Saturday, April 14, 2012

But can you juggle fire on torches while standing on your head?

Remember when Girl 1 didn't make the Student Council and then remember when she found out that we're not Jewish and boobs eventually stop growing?  Well, today was another one of Life's Disappointments.

A few weeks ago Girl 1 became curious about when her brother tried out for their school's Talent Show.  I thought this was unusual because Girl 1 seldom acknowledges the existence of her brother unless it's to punch him in the face after he's tortured her.  She was suddenly asking all kinds of questions such as:  What did you play on the piano again?  Did you make it?  Was it hard?  Were there judges?  To which he answered (respectively):  I don't know.  Yes.  I don't know.  I don't know.

It became crystal clear why she was so curious when I found a flyer in her backpack announcing the try-outs for the school Talent Show. 

Now, I don't want to sound cynical (but, I am), but my kids are not America's Got Talent worthy.  We don't dance, we don't sing, we don't breathe fire, we don't juggle, we can't put our legs behind our heads while eating an apple (at least I don't think we can), and we generally don't have any kind of talent that could be performed on a stage (unless people would want to see persistent and obnoxious teasing followed by hair-pulling, biting, and excessive punching). 

Boy Child performed two piano pieces during what I think might have been the school's first talent show a few years ago when there were virtually no Talent Show Rules.  He did really well and although I was like a peacock beaming with pride, my pride was dulled somewhat by the horror of having to listen to far too many girls eek out the words (off-key) to some vomit-y Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift songs. 

So, because of my vast past experience, I think I held the flyer up and casually announced, "Looks like it's Talent Show time, kids.  Any takers?" fully expecting that no one would want to do it, least of all Girl 1.  As often happens in my life, my children defied me and Girl 1 promptly and enthusiastically proclaimed, "Yes.  I am trying out.  I am doing it."

"What are you going to do?" I said (shocked, but quickly recovering).

"Piano.  I am going to play two piano pieces."

Okay.  So, I don't like to brag about my kids (in fact, when moms do that I really want their kids to immediately pick their noses and eat it), but my kids can indeed play piano.  We have taken years of painstaking lessons, practiced till mom's ears were going to burst, and now we can play us some piano.  We have won awards, been invited to Important Piano Shows (albeit not the dueling kind), traveled out of town, and other stuff that signifies (if only to me) that we are Piano Players.  (And by "we" I mean "them.")  (By the way, this doesn't count as bragging and my kids are probably picking their noses and eating it right as I type this.) 

So, I calmly said, "Okay."

I filled out the necessary paperwork and Girl 1 was assigned Thursday for her try-out period. 

It seemed that simple.  But, as you well know, nothing is ever that simple.

Tuesday before her try-out an ominous note came home that said (and I might be paraphrasing), "The talent show is going to happen during a PTA meeting (which are poorly attended, unless we have kids performing in which case there is no parking and standing room only) and since humans can only watch kids lip-sync to Taylor Swift before vomiting for two hours, we have to somehow limit the number of performers.  Due to the 6000 kids that want to be in the talent show (and the fact that we know all these kids can't have genuine talent), we are going to have a Process of Elimination." 

Now, due to the fact that sometimes Girl 1 doesn't give me notes out of her backpack (oh, the horror), I am not really clear on when all these notes came home.  So, as usual, this may or may not be fully accurate.  But, it's my blog not an FBI interrogation, so I really don't have to care about accurate facts and timelines. 

The important thing is - here's how it mostly went down after that:

All week she practiced her pieces diligently (well, kind-of).

By Thursday she had memorized the music and could play them perfectly and with no mistakes.

She left for school Thursday a happy, well-adjusted child with high self-esteem (well, as well-adjusted as you can be and still live in this family). 

