In three days, the curtain will go up on the 5th grade play–The Jungle Book– with my son Andrew playing Mowgli. How could I not be proud on such a wonderful occasion?! His first audition ever and he gets the lead in the show!
I’ve done my best to contain my excitement and not to go all Beverly Goldberg on him. It hasn’t been easy. I realize that I am a little bit like that dreaded stage mom.
After we found out he had the lead, I worried over how he would learn 40 plus lines in a little over a month, plus the songs and the choreography. He never had to memorize much more than a list of spelling words before. How was he going to pull this off?
“Do you know your lines?” I asked each night.
“Yes, Mom,” he said with the occasional eye roll.
“I’m here to go over them with you if you want, sweetie,” I said casually. Inside my mind was racing…dying to know how far he got in learning his lines.
“Okay!” he replied, but he never asked me to read with him. Not once. I decided not to push it.
During one parent meeting, I took the music teacher aside to ask him how Andrew was doing. Should I push harder to read with him? Does he need more practice? What can I do to help him?
He assured me Andrew was doing fine and he wasn’t worried about him one bit. Easy for him to say. It’s not his kid going up there.
About a week later, Andrew’s spring allergies kicked in big time. His watery eyes turned into a terrible runny nose and eventually a croop-like cough and then laryngitis. That’s right. LARYNGITIS! My kid can’t have laryngitis. I’m sure you know where this is going. I made a sick visit with his allergist the very next day.
I have had a few other stage mom moments. I almost lost it on my husband when he innocently suggested taking Andrew for a haircut. Was he joking? Mowgli doesn’t have a crew cut! Andrew’s hair has to be long and messy as if he actually lived in the jungle.
And then there was the time when Andrew told me play practice was fun, but he told me how he wasn’t sure if he could actually get up on stage and play his part in front of the entire school. I took a deep breath and told him it was a little too late to worry about that.
But then, there was the final straw. One minute Andrew was standing at the kitchen counter looking at a Minecraft video on his phone. The next minute, he was on the floor in tears holding his leg after tripping over the dishwasher door which was open.
I admit that my first thought was not the typical “Is he ok?”
It was more like: “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?! ANDREW, GET UP! THE SCHOOL PLAY IS NEXT WEEK! YOU CAN’T BE MOWGLI WITH A BROKEN LEG. CAN YOU GET UP? CAN YOU WALK?!”
And then after a brief moment of silence I added, “I mean…Are you okay?”
Luckily, he is fine. I just need to keep him in a bubble for the next 72 hours. A bubble that will protect him from sickness and/or injury. Did I mention he has no understudy?
I want him to do well. I want him to enjoy himself. And okay yes, I want to see his adorable face shine on the stage. This may be my only chance. Who knows if he will ever want to be in a play again and Broadway isn’t exactly knocking on our door-yet.