In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past. I know I’ve used similar.
The nutshell: In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays. And they were successful. They had lead roles. Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school. So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.” By the end of that year, I was a producer.
One of the best experiences of my life.
And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes. I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer. I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.
And my girls kept thriving. They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.
Then Emma got to the high school and … well. They didn’t cast her in any shows. She did other things, she was resilient. her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.
Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school. She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.
I was worried. It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated. Now, Emma has been just — amazing. She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in. She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.” Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.
But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in. Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident. She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.
I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel. I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone. With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework. One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.
After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback. She was so very excited, and really energized.
A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs. Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”). Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.” But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. (Hmpf.)
Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.
I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend. ”What if I don’t get in? I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in? I might not get in.”
I was encouraging. Reminded her of her past successes. Told her I really thought she’d get in.
Monday rolled around.
Mouse didn’t get in. She texted me, and said she was really sad. Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.
When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved. She cried (she doesn’t do that so often). She was very, very sad. I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″). I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.” I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.
That was Monday night.
Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world. She went to school, still a little glum.
I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy. I didn’t want to see her get into a funk. We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama. She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.
Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned. I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend. As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang. It was Emma. She never calls, always texts. A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR. So I freaked out. I answered the phone with “are you okay?!” First there was nothing on the other end. Then some yelling. I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??” My friend was getting nervous.
“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”
“Wait, Emma, what?!?”
“The cast list! For the musical! It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”
I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.
So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school. So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.
I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad. This was such great news for my girls. It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.
I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.
“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!” It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?
No. Jules was at an away game. Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON. Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out! You are on it!” And she [again] cried with happiness. Then she called me.
I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out. She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?” So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?” Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out! But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.
So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.
Such a happy house.