As April 16 and April 24 approached, my ears were assaulted with bits of nursery rhymes and pieces of songs that weren't long enough to follow.
It would have been adorable except for the repetitive nature of those out-of-context versus.
I heard them in the morning, in the car, in the living room ---- I even caught refrains from the bathtub and after bed time.
My 5- and 6-year-old daughters were both gearing up for school-sponsored productions. Their days were filled with practice and their nights regurgitating -- almost subconciously -- what they'd worked on that day.
This was exactly how they got their own TV. The hair on the back of my neck still rises when I hear the deep, goofy tones of that purple dinosaur.
The solution to this one was less expensive, but not quite as easy. The lights of the stage were calling. Only a public performance would quiet the refrains.
What's so hard about that, you ask?
Well, to start with, 5-year-old Nikki's performance was scheduled for 6 p.m. She knew it and told every person she saw, "6 p.m.!"
"For what?" they'd ask.
She'd eye me questioningly, searching for the word.
"Oh yeah! ... What's a performance?"
Getting anything done by 6 p.m. is a challenge in my house, let alone getting a child up to "performance" standard.
Just getting from work, to the babysitter and to my house is a 30-minute chore. And that's a dead run.
So, I sent her to school dressed in her best, with curls in her hair -- praying it would last the entire day.
I put a lot of faith in that prayer ---- I had no back up plan.
Against the odds, we made it on time. A little early actually. Surprisingly.
I sat there waiting, wondering if it was worth it. I mean, I heard my daughter practicing and practicing. I knew the songs. I'd seen the cute little dance. What more was there?
Well, in the strange way the universe works, it was a good thing that I knew the words, because I couldn't hear any of them. Each child, including my own, was much more interested in who was in the audience then what they were doing. Cries of "Mom. Mom! Over here," from a child who was frantically waving were heard throughout the show.
I realized, it didn't matter what I thought I knew about the performance or how they pulled it off. I wasn't there for me. I was there for Nikki and a whole bunch of other children who learned a nursery rhyme and a handful of songs for the sole purpose of singing them in front of a crowd.
Yet, despite all those other faces, there was one person Nikki scanned the crowd over and over to see.
Hours of song bits and "Mom listen .... how does it go?" faded the instant her frantically searching eyes met mine and her face lit up into a smile.
The same thing happened a week later when 6-year-old Katie pushed her duck mask aside to make sure I knew it was her underneath.
I certainly couldn't criticize all the parents there wearing proud, yet lopsided grins that only started to fade when the play ended.
I had the same look.
OK, I lied, it's not just for them. It's for me, too.