I’ve spent the last several weekends attending a variety of recitals that my son is in. It seems that June is not only a month for weddings and high-school graduations, but now also events celebrating the culmination of my son’s weekly activities.
Yes, the weeks of fighting with our son to get ready to go to rehearsals, finding his tap shoes, convincing him that he wants to go and making sure he goes potty first have all paid off. He is very excited to be in his red, sparkly costume and is ready for the main stage.
Now that I have been through a few of these things I felt it important to share with you some tips on how to survive.
1. Show up early. Shocker of shockers, parents get to these things early to get a good seat. Good seats = good views = good iPhone photos = more Facebook likes from friends and family = higher feeling of accomplishment as a parent = actually thinking you are a better parent. Do the math and show up early.
2. Go to the farthest set of doors. Sometimes , though you have shown up early and have your ticket, you are still asked to wait outside the auditorium until the “doors are officially opened”. It’s in these groups outside the doors you encounter some of the worst qualities in people. There is a subtle, uneasy laughter between the parents there.
“Oh is this the line? I don’t know, we will all get a seat right hahahahahaha,. Who knows? We are all friends here and none of this matters, tee hee. We don’t need to wait in a formal line, we are adults, we can be more casual than that. Haha, great to see you too, no I’m not sure if this is a line, I guess so hahahaha.”
Yeah, those types of statements are complete bullshit. You may hear that from the other parents but in their heads, they are thinking this:
“The second they open these doors I’m going to plow over you and your 85-year-old mother-in-law because there is no way in Hell I’m letting you get a better seat than me!”
You may be thinking “Pat, no way. It can’t be like that”. But let me tell you something. I have been there and I have looked into the soulless eyes of those people and they will crush you if you let them.
Your best bet is to go past the first set of auditorium doors, and the second, and the third. Go as far as you can and you will find a door that has only a few people standing outside it. Standing in this line will get you in the auditorium faster and it won’t feel like Wal-Mart the morning after Thanksgiving.
3. Wear a watch: Let’s be honest. You want to see the 2 minutes that you kid is on stage but the 6 hours of everyone else’s kids, no so much. Still, it can be rude to keep pulling your phone out for a time check every 5 minutes so instead wear a watch. That way you can casually glance at it every time you are pressured into clapping for the other kids.
4. Buy flowers in advance: You could pay $10 for 2 carnations at the show or you could get a whole bouquet for $8 at Hannaford (you need milk and eggs anyway).
5. Take a video of your kid: At some events, you are asked not to record the performance. This is so that you don’t bother those around you, but I think it is more about getting you to buy the $40 DVD that will be made available.
I’ll break this situation up into what I do want and what I don’t want.
- What I don’t want is to pay $40 for a DVD. I can buy the all the Rocky movies on BLU-RAY for $20 I certainly don’t feel like I should be paying $40 for a dance recital DVD. Further, I just sat through a 10 hours recital and I don’t feel like paying to see it again in my home.
- What I do want is the 2-minute clip of my son, on my phone, so I can easily share it to Facebook so the grandmothers can see it.
“But Pat, wouldn’t that be breaking the rules?”
Why yes, yes it would. But what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Maybe you get a look from the parent next to you? They’re just jealous anyway that they don’t dare to take their phone out. Maybe you get asked to leave? That would almost be a reward as you wouldn’t have to sit through the rest of the performance.
6. Make sure they go potty: About half way through the performance your mind will begin to wonder.
“Did my son go to the bathroom before we left the house? Will someone backstage help if he has to go potty? Will he even ask to go potty? Oh god, what if he pees in his pants? In his costume, just before he goes on stage. OH NO! THIS IS GOING TO BE TERRIBLE! I NEED TO GET BACKSTAGE AND MAKE SURE HIS POTTY NEEDS HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! OH NO, THEY WON’T LET ME BACKSTAGE!!!!! Great I just paid $40 for a video that will have my son doing a pee-dance on stage for 500 people. He is obviously going to have an accident because it’s me and of course this would only happen to me. This is the worst possible thing that could ever happen!”
This train of thought will consume you if you let it. So make sure they go to the bathroom just before you leave the house. I also find that not letting your child drink any liquids for a minimum of 7 days leading up to the show is helpful.
7. Soak it all in: All fun aside, watching your kid perform on stage something they have practiced for months is one of the truly special moments a parent can experience. To see the pride and excitement in their face as the crowd cheers makes it all worth it.
I’m looking forward to next year’s performance all ready.