • all of our kids running in the opposite direction of soccer balls, baseballs, pretty much anything round or that's meant to be thrown, and looking in all directions OTHER than the ball
  • the same kid who lost his pants this weekend looking like a frozen deer in the headlights on stage, barely singing, dancing or waving his arms (read here)
And I'm not even writing about my own behavior that's caused everyone, including me, mortification!

But the gift we receive from regular bouts of mortification is parental pride.  Because almost always, it takes a little mortification to achieve anything.  Falling down, failing, being mediocre, feeling humiliated are usually necessary steps towards gaining skills and eventually excelling.

Two falls ago, Kai-Kai played Maid #1 in My Fair Lady.  Her only line was "Professor Higgins, may I take your coat?"  And that darn Professor Higgins forgot to bring his coat on stage so her one line made no sense because there was no coat to hand off!

She hates it when we joke about that story.

"It wasn't your fault!" we protest.  "And you dealt with it great!"

But receiving no coat at her only line seems to have wounded her deeply.  

Since then, she's played the shopkeeper in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a government official in Annie, and this year, Frieda Wilson, the hotel keeper's wife.  She's gone from one line to 17, and has sang a solo line or even verse at every show since.  She's blossomed in confidence and grace.

Ren-Ren didn't get into the first play he auditioned for and as mentioned earlier, looked like a deer in the headlights in his first show. 

Because I served as a volunteer coordinator this year, I was invited to Cathy, the director's party.  I've never talked to her before, but when she saw me, she called out across a crowded room, "Can you believe how far your kids have come?"

I reminded her of Ren's frozen deer imitation in Little Shop of Horrors.

"Finally!" Cathy shouted, "A parent who has an honest assessment of her kid!"  

Yup, that's the thing with us Tiger moms--we have honest assessments of our kids weaknesses and failings--too much so often.

But Cathy's right, both my kids have drastically improved on stage, and the confidence they've gained has led to being different kids in school as well--not nearly as quiet and shut-down.

After the show, we asked Ren what happened.  "I had such a quick change and I couldn't get my tie on right so I forgot to zip and button my pants."

Wow.  Big oversight.

As if to make us feel better, he said, "At least I had knickers underneath--I kept thinking I should take my pants off, do you think anyone would have noticed?"

"Ren, believe me, if you had stripped off your pants on stage in the middle of the show, everyone in the audience would have noticed."

Whew!  Just dodged a bigger bullet!

1 comment:

Tara Edelschick said...

This is just what I needed. My son is going to be in the Nutcracker on Saturday. And he is soooooo bad. The worst dancer out of more than a hundred. And people are paying %50 a ticket. And relatives are flying in. And I've been so stressed and trying to get him to practice. But he doesn't know the steps so he can't practice. Oh well - lots of room for improvement.