Stage Parents

This Chair is Not Designed for a Child . . .


The vertical slats on the seat are digging into the back of my thigh, just above my knee. I pull up my socks to add some protection, but as soon as I bend my knee, the socks inch down my leg.

“Eat your egg, the bus is coming around the corner.”

I can’t see the bus, I can only hear my mother’s footsteps, high heels clicking with purpose on the hardwood floor. Back and forth, from refrigerator to the yellow-tiled counter with red and black roosters impaled every 12 inches on the back-splash, marching toward the sink and stove.

The egg. Its orange yolk has escaped the membrane and spread across the translucent mucous. It’s headed toward my toast, which is succumbing to the onslaught. I close my eyes, and swing my legs back and forth, so furiously that my black patent Mary Jane’s fly off my feet and scoot across the floor, hitting my mother’s ankles. The distraction works. She lifts me up, I can see the short van, through the sheer curtains.

“See, now you’ll have to run to catch it, in your socks.”
I escape. The bowl with the egg will be sitting on the chrome legged table when the bus brings me home from Miss Buckley’s School. I have all day to figure out where to slip the congealed formation into the bougainvillea that covers the kitchen window, like a magenta-tainted spy.

“They Dragged Me From The Pond . . .”

One character trait I never had – even in motherhood’s dysfunctional days  – was Stage Mother. I only provided transportation as my daughters danced, ice skated, soccer’d, sailed and jumped over fences on beloved horses.

I thought I was above helicopter parenting.

I was wrong.

Call for auditions.

Call for auditions.

This summer, my daughter enrolled my six-year-old granddaughter in a two-week theater camp.

The libretto for Shrek The Musical arrived the Friday before camp.

Monday Auditions

My eyes glazed over like Goofy’s in Motormania. I used bribes [which I am still paying for] to get my granddaughter to stand still as I played “This is the Story of My Life” – jabbing the air to indicate when the Sugar Plum Fairy sings “They took my magic wand.”

She was perfect for that part.

Ugly Duckling. Baby Bear. Happy Villager

She got three. Not the part we wanted, but amazing for the youngest member of the troop. [Why am I saying “We?”]

My hair began to fall out and my blood pressure entered the danger zone over the following 13 days. I knew the entire score for Shrek, and could recite or sing any part.

My personal favorite was the Ugly Duckling’s woeful soprano trill, “They dragged me from the pond . . . “ My little performer could do it in her sleep. [How do I know this?]

Opening and Closing Performances

Parents were given four tickets and told that seats could be saved an hour before each of the two performances.

I was the oldest ‘parent’ in line, an hour and a half before the first performance. I realized that all the years of priding myself as immune from pointing an offspring toward my personal dreams had been a lie.

Moment of Truth

Happy Villager, Ugly Duckling and Baby Bear had a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, and demonstrated to the older members of the cast why it’s dangerous to perform with dogs or small children.

A month has passed. Friends and family have begun to speak to me again now that stage grandmother has taken her last bow.

Not entirely. I think I’ll audition for a part in a teeny theatre production.

Anything but finish my novel.