Fiona’s in there, somewhere
Last night Fiona sang in a concert with her after-school chorus and some other choruses taught by the same awesome teacher (seriously, they need to bottle this guy’s enthusiasm). She’s been talking and worrying about it for weeks, because she had a solo. Not a solo song, but eight words. The first line, actually: “She’s just a girl and she’s on fire!” That’s her solo. She was excited and nervous and asked me about a million times if I would be there, and I said yes, because this kind of thing usually falls to me. If a concert happens on a Friday evening my husband can usually get out of work early and get there, but other days are more of a crap shoot.
So, when my husband said that he could make it to the concert, I was elated – not just because it would mean so much to Fiona, but because it was my way out. I love seeing Fiona perform, but I’ve made it to every concert. And since my husband would be coming to the concert instead of going home, I couldn’t leave Jake home alone for the four or five hours we’d all be gone. Jake gets up really early for school – two hours earlier than Fiona, in fact – so staying out on a weeknight wasn’t a good idea for him. Daddy could go to the concert, Jake and I could stay home and watch it on video later. Perfect.
When I broke the news to Fiona that I wouldn’t be there (but daddy will be – isn’t that awesome?), I guess I was expecting something I shouldn’t have. I expected her to say Well, you have been to all of my concerts, and while I’ll miss you, it’s really great that Daddy will be there instead.
Um, have I met my daughter?
No, there were tears, there was pleading, there was foot stomping. There was whining about how it was her first solo EVER. I told her I’d see what I could do.
I decided what made the most sense was to go to the concert, with Jake, but sneak out with him after her solo. She seemed OK with this. And while I don’t like leaving after my own kid performs, I had the other kid to think about too. And me. Honestly, I get bored at these things when my own child isn’t on stage. Real mature, I know.
So, we got there. My husband got there. We settled into our seats, on the end of a row steps from the door. And then I looked at the program.
Fiona’s solo was in the second-to-last song. And the program was loooong.
I ran to the holding area and explained this to Fiona. I told her that we’d wanted to stay for her solo, but Jake had to get home, have dinner, and get to bed. And the tears came again. What was I doing to my daughter right before she was going on stage?
I hugged her and told her I would figure something out. I considered running Jake home, giving him a quick dinner, and racing back in time for her solo, but then I would miss all of her other songs. I also wasn’t crazy about leaving Jake to eat dinner alone and put himself to bed. Talk about forgetting one kid for another (although if given the choice, he probably wouldn’t have chosen that). And I knew I’d never get parking when I got back.
In the end we all just stayed. Fiona beamed at us every time she was on stage, which made it all worth it, and she was great in her solo. But the whole thing really bothered me. I want her to do these things because she loves them, not just for an audience of me. Plus, I have no problem saying no to most things, I really don’t understand why I couldn’t say no to this at some stage.
I don’t remember which performances my parents made it to, but I remember how I performed in every one. It was clear, though, that Fiona’s night would have been ruined if I hadn’t been there. Fiona sings, plays saxophone, and takes three different kinds of dance classes. That’s a lot of performances. I’m really hoping she grows out of this stage at some point. Because eventually, there will come a day when for whatever reason, I can’t make it.
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