Saturday, 21 August 2010
"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once"
It is the end of the year and we are heading to summer vacation. So my weeks have been pretty full with meetings and planning. I have to get things set for next year AND at the same time figure out what I am going to do with the herd for twelve weeks this summer. Twelve very long weeks. Eighty four days. Two thousand and sixteen hours. As you can see, I have been dreading giving it quite a bit of thought. But, I try and pace myself. I figure that I'll think of something when the time comes. But for now, I'm just busy trying to do all the things that the end of the school year requires me to do. One of those things is seeing my kids perform in various school plays.
Musical performances at my children's school are a wonder to behold-and I don't mean that in a good way. (If you are new to my blog, I have written about my children's music teacher here and here. ) Last Thursday, Oscar was performing in the third grade dirge production. I'm not quite sure what the title was, but it had to do with paintings and..well..slavery. I don't know, but those two topics just don't scream "Musical!" to me..But hey, I can be jaded and cynical..I know that..So I cast aside my doubts and went with an open mind.
I did have some scheduling conflicts on that particular day. I don't know if it was self preservation or choosing the lesser of two evils-but I had scheduled a two and a half hour dental appointment for that morning. Totally forgetting about Oscar's concert. Thankfully,(or not) I was done with the dentist in just enough time to make it to Oscar's performance. This was the first time he had ever asked me to be there. "Mama! Will you come see me on stage?" "Mama!!!! This is the first time I'll be on stage!" "Mama!! I get to wear a cape!" "Mama!!! Will you be there?" How could I miss it?
As I walked in to the multi-purpose room (feeling as though the right side of my face was six feet long and draped upon my shoulder) Oscar called out to me-from the stage.
He is still young enough to not be embarrassed by me. "Mama!..You're here!!!" I waved..he hopped....and kept hopping for a good ten minutes. I hope he is always as thrilled to see me-even when he is older and is too cool to outwardly acknowledge it. I stayed in the back of the room. I have trouble sitting still and always feel more comfortable standing. It also gives me the option of escaping leaving quietly if the need should arise. I had Zoe with me, and she doesn't like crowds. (Although she did dress for the occasion in a purple boa and sunglasses.) So I thought it best that I stand by the door.
Before I go on...I have to explain something. I had just come from the dentist-a place that gives me horrendous anxiety. My anxiety is so palpable that the dentist prescribed Valium for me. So when I arrived at the performance...the Valium was in full effect. Thank god.Because I was standing in the back, I did not have a program for the show. I did not know the titles of any of the vignettes being performed. So I'll just give you a brief synopsis of what went on. The first scene featured a group of children with white pillowcases miming picking cotton while everyone sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". Far be it from me to criticise..but does anyone else see the sheer weirdness of this? White children (there were only two kids of mixed ethnicity in the entire show-one was Oscar) re-enacting slavery? Yes, teaching about that sad chapter in our nations history is important-but this..this was bizarre. Oh and it only got worse..The next vignette featured children posing like(I think) the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware.
Each child (it felt as though there were thousands) stepped up to a microphone and in crystal clear monotone mumbled.. something-couldn't begin to tell you what-only that it went on for what seemed like an eternity. I for one, was ready to start collecting social security by the end of it...Next was the Native American story..or what I fondly call "Riot at the Thorazine Clinic "in which one boy whispered about being happy and joyful (again in monotone) while a bunch of kids shuffle"dance" around him.
Oh what a time we had. I could just imagine the N.Y. Times review "Exhausting!" writes Leonard Malton "A treat for the comatose!" It was truly that awful. I didn't think it could get any worse..until we got to the story of the runaway slave. Once again we have a child (wearing overalls with the prerequisite one strap hanging off) skulking about the stage attempting to get to the underground railroad. This would have been fine until they brought out the "captured slaves". Yes, while our hero is hiding, he watches people march by with two captured "slaves" between them. Only they weren't people..(yes, I understand that they weren't going to tie some kids up) instead, they were what appeared to be giant life sized gingerbread men with ropes around their necks. Only without the icing.
At this point, I had had it. Gingerbread men!!! I was shaking trying to contain my laughter..tears were leaking out my eyes..and what was worse was that I was the only one reacting this way. Was it the Valium? Or was it just me? I did notice though, that when the lights came up, people seemed overly eager to get out of there.When Oscar came home later, he asked if I had seen him. I said " Uhh.. you waved at me remember?" "Oh that's right.." "So Oscar, you have done a lot of work learning about slavery.." "Slavery?" "Yeah bud..isn't that what your show was mainly about?" "Oh....did you see the gingerbread men?" Phewww...so it wasn't just me. Sigh... Only three weeks till the next "concert" Sammy will be performing in his last concert at this school. On to middle school for him. And hopefully a different music teacher. I'm just wondering if I can somehow manage a dental appointment that morning?