OK, first off, let me tell you that dance recitals are worse than children’s birthday parties on the exhaustion scale. Seriously, Mrs. Yeti and myself felt like we went to war this weekend. Thankfully, Mrs. Yeti is off today (Monday), so she can relax while she, you know, catches up on last week’s laundry and shit. I’ve got a ton of stuff to do too. But, if I could, I would totally sleep all day, not just sleep in, mind you, but, all day long. That’s how tired I am.
That said, the dance recital was incredible. All the dancers were great, everyone showed up on time (even us!) and the show went off without a hitch…until the intermission, when, the announcer said in a very calm voice: “There is no emergency, but, could Cindy Kim’s mother please come to the stage.” I’m not kidding, man, you could actually hear people’s hearts sinking as poor Cindy Kim’s mother hurried backstage. Thank God it wasn’t my kid, I thought.
So, I headed to the bathroom and took my time coming back only to find Mrs. Yeti hurrying down to the backstage entrance in a panic. WTF? Did I miss the non-emergency announcement for Greta Yeti’s parents? Yikes! Stopping at our seats just long enough to grab my backpack full of Greta-sentials, I took off running down the aisle after Mrs. Yeti and found her on the other side of the backstage curtain in a flood of tears.
Mrs. Yeti was holding a sobbing, hysterical Greta while her teacher, Miss Sommer (more about her later) tried in vain to calm her down. Now, I should stop here to say that Greta rarely, if ever, cries that hard. This was like, maybe the third time in her life that she’s been that far gone and with the intermission clock ticking down (her performance wasn’t slated to begin until after the intermission) my heart filled with dread, and as terrible as it is to admit, all I saw were dollar signs. A $150.00 dress she’d never wear onstage, the $25 admission price everyone in our group shelled out to be there, photos, videos…oy, my head was swimming with wasted cash at the thought that she might not take the stage at her first recital. And then there was my second thought (which, most people would say should have been my first) which was, what the hell happened? Why is she so upset?
That answer was easy. Greta was playing and coloring with the other kids backstage and got a little bored, so, she laid down and fell asleep. Yes, she can and does sleep anywhere. It’s a gift and a curse. The problem was, when she woke up in a sea of strangely-costumed-toddlers, puffy foam stickers and coloring books, she didn’t know where she was and she flipped out. Luckily for her, mommy and Miss Sommer were there to save the day.
Sure, I provided provisions from my backpack (“You need a Kleenex? Got it! Cuppy? Right here!”) and did my best to make her laugh, but, those two did the heavy-lifting in the child calming department and what do you know? Greta actually stopped crying and calmed down. Then I jumped in with a little dance parent pressure: “You know, if you don’t dance, your friend Fiona might not know how to do the routine.” Almost instantly, Greta looked up like: “Oh, wow, I can’t do that to my friend. The show must go on!”
And then, to really slam it home, I told her that her beloved Uncle Guy-Guy and Aunt Laura were videotaping the show in the balcony and wanted desperately to see her dance. A professional toddler-whisperer from way back, Miss Sommer put it a bit more eloquently: “Look to the sky when you dance, they’ll be up there watching you, Greta!” And once again, that brave “show-must-go-on” look flickered across Greta’s face as she wiped away her tears and told us she’d stay and dance. Which was great, because, the way Miss Sommer said it, I was ready to get up there and dance in Greta’s place myself.
Anyway, the lobby lights flickering on and off outside, Mrs. Yeti and hurried back to our seats and waited to see if Greta would, in fact, take the stage with her class. And four sets later, she did. And she was beautiful. I told her later on that I thought she was very brave to go up there on stage in front of all those people after she’d been crying and she just shook her head and said: “I’m not brave, Daddy. I’m Greta.”
She most certainly is…