Saturday, May 10, 2014

From you I learn...

There have been so many times when my kids - through their words or actions - have taught me a lesson.  And yesterday my oldest daugther did that in a big way.

It was talent show day at her school and my dear girl had gathered up the courage to audition with a friend to sing "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen.  She was thrilled when they were chosen to perform at the big show.

And was even more excited when another friend asked her to be a back up dancer in what was chosen to be the closing number for the show. 

She practiced everyday.  She carefully chose her outfit and asked me to braid her hair so it would be "curly and beautful" on performance day.

She showed no signs of butterflies on the morning of and couldn't wait to perform.

We arrived early to get front row seats and I saw in the program that she would be 17th out of 24 acts. And so we patiently waited through the first 16 acts for her turn.

As soon as she took the stage I could tell something was wrong. I thought it was stage fright. She wasn't her usual exuberant and dramatic self. She sang with a kind of monotone and stood with her arms at the side.

And then she started to do the dance....

Every parent knows this dance well. She was shifting weight from one foot to the other. She had to pee. And she was only halfway through the song.

I felt so incredibly helpless. I know my daughter. I know that as soon as the dance starts she needs the bathroom immediately. Not in a minute or two. I knew what was about to happen and I could do absolutely nothing to stop it.

And sure enough - 10 seconds from the end of the song - it happened. She left the stage in a quick walk and I made a beeline for her.  We headed straight to the washroom.

She was in with embarassment.

"Mummy...I peed on the stage. I couldn't hold it. Did everyone see? Does everyone know?"

Oh how I wanted to turn back time.  To make it so that my girl wouldn't have to deal with any of the fallout from this.  I tried to reassure her. I told her that I was sure no one knew. I told her to wait and I would go and get her change of clothes from her cubby.  (thank god we had a change of clothes)

As I exited I saw the principal and told her what happened and begged her to clean it up as discreetly as possible. She said she would.  But when I returned with the clothes and looked into the gym there were two boys on stage with mops. So much for discreet.

I took my girl her clothes and saw she had managed to pull herself together and then she surprised.

"Mummy," she said in a very clear and determined voice. "I need to get dressed quickly so I can dance in the last number. I can't let my friends down."

And in that moment I knew she was much stronger than I had ever given her credit for. I would have run in shame. Begged to be taken home right away. There would have been no way you could get me back on that stage. But she was better than me. She had promised her friend something and she wasn't going to disappoint her.

So she dressed, washed her face and we headed back into the gym.  Where she ran straight over to her friends and waited patiently for her next performance.

And she nailed it. Smiling and dancing and performing like nothing had happened.

It was one of my proudest mummy moments. And much to my joy I realized when I got back that most people didn't realize what had happened.  They all thought she felt sick from nervousness and ran to the bathroom because she was going to be sick.  And because the mops didn't come out until two acts after her most people didn't even connect it to her.

After the concert ended the principal told her how proud she was of my girl getting back up on stage and bouncing back.  And we all echoed her thoughts. And I told her that if anyone had noticed and said something that she should brush it off.  And we agreed that she would make sure to use the bathroom before any future performances. 

I still don't know if there will be any fallout from this...time will tell if she will be branded as the "girl who peed on stage at the talent show." But I know we can deal with anything that comes.

And honestly I'm just glad this happened in grade 2...and not high school.

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