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Opening Night

I had been looking forward to this post for days.  My twelve year-old daughter is in a middle school/high school production of "Bye, Bye, Birdie," a play I did some 29 years ago when I was in high school.  I've been so eager to see the production, to share in my daughter's excitement, and to share with her my own experiences from our performances three decades ago.  And I'd been planning to write about all of this here, today.

Last night was opening night.  An hour before my daughter was due at the theater, I noticed that she looked flushed.  My wife mentioned that she'd complained of feeling tired, and that she wasn't hungry.  We had her take her temperature and sure enough she'd spiked a fever of 102.  She was heartbroken, and desperate to go anyway, and furious with us for telling her that she couldn't.  I haven't seen her so upset since she was three years old -- she was nearly hyperventilating she was crying so hard.  

There aren't words to describe how badly I felt having to disappoint her like that.  To her credit, once she had calmed down, she realized that we were right to keep her home.  She couldn't risk giving what she had to her fellow cast members.  And at 7:00, curtain time, she was so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open -- I actually had to carry her piggy-back up to her bedroom.  

Parenting is hard.  All of us who've done it know this.  We have to be teachers and friends, counselors and disciplinarians, not to mention coaches, chauffeurs, cooks, cleaners, and nurses.  But for me, nothing is worse than disappointing my kids.  Yeah, the discipline stuff sucks.  But last night was just the pits.  She didn't do anything wrong.  She just got sick.  And because of that, Nancy and I had to keep her from doing something that meant everything to her.  Strange that in exercising our authority in this way, we should make ourselves feel so helpless.

She's still feverish today, though she's down to 100.5.  Maybe she'll be better for tonight's performance.  More likely she'll have to wait for Saturday night and the Sunday matinee.  Under the circumstances two performances out of four would be pretty good.  But she'll never get Opening Night back, and I know that I feel as bad about that as she does.

Today's music:  Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny (Beyond the Missouri Sky)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Oh man, that sucks. Poor girl. I hope she feels better soon.
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jim. She's drinking juice and watching old movies, which sounds to me like the road to recovery.
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, no! Poor girl. I hope she kicks it fast so she can still perform, but eek. I feel your heartache.
Feb. 15th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, Jen. And I hope your little girl is better soon, too. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own stuff that I fail to check other blogs. I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter has been so sick and I hope that she's on the mend soon.

Best wishes,

Feb. 15th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
It's so hard...at that age, after all that work, it's just not comforting to remind them that there are plenty of Opening Nights ahead. (Been there. Done that.)
Feb. 15th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
That's one of the challenges, isn't it, Sherwood? We have the benefit of that perspective, of knowing that she'll have other Opening Nights. But to say that to her now would be to minimize her disappointment, and I'm not sure that's fair. Maybe a couple of weeks from now, when the pain isn't as raw, but I feel right now that my role is simply to listen to her and sympathize with her disappointment and acknowledge that this sucks, and she has every right to feel that it sucks.

Thanks so much for the comment. Nice to know that my instincts aren't too far off.
Feb. 15th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor baby! The flu's going around here, and our school has been hit hard. I hate she had to miss her play, and I hope she feels better very soon. I also hope none of the rest of the family catches it!
Feb. 15th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Misty. We are in Advanced Hand Washing Protocol here. Touch the sicky-wicky, wash the hands. My wife is away at a conference for the weekend, so the last thing I need is for my eight year-old to get sick, too. Or me, for that matter.
Feb. 15th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
That does suck, and there's really nothing else you could do. Hope she make at least a couple of the performances.

There will be other opening nights...
Feb. 15th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Steve. We're still hoping for Saturday and Sunday.
Feb. 16th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
bummer indeed. Give her a kiss from us.
Feb. 16th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Will do. Thanks, Cat (and Rob)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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