Her father and I were, on the other hand, terrified.  I had explained to her that she might not make it to the finals ("What is this America's Got Talent???" were her words when I first explained the Process.  Me:  "Well, no I really don't think anyone is going to win a million dollars and go to Vegas."  Her:  "Then why do they need a process???  It's just about talent, right?"  Me:  "Well, presumably.").  But, I still wasn't quite sure she realized there was the possibility she might not make it.  This *could have been* evidenced by her giddily skipping out the door Thursday saying (slightly condescendingly), "I can play my pieces, mom.  I am prepared.  I am going to be in the Talent Show."


I picked her up Thursday and she was beaming.  I said, "How'd it go?" 

"Great.  I didn't make any mistakes.  I played really great."

"Perfect.  I am so happy."

"They are going to tell everyone tomorrow if they made it and can be in the talent show.  But don't worry!"

*Huge sigh.*

Hubby and I reminded her again that it was a process and since 6000 kids tried out and only 20 kids could make it - some of the kids were not going to make it.  Simple math......Nothing to do with talent.

Friday I picked up the kids.  She came slinking to the car, threw herself into her seat, sighed heavily, and eeked out, "I didn't make it, mom.  I'm not going to be in the Talent Show.  Only two kids in my class made it.  Only two kids in my class have talent."

There wasn't as much drama as I expected.  She was kind of resigned to the fact that doing back-flips might be more stage-worthy than playing two piano pieces with perfect precision and timing.  Hubby and I tried our best to explain why a Talent Show sometimes has very little to do with one child's actual talent.  (That was kinda similar to explaining why there is lots of food in Africa but all the people are starving.)

I can't decide whether I am happy she's weathered another of Life's Disappointments and come out on the other side, or sad because she's lost a lot little of her spunk and innocence.  She seems to have fully recovered by today. 

I am another story.  I *might* have a little anger and resentment built up inside me.  I *might* be very jealous and bitter a little jealous of the singing, dancing, juggling kids who can contort and do back-flips.  Some of the wind *might* have gone out of my sails.  Today sad *might* be winning.

Either way, we are totally spending all summer working on juggling.  And we might just start with fire.  Damn it.


Jae RachelCarlisle said...

Aww, my friend!! ((huggies!!)) Girl 1 is very talented, as are all of them! Stupid Drama Troupe teachers seem to be bent on crashing down the hopes of short peeps. I'm sorry! I truly HATE it when our children have to learn life lessons. It sucks.

Shannon said...

Ummm...Back in the dark ages when Dakota was going to that school he was in the talent show and played something on the kazoo. The theme to Star Wars I think. He practiced, my ears bled, but since I had just broken both arms riding my bike on your street I took more pain meds and left Dave to deal. Pain meds good, boys playing kazoo bad, very very bad.

jamiew said...

I think it sucks that life's lessons include lame ploys to up attendance numbers for PTA meetings.
Lesson learned: one more reason why I don't attend the PTA meetings.

Monica said...

yeah. what little faith i had left in schools talent shows has disappeared. i will await the day we can juggle fire and be on reality tv. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I think Girl 1 should learn some magic tricks. Wonderbutt can be her assistant.

Monica said...

@whatimeant2say - their dad would totally be into that. he thinks all the kids should learn magic (as a backup in case college doesn't work out).

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

Oh, that's a bummer. Have you seen the other talent yet? Just curious.

Monica said...

@leagh - not yet. i know a few of the kids that were selected and they are really good dancers and singers. i would like to go to the final show - depends on Girl 3 because not sure i want to take her.

Kristi said...

Just found your blog via BlogHer-we're in the same little circle thing I guess. Way to go, Girl 1, for being so cool about it. I often think that I want to raise my daughters with the mantra "Not everyone can be an astronaut" because hey, not everyone can...but you can still be good at things you enjoy and you can enjoy even things you aren't the best at. Right? Like ending sentences with prepositions.

Monica said...

@kristi - thanks for the read. i have read your blog, too - may have even commented (if i don't leave a comment i always feel like a peeping tom) and i like your blog. i agree with your raising kids philosophy. not everyone can be a rock star. and also rock stars need, there's always that. ;o) (i, too end many a sentence with a preposition - egad). (i also abuse parentheses.)