The Show Must Go On


It’s recital season and this year both of my kids were in performances. Last weekend my daughter skated in her first ice show and my son showed off his hip hop moves. He loved being on stage, especially after attending shows as a spectator for the past few years. He was the youngest in his class, and while he wasn’t as advanced as the other boys, he didn’t know the difference. And that’s not what I signed up for anyway. I don’t care how skilled he is, just as long as he had fun. And I must say his class was the highlight of the show, not that I’m biased or anything.

Tonight marked our last performance: my daughter’s dance recital. Last night was the dress rehearsal and we had the system down pat—this marked her third year with the same dance company, so I know the drill. She has tennis on Friday afternoons, but I had her skip class so there would be ample time to put on her costume and do her hair. Even after all this time I’m still working on perfecting the bun. My son wanted to watch her perform so we all headed over to the auditorium together. When we arrived I found it odd that the parking lot was emptier than in years past. I figured it was because she had a later call time.

We walked in and the auditorium was empty, and with a sinking feeling I realized we were in the wrong location.

I called up a friend of mine and she confirmed that the show was indeed being held elsewhere. As I said, this was our third recital with this dance company, but this year they relocated to a new facility. I just didn’t realize that meant the performance was being held there as well. We raced to the car but by then I knew that it was too late. We’d never make it in time, and the traffic wasn’t helping matters. My daughter burst into tears. She was inconsolable the entire twenty minute drive home. I felt terrible and while I offered suggestions, there was nothing I could do to calm her down.

I tried explaining that the goal of the rehearsal was to get the dancers acclimated to being on stage, something she is already comfortable doing. And I reminded her that she’d been practicing her routine for the past six months, so she would be just fine. I also told her the whole point was to have fun and that I was proud of her no matter what the outcome. The dramatics that ensued. She wailed how she didn’t remember her number, wouldn’t know where to go, and boy was her teacher going to be angry! I tried to rationalize with her. But anything I said was met with resistance and I realized I was fighting a losing battle.

When we got home I double checked the program guide and still didn’t see any mention of the new location. How we were the only family with this dilemma is beyond me. The only thing I can think of is that my husband ordered the tickets this year and I hadn’t yet printed them. If I placed the order as I’ve done in the past I likely would have noticed the change. My daughter finally pulled herself together (enough) to head to her friend’s birthday party. And that’s when I broke down. I think I might have scared my son a bit. But I felt like I had let her down even though it was an honest mistake. In hindsight there’s nothing I could have done differently to prevent the outcome, but I was overcome knowing I had caused her to feel such anxiety and sadness. And while I knew that she would be fine and it wasn’t that big a deal, she didn’t see it that way.

When my husband came home he said she snapped out of it once she saw her friends—and their brand new trampoline in the yard. That’s the thing about kids, most of them are resilient. I know I need to take a page from her, but I couldn’t shake my feelings of guilt and remorse for the rest of the night.

She had her performance this evening and I’m glad to say that it was a success. I’d like to think the experience was a good lesson for my kids. I told them that everyone makes mistakes, even moms and dads. It’s important to say that you’re sorry, which of course I did. I also said that sometimes there will be things you can do to make a situation right, and sometimes there won’t be. I also wanted to let them know that it’s just as important to be able to forgive. As a parent all you can do is be honest and do your best. Because the show must go on.

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