The kids all being pushed and pulled into the positions for pageant rehearsal.
“Am I supposed to sit here?”
The director Amanda would say, “I still haven’t decided yet.”
She was molding the story, the action, fitting the people and the play to each other. It took a lot of different people to realize her vision.
I could see her little girl, not quite talking yet, wanting to be the star. Mommy Mommy! Me me me! But mommy had to push all the other big kids into their place, to learn their lines and hit their marks, and the toddler wasn’t the one on stage.
Which drove her over the edge.
And the people on the stage had to share the stage and perform. For this time, it was not enough to just be themselves; the show had to be created.
I was a stage mom that day. Not the first time. Not loving it. I would have like a stage. I could sympathize with the toddler.
I could see my unboundedly creative daughter struggling too. She was making nonsense words while Amanda was trying to speak and give direction. It stressed the seams of her being to have someone else being so powerfully creative while she sat.
She knew she had things to say and be, and while she was submitting to the directions she just had to add her own flavor, her own noise to the mix.
Veronica may not have had a vision right then but she had a drive. She was compelled to express herself.
Amanda not only had a vision, she had an imperative. She had taken on this responsibility, and had to put all this jumble together into a performance. It was constantly in motion too, as the little girls went tearing away into the balcony when they had the merest second to themselves.
“Girls! Come back! It’s your line! Don’t you want to be Queen?”
I remembered the chaos and excitement of the pageant rehearsals when I was a girl. Sometimes I would even have the solo.
I was in the seats this time, wishing I had planned better to have something productive to do during the wait.
There was a thickening in the air, excitement and boredom and terror. Creativity and performance sent unfamiliar juices through my little one.
And me. I wished I had a solo.
But the day dragged on, and I had to make sure she could handle it. Stay calm, sorry your head aches, here’s some water.
The recorded song was played again and again, just the one section. What is that chord progression? I wonder if I could find it.
When they were finally done, I went to the piano, and tried to find it.
Not three notes played, and Veronica pushes me aside. “I want to play!”
I just spent ALL DAY watching you, kid. Don’t I get a chance to finish an idea? When is MY moment?
I write. Writing is lonely. In writing, I am the sole creator of my universe. In the messy world of collaborative art like theater and music it’s something else altogether.
I’m not sure if I’ve figured out how to share the stage of life comfortably with my daughter. I remember Amanda was figuring out her show as she went along. She had a clear vision, the bones of it. I’ll have to be a little looser with my universe I think, or it will shatter on contact with real life.