Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Valentine's day & the talent show

If you really loved me, you'd buy me something from my wishlist, or at least read one of my favorite books for yourself.

Valentine's Day was pretty fun this year, both because I have no romantic interest right now, and also because I attended my kid's class Valentine's day party. I was the only fourth grade father to attend a party, and did my best to ham it up, including sitting at an empty desk with an empty boardgame box (Boggle) patiently awaiting my Valentines, and various one-liners. It was also my job to distribute pizza and pop (Cherry 7-Up, since it's red), so I organized the cups into a heart(ish) shape thusly:

The kids, teachers, and other volunteers seemed to enjoy my antics, which is worth the price of playing the fool.

Friday the 17th was this year's talent show for my kid's school. She was in two acts, one with her friends doing "Do You Believe In Magic", like I talked about last post, and a solo medley of three Disney tunes that she and her voice coach have been working on. Both were great, and I recorded them with my new camcorder, and burned my first DVD with the show's footage. iMovie and iDVD both proved to be pretty painless to use to that effect.

I also ended up with two possible images of my daughter in action to replace my outdated "Action Stace" icon used on The old one was of her when she was 4:

That's been a favorite of mine for 5 years now, but she doesn't look like that any more, so it's time to move on.

A final note on the talent show: Stacey's acts went off without a hitch. The music was loud and clear, and the event was remarkably stress free. Contrast that to what happened last year, which was the final catalyst that sent me to my doctor saying "I don't want to be angry any more". Here is my journal entry from last year's talent show:

February 26, 2005

I felt rage today like I haven't felt for 10 years, and it was very liberating. It also passed quickly and didn't consume me like it would have at 23. But today wasn't about me, it was about Stacey.

Today was the talent show, and Stacey's first solo act. Grandma and Grandpa drove down from Wisconsin. The ex and I sat together and didn't fight. Stacey had a home-made Annie dress that grandma made and sent down, and an official Annie wig from one of Columbus's only year-round costume stores, and make up put on by an official teenager. Her act was well rehearsed, and she was taking it seriously, and sounding better each week. When it was her turn to perform, the spotlight came on, the song intro played, she spoke her opening dialog... And then the music died.

Trouble in the sound booth, since this was a free event and the Westerville South high school students running the sound couldn't get the music working. And Stacey stood there waiting, and looking nervous and confused. And she looked to the stage hand and turned up her hand questioningly. Of course, I thought, the suburban world that has struggled to beat all the happiness out of our lives raised another hateful fist. Of course many of the kids who Stacey thought were friends asked each other to be in duos and trios, but Stacey wasn't invited to join them. Of course since I was a parent that was not a member of the precious elite inner circle of suburban snobbery then it would be Stacey's solo act that would be the one to fail. And my beautiful daughter, who tried so hard to fit in and make friends and be a happy little girl, of course it would be her that would be crushed on her last attempt to make the world see that she was special and worth something. Of course.

And the rage came. OK, I thought, Stacey can have free reign from now on to be as destructive and anti-social to these bastards as she wants, and God help anyone who hints to me that there's a problem.

But as I said, this wasn't about me, it was about her. My rage came, but hers didn't. She waited for the music, and when it didn't come, she sang.

"I just stick out my chin, and grin, and say
the sun will come out tomorrow,
so you gotta hang on 'till tomorrow
come what may..."

My beautiful girl wasn't hurt, and knew the world wasn't trying to beat her down, and she sang her piece a cappella. She sang, and she played with the audience like her voice coach had practiced with her "Raise your hand if you believe, no truly believe the sun will shine tomorrow...don't be shy". And she sang, and she danced, and she was animated.

And they cheered. And they clapped. And they loved her. They loved my beautiful girl, who was trying to make it work, who did the best she could with what she had. They loved my girl, who was always such a better person than me. The girl that keeps me going. My Anastasia, you make me so proud.