Last weekend our family took our seats in the lovely Admiral theater for our youngest daughter's first dance recital. I'd already dropped Cholita off in the big room backstage. She was wearing a sequined red halter-style leotard that she deemed "immodest, but pretty" (a worrisome statement from my four year-old).
I knew her dance would be right after intermission, so in the dim light of the theater, I scanned our program to see how many numbers we had before the break. I turned the page. I turned another page. There were a lot. A whole, whole lot. My teenage son was already sulking and my husband was doing that foot shake thing he does when he feels antsy.
But I still didn't see "Puttin' on the Ritz", Cholita's dance. Then I saw it. NO, they can't be serious! There were TWO intermissions and Cholita's class was scheduled after the second, with about a gazillion dances between now and then. I hadn't even given the poor girl dinner before we'd left. Realizing that Cholita would be waiting a very long time, I slipped out to be with her in the kids' waiting area. Nearly FOUR hours later, we were STILL there. By that point, our poor Cholita had rubbed off her makeup, worked her hair into a sweaty frenzy, and tossed her tutu and gloves onto the cracker-strewn floor. It was chaos back there, with numerous ballerinas in full-out tantrum mode, tutus a-flying. During those long hours, I struck up a conversation with another mom. She shared with me the story of her difficult and courageous childhood spent in a refugee camp in Cambodia. I admire this woman as someone who could obviously handle hard things, but even she looked ready to blow a gasket after about the three hour mark.
When it was FINALLY Cholita's turn, I slipped back into the theater. Lyle was fidgeting like a horse in the starting blocks and Bruder was near comatose. Even my girls had a glazed over look in their eyes.
But our Cholita was wonderful. During her two minutes on stage, she shook her little hiney in her immodest but pretty costume and made us proud. Next year, we've agreed that the boys will stay home. They've served their time.