If you tell me you love going to see kids' recitals, concerts, plays, and other spring performances, I won't believe you. Of course the part where your kid is on stage is amazing, because look at him/her! Up there doing his/her thing! But watching all the other kids? You can't tell me that isn't boring. Here's what I tell myself to get through it.
1) We are there to recognize the teachers and afterschool instructors who have not walked off the job. I can't fathom how the strings instructor at my son's school gets 150 third graders onto the violin, viola, bass, and cello every year. If he had a nervous breakdown, it doesn't show.
2) It's important to support the kids. Especially the clumsy ones. There's always a dancer who, you can tell, hates being up there. So clap-clap for her, and let's hope her mom shows mercy and pulls her out of tap next year. And what about a soloist who cracks at the last minute? Is there anything that makes an audience feel worse? We clap because, damn, that kid made it through maybe one of the worst events of their childhood, and surely life will get better from here.
2 ½) Also: If there's a kid who is worse than your own, you can feel less anxious as you sit in the audience. Your stomach full of butterflies subsides as you realize your kid probably won't be that bad.
2 ¾) OK if your child is that bad, I've been there. It's usually nothing that a trip to the ice-cream store can't fix. For both of you.
3) Going to these makes you feel like a parent. When you are watching the eighth group of tiny gymnists struggle to execute forward rolls, sometimes you need to stop and appreciate that you have only a decade or two of your life witnessing this stuff. Just don't let your gaze graze the audience to find all the grandparents. Are they seriously sitting through all of this again? Does that mean all of us are doomed to a second round with our grandkids?!
4) Sometimes I just zone out.
5) We're really each there to support our own kid. You know the saying about "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?" I think for kids, if at least one relative is not in the audience, it's as if the performance maybe didn't happen. At least that's how it was for me when I was little. So it's important to attend.
6) I can not believe how many of my majorette performances my mother sat through. Maybe this is all just some big Karmic circle.
7) At least these shows make for cute pictures. But OMG, please don't let my Facebook and Instagram friends post more than like three pictures or videos. The preshow snaps of little girls posing like grownups in insane costumes count. When I say three, I mean three pictures related to the entire event! Do not force me to relive this over and over!
8) Summer is almost here.
Jessica Hartshorn, the Entertainment Editor at Parents, is set to be entertained this week with two school concerts and one piano recital.