First there's photo day, where the dance studio is crowded with sequins attached to adorable little wiggle worms with painted faces from their mom's make-up stash, looking up at all the grown-ups, wondering why all of them look frazzled and proud and on the verge of losing it all at the same time. The volunteers inside whose tone threatens a fight if you put one more child in line without that wretched orange paper. (Never mind the poor parent volunteer responsible for handing out said paper, not alphabetized, by herself, to a thousand parents looking at her just as threateningly.) It's a party, let me tell you.
Dress rehearsal is better, that is if you're not a show mom. (Yes, of course I volunteered. I have a problem, okay?) I came prepared, with my backpack of snacks and activities, checking kids in downstairs only to find out we should be upstairs. Going upstairs for 20 minutes, then being told that now we should take all the kids downstairs. (Side note: I'm not completely insane. I signed up for Harper's fully potty-trained class of 7, rather than the 11 three-year-olds in Kinley's class. Now that's using your noggin.) And trust me, the stage hands are just as ruthless as the photo day volunteers. They are like drill sergeants, and the show moms are the lazy recruits who have no clue what's going on, even when we really do. Make no mistake...the kids aren't the only ones who rehearse. As a show mom you also get to rehearse your duties for a month in dance class prior to recital week. (Even those of us carrying a 14-month old on our hip who is suffering from separation anxiety and wondering why in the world he can't just be asleep in his crib right in the middle of naptime...every Tuesday.) And looking back on the dress rehearsal, I'm still not sure if we were supposed to have the kids downstairs or upstairs for pick up. We ended up doing a little of both and got in trouble for taking up the next group's row in the auditorium. But all the kids got picked up by the correct parents, so win. Right?
Now add in...
...the crappy bows I made a couple of weeks ago, which were such a mess after being worn even one time (now I know to never use wire ribbon...who knew?) that I really did owe it to the kids to remake them...the night before photo day.
...the hole in my foot from my dangerous bookkeeping job.
...the amount of work on my desk the 3 days I worked this week. A day in the life of summer camp workers in summer, there's plenty there for a post of its own!
...the cake I made for Harper's Pre-K graduation, Thursday night after the morning dress rehearsal and the afternoon on a golf cart, going between both stores on camp solving cash register crises.
...trying to pick up a giant popcorn machine, load it into my car, then unload it at the school all by myself, because every guy I know, including my husband, is working like a dog making summer camp happen.
...and graduation. By far the least stressful and most enjoyable event of the week apart from the recital Saturday night.
...oh, and let's not forget the 5 hours this week I spent on hair.
Friday night I'm a show mom. It starts with 4:45 check-in (downstairs). We pass out snacks, we take kids on potty breaks, we fix costumes and hair. One kid asks about 100 times "how much longer?" Another one says, "see that boo boo on my foot? It's ringworm." And at least half of them were very concerned that their lipstick needed to be refreshed after the obscene amount of cheese puffs I fed them to keep them happy. (They're 5-year olds if you're wondering...)
It's time to take them upstairs. Choo-choo train fashion as we've been instructed, only one of the kids doesn't want her shoulders touched. Then standing in the wings we turn them facing the audience holding hands (we show moms really know our stuff!) but another little one refuses to hold hands, making the girl beside her, aka my daughter, start to cry. They go on stage, all 7 of them, and smile and perform wonderfully! We take them to line up for the finale...more tears from my exhausted, very sensitive Harper. The curtain goes down, lights off, and then a mad dash from us show moms with our flashlights trying to find our 7 dancers in green amidst the sea of about 100 sparkly children.
Friday night I slept like a rock. When I got up with Foster Saturday morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I'm not kidding.
Harper had a play date scheduled, which I cancelled. And gloriously, all 3 kids took a nap in the afternoon at the same time!! The sitter for Foster showed up at 4:30, I took some pictures (just a few...), checked the girls in with the other show moms, sympathy written all over my face, and went into the auditorium to sit. (sigh of relief)
The recital was excellent! (There's a reason those drill sergeants are back there, let me just say...) Kinley danced some, did a lot of twirls that weren't choreographed, played with the bow on her dress, and decided to make an early exit after her curtsy, staring at the other kids as she walked by as if they were crazy to still be standing there after the music had clearly stopped. It was perfectly adorable. Harper was towards the end, and after an incredibly long wait, she and all her classmates entered the stage with beautiful smiles on their faces. (I applaud you Saturday night show moms, job well done!) She knew all her moves and did such an excellent job!
After the show we gave them flowers, took more pictures, were greeted by the awesome Pre-K teachers who had flowers for my girls and the other Primavera school dancers, and then went out for celebratory milkshakes at In-N-Out with Nana and Harper's teacher Miss Brooke, both of whom we simply adore!
The whole week was worth it. I love seeing my girls doing things they love, and knowing that these moments help shape them. They may not grow up to be dancers, and Kinley probably won't even remember this weekend, but they're constantly learning...learning who they are, what they like and don't like, who they want to be. And we as parents are learning, too. In addition to dance, next year each of them will do an extra activity: Harper wants to be in Daisies and Kinley wants to 'be a soccer star.' I love hearing who they want to be when they grow up, and it's kind of fun not knowing yet who they will actually become. Harper usually says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. (When I hurt my foot, she burst into tears at the sight of it, but then got the band aids and doctored me up!) But when asked at her graduation what she wanted to be, she said a Rockstar. If only she knew, in my book, she already is.