I have three words for you... School Talent Show.
Yep, every school has 'em and every parent dreads running 'em. And this year was no exception.
When we gathered for our weekly PTA meeting to discuss the talent show no one wanted to run it. And without a parent there's no show. And without a show there's sad kids. And sad kids included my kid.
Soooo... my hand went up? Not exactly. I think someone put it up and I said, "Okay, I'll do it" and I roped another reluctant mom in with me.
"We'll have fun, I promise," I said, lying through my teeth.
I thought I knew full well what we were in for, but even I wasn't prepared for just how incredibly overwhelming this commitment was.
I believe the reason that the school talent show is the most stressful, hated event to throw of all is because it requires patience, kindness, humor and compassion... TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN.
And let's just say not all children are easy. In fact, some are downright horrible. And finding new, creative and politically correct ways to say, "Shut the f*$@ up you little sh!@" ain't easy.
Now, at our school even though we have "auditions" for the talent show everyone gets in. That's right, we go by the "no talented or un-talented child left behind" theory. If the kid just wants to pick his nose to Usher he gets his moment in the spotlight.
So, my fellow mom and I had four weeks to get 19 acts and 42 kids in shape for showtime.
Can we say, "Why did I ever think sobriety was a good idea?"
I honestly believe I aged 20 years and gained 20 pounds through this process. Rehearsals, posters, programs, phone calls, decorations, brownie incentives, equipment and on and on.
Of course, in-between this time I'm also trying to pay bills, sell more used clothes, apply for jobs at department stores, throw a last minute garage sale, show up for possible writing gigs and deal with an upper respiratory infection.
Worst of all, in a fit of fury I cut bangs—BANGS! I only cut bangs when I'm overwhelmed, scared, tired and there are scissors nearby.
At night I'd have dreams of kids singing and dancing and parents telling me I was not nice to their son. My fellow mom was also having nightmares which made me feel not so alone.
Hannah was my little helper. I never once had to worry about her. Thank god. But a couple of times I'd look at her like, "I hope you realize how much I love your little ass."
I remembered when I was 9 years old and our school had The Gong Show instead of a talent show. Back then it was like, you suck you're out. None of this progressive, everyone is brilliant crap. No, if you didn't have the goods you got gonged.
My girlfriend and I did a gymnastics routine. We rehearsed so hard—dragging our little blue gym mats with us to school and to each other's houses. We had our routine DOWN. But, on the day of the show, in front of the entire school, right in the middle of a headstand/splits thingy we got gonged.
It was humiliating. And I never participated in another school "talent show" again.
But, this last Friday, finally, we had our big show. And, despite having to shout to get some kids in line and despite pissing off a parent who called me a bitch because I couldn't, five minutes before showtime, "rearrange the entire show, staging, music and program" because he decided at the last minute to take his kid to some appointment... and despite my bangs... it was fantastic.
Watching our group of 42 kids and 19 acts take the stage, do their thing, get their applause and not get gonged was worth every single exhausting moment.
But what was most wonderful, most moving, most special for me... was when act number 18 took the stage. My daughter.
I had been so busy trying to pull all this together that the mom in me had to take a backseat. But there she was. So brave. All alone on stage with nothing but a microphone singing her little heart out. I sat on my little stool on the sidelines in the dark next to the amp taking it all in.
She's the reason I was there. She's the reason I will always be there. I will always raise my hand when no one else will. I will always show up.
And one other really special thing happened after the show. Something unexpected and unusual. For the first time in years and years my ex husband and I stood in a picture together with our daughter. Each of us by her side, smiling, being, loving on our beautiful girl. One picture with both her parents in it.
I would gladly do it all over again if it meant that at the end she would have that picture.
So, I suppose next year when the PTA discusses who will run the talent show my hand might just go up. Or... I'll offer to make cookies.