Monday, August 29, 2005

dress rehearsal is over

Opening day for the first full week of school. One half-day read-through, two dry run-throughs, a weekend long dark-out, and today they are off on their first year-long run, stage lights up. It is quiet backstage…

The cast has been assembled since July, but parts were not assigned until the players arrived. The Funny One, The Pretty One, The Loud One, and The Fast One were all cast by the end of the two-and-a-half day week. I’m waiting to get my playbill to determine how my daughter has been cast. There is anxiety in the waiting. There may not be another casting call this year—I hope the role suits her.

The Pretty One will be played this year by Madeleine. Golden-skinned with long, sandy hair and soft, heather-green, gold-ringed eyes, she has already smitten Kyle, The Funny One, who has pledged her his undying love by proclaiming to six or so children in hushed, dramatic tones on the playground that she is his “girlfriend.” He will have to take this up with Pak, who has already similarly pledged to marry her, as that could get complicated. The Tough One will by played by Alyssa, who the Director has placed next to my daughter in the classroom scene. I’m hoping this scene will be reblocked very soon. The Quiet One sits catty-cornered from my daughter, next to Taylor, The Rambunctious One. The one that ran over and picked my daughter up around the knees on the first day of school, nearly sending them both to the black-top in their freshly-pressed uniforms and squeaky-clean Mary Janes. The One That She Doesn’t Talk About sits catty-cornered in the other direction, making for an even six when you count The Funny One. (Who probably should not have been sat next to my daughter, The Giggling One.)

I suspect my daughter is in the running for The Fast One, or at least the alternate or understudy. After soundly beating Dominic—her race-running arch-rival—last year at field day not once but twice, she seems like a shoe-in for the role. It is one I would be much more comfortable with—so much better than The Talking One or The ADHD One, or The Difficult One, to name but a few that have crossed my mind. If I were directing, and I am reminded daily that I am NOT, I would cast her as The Enthusiastic One. Lots of jumping and woohoo-ing and smiling—but The Fast One would be okay.

The twelve-year-old cast as her Teacher appeared tentative of her role, but is growing more confident with each very, very long day. Her smile is infectious, and is especially cute when coupled with the deer-in-the-headlights look she wears from time to time. Warm and engaging, you can’t help but like her, once you get past the fact that a twelve-year-old is teaching your daughter’s most important year of school. But I’m assured that she is a very competent twelve-year-old, and I remind myself that everyone starts from the same place and we all had to have our first role to receive our second. I will try to let the Director do his job and I’ll do mine.

And so, I find myself a Stage Mom. Fifteen years removed from high school and college theater, and it is still, apparently, in my blood. I am uncertain what this role is supposed to look like, but so far, I mostly just hang out with the other Stage Moms and do things like go out for breakfast and volunteer in the cafeteria, trying to keep my mind on opening packages and wiping tables instead of the contents of my daughter’s lunch box or whether or not she’s bleeding yet on the playground. I hope the role will become clearer in time, and that I will have the opportunity to grow into it, making it more uniquely mine. I’ve never been one to be in the chorus or back stage—I’d love to work out a little cameo role here and there. Something short and sweet and a bit of a scene-stealer, if only to share the stage with my daughter for a scene or two.

Unfortunately, though, I’m still having difficulty taking direction. That will undoubtedly work against me. On her first full day, for example, my daughter asked to be dropped off out front. Dropped off, out front. After some quick thinking, I complied with her request, then, feigning calm, pulled around to the back of the building, parked my car, carted out my two-and-a-half-year-old, and stood wiping tears at the edge of the play-ground with all of the other first grade Stage Moms. I tried to do my part, to drop her off and go. But I don’t like my part. I don’t want to be Stage Mom. I want to be the Director. I want to call the shots and block the scenes and arrange the fresnels so that my daughter is always seen in the very best of lighting.

It’s funny, isn’t it? I used to want to be the leading lady. Now my daughter is center stage, and I’d be content if I could only direct.


Erin said...

love this Lorie. not something I can really relate to, I just love the way its written. I read it to Collete, here at work, and she said you should submit it to a parenting magazine. I agree!

lorie said...

Thanks, Erin! I was commenting to someone, forget who, that I've noticed that most of the people who comment on my posts are folks who are married without kids, so I get the most comments on the stuff I write about marriage. I started feeling like I was alone and no one could relate to the parenting thing! But then my "mom friends" started saying things to me in person, so I guess they just don't have the time to comment!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Nancy L (formerly C) said...

Hey, Lorie,
I'm one of your 'mom friends' although my kids are well past the first grade. I have one who was The Talking One and one who was The Quiet One. Funny how 2 boys with the same parents can be so different!
This really is something you should submit to a parenting magazine. It's a wonderful view on something we all go through!

krista said...

Oh my goodness Lorie....
What is exploding out of my computer screen? It's beautiful! If your words were a dance partner, I'd be jumping up and down in pain as I knocked into all the crap that's in my computer room attempting to keep up.
HOW REAL are you??? You Velveteen bunny you? You are sooooo gifted, HELLOOOOOOO out there.....LORIE'S GIFT OF EXPRESSION IS AMAZING!!!!!
Another vote for a parenting magazine... or better yet... Good Morning America... Regis and Kelly....
I am blown away that you have my blog on your list. Humble pie here!
Love you!

lorie said...

Aw, shucks, guys! You're going to make me blush!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

i'm sooo sending this to my friends. i LOVE the way you write. can you put all these into a coffee table book :D -christina