This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending my eldest daughter’s musical. I have heard that as these performances become more common, and longer, and more full of musical solos, my opinion may change, but for today, it was great.
The lead-up to this play started in early December when, much to Avery’s chagrin, she didn’t get the lead. Instead of the coveted role of "Twinkle" Avery had been resigned to "Third Grade Stargazer". If she were to have been honest this morning, I’m quite sure that her gut emotion would have been relief at the smaller role, and at 12:45 this afternoon, my gut would have agreed.
I was speaking to another parent about the show. He, like me, remembers the annual schools performance of our day being A, Christmas themed, B, in the evening and C, the most boring event you could have forced grown-ups to sit through. In all my years of St. John’s Elementary theater, I remember having exactly one line of dialogue; it was a cheeky pun involving Joshua fighting the battle of ‘Geritol’. Just a little highbrow theater for the parents and grandparents. I later went on to appear in several productions at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins with its apex being Grasshopper #2 in “Once Upon a Clothesline”.
It was different today; there was lighting, and costumes and production value. I’m not saying I’m running out to buy the soundtrack or the director’s cut or anything but it was a far cry from my school theater days. Then there was Avery, and apple that fell fairly close to her Grasshopper father’s tree. She was great. I truly believed that she was a Smart-Alec third grade stargazer. She did her lines, sang her songs, moved to the choreography. Like the other parents in the room, I was very proud. My favorite moment was at the end of the show, when the kids took a bow, my daughter beamed.
It's a pride I love seeing in her. To my experience, a lot of kids will beam like this for things both benign and manufactured. Even in my house I hear a lot of "look at me, look at me", even from Avery. But for Avery, this kind of glow is reserved for things deserving of it. Today was one of those days. Her glow was real. I couldn't have been prouder. To be honest, all of the kids were great. While I would have liked Avery to get the part, the little girl who played Twinkle was impressive, too. It was a far cry from the Third Wise Man that I had played, and day and night from the Second Wise Man, who if I am remembering correctly, had to leave the St. John's stage to have himself a vomit.
So the lesson for the girls? It's Avery's lesson, really. When you want something, it may not go 100% your way. Your soccer team may lose, you may not get an "A" on a test you study for and you may not get the lead in the school play. At the end of the day, it's what you do with the opportunities you get. You may have only got the part of "Third Grade Stargazer" but you were the best damned Stargazer you could be. You worked your little tush off and the results were obvious. To be honest, though, you were great up there, but the game was rigged. Coming from a Dad with the Grasshopper #2 acting chops that I have, you couldn't help but succeed.