In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Art of (Behind-the-Stage) Mothering

This week has been all about dance rehearsals.

Christa and I have spent each afternoon--except Tuesday--at the Pikes Peak Center, along with hundreds of other girls and the other "room moms". There's a lot of waiting involved. Waiting for your first number and a chance to perform on stage. Waiting again for your second number and another chance on stage. Waiting to practice the finale.

Then we pack up our blanket, books, portable DVD player, water bottles, and my editing assignments and we head home.

Today was dress rehearsal, which meant each girl was supposed to show up in costume and in makeup. It never happens that way. Inevitably, girls show up missing parts of their costume or without a trace of lipstick or eyeshadow. So I turn into a makeup artist and slather on foundation and blush and multiple layers of black, gray and purple eyeshadow. More is definitely better when it comes to performing on stage.

It's like a dancing rainbow backstage. From itty-bitty girls in blue and white tutus to more accomplished older girls who've danced for years wearing hip-hop outfits or leaotards and tap shoes, there's color, color and more color.

There's lots of chatter too. The girls talk nonstop until the ultimate mom-in-charge comes in and yells for "QUIET" and calls for the next group of girls to line up outside the stage doors.

I remind the girls to smile before they go onstage. I cheer for them out in the audience during practices. I tell them, "Good job!" when they come backstage. I hang out with the other room moms and figure out what the girls need: bobby pins, lipstick, hairspray.

This is my third year being a room mom during rehearsal week. Why do I do it? Well, the first year I felt like Christa was too young to just drop off and leave her with someone else during rehearsals. And then it became something we do together--me, her and all the craziness of practice and costumes and makeup and performance. It's a way to be involved with her life and say that what's she's doing is important to me--important enough for me to be part of it.

Sometimes mothering happens behind the scenes while your child is front and center stage--and that's the way it's supposed to be.

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