I sat there, cringing, wondering, “why does it have to be my child?” There he was, on the stage, just standing there rubbing his eye. His entire disposition told the whole audience he DGAF about his role as Ole King Cole. He did what he wanted and I sat there, in my seat, 3 seconds away from sliding all the way down in the chair and burying my face in my cardigan. Once the kids coupled up and started dancing, I almost ran out of the auditorium. My kid’s partner yelled, “Alex! Alex! Alex!” while he moseyed over to a corner, on the stage, during the show. Embarrassed would have been an understatement.
The Christmas show at my son’s school is a big deal. I can remember the first year he was there and they started planning and rehearsing. I thought it would be something quick and simple. Maybe a couple of songs and one “dance” and we’d be out of there. WRONG. I was so wrong. This Christmas show was elaborate for a preschool production. There were scenes, Acts if you will and even an intermission. Come on! These kids are between the ages of 2 and 5. Is it that serious? I play along, because… monthly tuition. And I don’t want to be the only parent that pulls their child out to request he does not participate. That would get them talking.
On the day of the show, or any other event at the school, I show up different than the rest of the parents, in a lot of different ways. I am the only single mom there that I know of. I am the only black mom of a black boy. We are the only ones that commute from Timbuktu. Lastly, I don’t show up with aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. Most times I automatically feel the stares and can even predict the thoughts associated with said looks. So, imagine the glares I got when my son, the only black boy in the entire school, stood on the stage refusing to recite the lines he spent over a month rehearsing. One elderly woman in the audience shared her thoughts out loud, “Why is he crying? Is he supposed to be doing that? Is this apart of the show?” First of all lady, he wasn’t even crying. And B…it’s called stage fright.
As I sat there, very slowly slouching down into my seat by the second, every “why me?” thought I could think of filled my head. Tears almost welled in my eyes. I thought I was embarrassed for him but I was embarrassed for me. Silly me, I was embarrassed that my 4-year-old was not performing up to the expectations of his directors (teachers) and the audience of eager to see parents, grandparents and play cousins.
I was so excited he turned things around after intermission I almost had forgotten how embarrassed and almost disappointed I was during the beginning. The next morning, while playing the videos back, Motherhood stepped in and gifted me with 4 very important lessons, that had little to do with the Christmas Show but had everything to do with my journey as a mother:
1. Do not pressure your child to meet your high expectations
2. Allow your child to do things at their own pace
3. No matter how much you drill them or rehearse things, children will maneuver in their own ways
4. We want things so bad for our child(ren), they’ve got to want it for themselves.
Sheesh! Thanks, Motherhood for the Christmas gifts.