Monthly Archives: December 2012

Post-Show Depression

Standard

Well, the musical is over, and it was a huge success. Emily loved it every bit as much as I expected her too, and more. She’s definitely a natural actress, and her voice noticeably improved with all the practice & training. She has caught the theater bug, without a doubt.

On Saturday, after the cast party between the afternoon & evening shows, the director called the parents aside and talked to us about a phenomenon called Post-Show Depression. Basically, post-show depression happens because you spend a ton of time (almost all of your time) together with these people – other actors, directors, musicians, stage crew – you’re together nearly every day, for long hours, for months. And then suddenly, you’re not.

And the time you spend with these folks is an emotional one – you have to open yourself up to act –to get into character, so the people involved for an intense bond. I’ve experienced it myself, and I knew that Emily, being the heart-on-her-sleeve-type like me, would probably go through it too. But I was unprepared for how fast it happened and especially unprepared for the intensity of it.

Every show, I got a little teary (between the already somewhat teary/uplifting theme of the show, gorgeous music, and yes, uncontainable pride in my girl, it was inevitable), and Sunday – being the last show – I was feeling a bit more emotional, because I knew she would be sad that it was ending (and honestly, I was a little sad, too. I really enjoyed the experience, even from a spectator’s position).

So after the curtain calls, while they sang the lovely finale song, I was fighting back tears. And then I looked up and saw Emily trying her best to do the same. She was singing her heart out & the dam broke – she was full-on crying. By the time we caught up with her backstage, she was sobbing (as were some other folks – both children and adults). She went around hugging everyone (particularly her “stage family” – a college senior father, high school mother and younger brother, all of whom she absolutely adored), and we went to dinner with a big group of family members.

By the time we got to the restaurant, she had calmed down and she was able to enjoy her celebration. But once we got home, without all the noise and activity of the big family, away from the music and lights and mayhem, she just…broke.

She cried and cried. She grieved for the “family” and friends she would never see again (there’s a good chance she will see some of them again next year – though not her “father,” who she loved the most and is graduating this weekend). She lamented how she hated when she went back up to the stage and they were already breaking down the set (after all, it was practically her “home” since October). She told me again and again how she would miss them, miss the show, miss every single minute of her experience. There wasn’t a thing I could do for her, but lay with her in bed & hold her until she fell asleep, hours later.

Yesterday, she stayed home from school, because she was so exhausted. She cried a little on and off, but it got better as the day went on. And today, she’s pretty much back to normal, with just a bit of sadness that’s just under the surface that will turn into a good (and maybe a teeny bit bittersweet) memory. And today, when she was telling a family friend about the show and about how sad she got when it was over, the friend asked if it was a good thing – if it was worth getting sad over and her response was a resounding yes. She can’t wait to do it all again.

xmas1          xmas3

xmas2

Lose/Lose Situation

Standard

There is a phrase that strikes terror into the heart of every parent – that phrase is “I’m sick” (or its bitter, evil twin, “I’m hurt”).

Now of course, the terror first comes from a good place – the “I want my kids to always be healthy” place. But then that passes and real terror begins. The terror of knowing that no matter how we react to hearing that phrase, we are going to come out of it looking like The Worst Parent Ever.

I’m not exaggerating here – the very second your child utters those words, your parenting goose is cooked, carved, and served with a side of idiot sauce.

It starts when your child is sick. Or claims to be sick. Or is acting sick. Or might possibly be sick. You are now enrolled in the impassable parenting class, “Guessing 101: Drama vs. Infirmity.” Yes, I said impassable. No one can pass this class. OK, maybe if you have a really non-dramatic kid you might be able to squeeze out a D-minus. But the rest of us? F! If your kid has even a slightly dramatic bone in their body, you, my friend, are screwed.

Let me give you some examples:

Example 1: Kid claims to hurt her ankle/wrist/knee playing soccer/dance/cheer. Your choices are to:

A) Tell her she’s fine and deal with it, or

B) Take her for an x-ray.

If you choose A, it’s pretty much a guarantee that she will have a broken bone and you won’t know until you finally give in to her whining and default to B, at which time you will look like the worst mother ever: You fail! F!  If however, you choose B outright, you will take the child to be x-rayed, be told she is fine, then given a bill for $1650.00: You fail! F!

Example 2: Kid tells you he’s sick. You can:

A) Keep him home from school, or

B) Tell him he’s fine and send him to school.

If you go with A, he will have knocked over several pieces of furniture, threw a football into the Christmas tree and chased the cat up & down the hall 375 times in the 5 minutes since the bus went by: You fail!  F!  Choose B and he will go to school and barf on everyone: You fail! F!

Do you see what I mean? YOU CAN’T WIN!  No matter how you react to their possible injury/ailment, you are screwed!

And I imagine you are expecting me to give you some sage advice on what to do in these situations, but I have none. I just wanted to let you know that we all go through it and that I plan on bringing snacks to the Parent of the Year Awards Ceremony. Sit by me.