Let me start by making it clear that I have never tried out for a play in my life. I have never auditioned for a singing opportunity--though I have sung a few solos and duets, I never tried out for them (LDS congregations are highly forgiving of off-pitch soloists at church).
So to say that I was unprepared for the drama of it, I really was quite unprepared.
I hesitated to share this given the nature of the experiences, but if I can help some other unsuspecting mother out there who thinks that she, too, is supportive of her daughter auditioning. Names have been changed to protect the drama.
Because honestly, that is what it is--drama. I understand now, when people use the phrase drama to explain some steep emotional roller coaster, they are simply referring to audition-like feelings.
Here is my story... rewind three days (remember this for the ending):
Eldest daughter: What piece shall I sing?
Mother: What part do you want?
Eldest daughter: The Wardrobe!!
Live-in Auntie: How about Shy from Once Upon a Mattress? That completely fits this kind of character that you are aiming for, goofy but confident. It is perfect.
We had a great time, she enjoyed practicing, I gave her some bad advice about body language (apparently you are supposed to plant your feet and keep your hands to your side, I told her to use the stage, etc.) and in the end she did get a callback. And she worked pretty hard to get the piece down in a short amount of time.
But the callback was for Belle. BELLE! The LEAD PART! And all of her friends got really on board with her playing the lead, their own shattered hopes placed firmly upon her shoulders as one who could get the lead part.
So alas, my beloved daughter, first time around for an audition, built up a 24-hour dream that she would get the lead.
Expectancy theory gets you every time.
Was she confident? Yes, probably more than most of the other young ladies. Was she a wonderful singer? Competitive, perhaps not the strongest. Was she physically belle-like? Well.. you tell me:
(hello, time to update these pictures, sheesh!)
She has brown hair. And that my friends, is enough of a detail to make a little girl feel that all her dreams will come true.
Well, back to
After the callbacks yesterday, I asked my lovely who was the best singer and she very clearly stated that it was Rose (pseudonym, claro). Rose, she said, "shattered all my hopes and dreams." So, of course, she knew that Rose was a contender.
What she was not prepared for was Rose approaching her in the middle of the day (before the cast was listed) and saying "prepare to be my understudy" in the way that only a 5th grade girl can. Honestly, it is a great line, even if a bit cheeky. We added it to family lore of hilarious things to say when facing someone as a professional wrestler.
But the fragility of the 6th grade constitution cannot handle such comments at this tender age. I can imagine my daughter started thinking that this little girl would get her comeuppance as soon as the casting list came about and she could even start to imagine some pretty snappy comebacks.
When the final cast was posted:
You remember that my daughter was seeking the part of the wardrobe, right?
And that we picked a part that would highlight her silliness so that she could get that exact role, right?
Remember that whole expectancy theory thing?
Needless to say, she was devastated. She sobbed and crocodile tears fell as her little developing body shook in my arms.
I can't handle this story, can you?
I was a little parental at first about it, trying to talk her out of saying mean things about Rose. But I tried to remember myself at that age and decided to just validate her feelings instead of trying to make her empathetic. I lasted about 5 minutes before I tried to remind her that she had told me that Rose was the best singer (which she immediately and violently refused to admit) and that she wanted the wardrobe all along. She cried periodically throughout our conversation and tried to come up with every excuse under the sun to explain the nepotism/politics/dumb reasons why she did not get the lead role.
Interestingly, little Rose called up about an hour after said conversation and apologized. As in, my daughter got off the phone and said to me "she sounded really genuine."
Several hours later, these are the golden, beautiful words that came out of my daughter's mouth:
I am happy for Rose. I know that I said she wasn't very good earlier, but that isn't true. She was really good. I am glad I did not get the lead, because SO many girls are disappointed and that would be hard. And I think when she said that to me about the understudy, maybe what she meant was that she thought I was second best. I am really grateful to my two best friends and for my mother who helped me today.
She finished off her little soliloquy by saying "Am I a bad person? Because I was really mean earlier when I said she didn't deserve the part. She did."
My little mommy heart strings pulled so hard I thought I was going to cry again.
Thank goodness I can go to bed now, aren't you exhausted?