Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Backstage Mom

This past year, Kaela decided to leave the world of gymnastics and enter the world of theater.  We weren't sure how our "quiet Kaela" would do on stage, but we soon found out she transformed into a confident actress who can actually speak loudly!  Her first play was "Honk!" a musical which included speaking, singing, dancing, costume changes, and a lot of coordination.  Kaela's main part was Penny the Swan who helps Ugly (the ugly duckling) to realize he is indeed a swan.  She also played multiple other parts throughout the production.  The first time we saw her in action I almost didn't recognize her--she was totally confident, no stage fright whatsoever....and she was clearly in love with acting.  I had a lump in my throat at how much older she looked in stage makeup and grown-up costumes--and how she just oozed confidence. 

Various moms had been helping during dress rehearsals, and I was signed up for the actual performances.  But the first night I was backstage, Kaela kept trying to usher me out--she wanted another mom to do her hair, and one of the older girls to do her makeup, and she kept asking when I was going to go sit in the audience.  I finally asked her "Don't you need me to help you?"  Guess what the answer was?  "No mom, I'm fine. I know just what to do."  So I focused on one of the younger actresses while still using my mother-one-eye-technique to watch her in secret and observe her being independent, and confident, and mature, and.....grown-up. 

Sigh. My little girl doesn't need me. Make that a sniff, not just a sigh.

The dressing room lights went down, the stage lights went up, the music came on.....and out she went, smiling with that oozing confidence again.  As the performance went on--and she finally realized I wasn't going to do anything to screw up her routine!--she would sit on my lap backstage, and whisper to me which scene was coming next, and ask me if her hair looked alright before she went on.  Then the next night, she wanted me to do her hair and help with her costume and do her makeup.  And she asked if I could work backstage for the next performance also, and all of the upcoming performances too.

Little did Kaela know, I signed up for backstage help so I could directly observe--and shield from, if necessary--what my daughter was being exposed to in this new theatrical world.  Oftentimes, the green room games amongst the older teenagers would be "Truth or Dare" or "Would You Rather".  There were also pre-performance "Energy Circle" activities intended to get all the actors and actresses focused for the performance. There was one teenager who repeatedly made sure everyone knew he was an atheist.  As parents, we try to protect our children from unwanted influences--but at the same time we recognize that we can't be with them every minute.  So I used these encounters as conversation-starters and asked Kaela what she thought of the things some of the others participated in.  For the most part, she was completely naive and honestly had no idea of some of the intentions.  She also simply chose not to participate in most of them, and played card games or drawing games with some of the others. 

Also.....this was a co-ed dressing room--and there were a high amount of costume changes.  The girls had been asked to wear camisole undershirts and white leggings under their costumes, which remained in place during all their costume changes.  But I noticed two of the older teenage boys did not--and were often seen strutting in front of the mirrors in only their boxers, with no apparent reason in my opinion.  So I was faced with a moral decision as a parent--I could simply accept it as "part of the world of theater" or I could not.  Sure, it was harmless--they weren't trying to come on to any of the girls, and if anything they were trying to impress each other.  But I saw no reason for my 10 year old to be exposed to 17 year old boys in their underwear.  So I talked to the assistant director and asked if the boys could please do their full-costume changes in the bathroom, or in one of the nooks in the dark dressing room.  Thankfully, the director respected my request and changes were made the very next performance.  Some of the teenagers inadvertently commented backstage that they didn't see why everyone couldn't just dress in front of each's just theater after all.  But despite the murmuring and complaining, I felt convicted it was my job as a parent to manipulate my child's environment whenever it was possible.  To my knowledge, none of the kids--not even Kaela--knew I was the one who instigated the change.  For the rest of the performances, I made sure I was quietly steer her toward card games, to ensure appropriate costume changes, and I even taught the older kids new green room games that didn't involve Truth or Dare. 

Turned one liked Truth or Dare anyway.

Proverbs 4:20 & 23
My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year, New Blog

I don't know what this whole "Spring Fever" concept is about, because I always get "January Fever" every year.  After all the crazy December schedules, junk-food indulging, feasting on big meals, and vacationing, I am always ready to start cleaning out closets in January.  So Blog got a clean-out, start-over, makeover too!  Check out the left side where we have family bios and pictures. On the right side, Blog now shows a few family videos from You Tube (sadly I'm WAY behind), and some nice music while you read.  Of course you'll have to pause the music if you want to watch a video at the same time!  There's also an archive of all past blogs. (Yes--when I first started, I was much more faithful at writing posts more often!)  My grandma keeps a binder of all the blog entries printed out from the very beginning--this helps remind me to keep the blog updated since she loves to read them and she's not exactly a computer-kind-of-grandma.  It's so full we're going to have to start a new binder makeover too! 

So in the spirit of clean-up, here's a wrap up of our favorite 2012 moments:

Bryan's birthday
Family game night (watch the video here)
School trivia night
Graeson taekwondo yellow belt
Home Depot and Lowe's kid workshops

Kaela cheerleading
High Desert Museum
Kids cooking (click here for more cooking stories)
Bryan San Francisco youth group trip
Indoor swim lessons

Bryan and Jill retreat in Sunriver
Riding the public buses (click here for that funny story)
Peterson Rock Garden
Graeson soccer
Visit from Laurel and Keira

Easter in Klamath Falls
Maezie's preschool princess party
Kaela gymnastics performance
Graeson taekwondo green belt
School carnival
(more on April catch-up click here)

Sunriver Nature Center
Mother's Day
Heart Focus camping (video from the year prior....2011)
Maezie's preschool graduation
Hiking at Smith Rock
Kaela's wax museum
Graeson's Miss Rumphius

Maezie's early birthday party
Kaela outdoor school
Erin's college graduation
Klamath Falls Gems baseball game
Father's Day (click here for what we love about Daddy)
$1 movies at the theater
Kaela's half birthday
Tumalo Falls

4th of July pet parade and festival
Kaela's first play "Honk!" (for the storyline of Honk! click here)
Family camping at Beverly Beach
Balloons Over Bend
Graeson taekwondo Demo Team
Floating the Deschutes River
Kaela and Graeson get baptized in the river

Jill and friends walk Haulin Aspen half-marathon
Lunch, books, and crafts in the park
Compass Church Adventure Days
High school camping
Maezie's 5th birthday (click here for Five Year Old Logic)
Munch and Movies in the park
Dee Wright Observatory and Skylight cave
Bend Elks baseball game
Obsidian hunting

First day of school (three kids at same school!)
Graeson flag football
Mountain View High football games
Drake Duck Race
Bend Day of Play
Jill's birthday
Graeson taekwondo high green belt
Kaela making a commercial (watch the funny video here)

First Friday art walk
Fall Festival
Bryan and Jill weekend in Portland
DD pumpkin ranch
Graeson taekwondo tournament
Trunk or Treat
Financial Fasting (click here to jump over to our other blog)

Graeson's 8th birthday
Family weekend at Eagle Crest
Thanksgiving in Bend (click here for 100 Thankfuls.....or just scroll down)
Bryan runs I Love Pie 10k race
Graeson taekwondo blue belt

Kaela's second play "It's A Wonderful Life"
Kaela's school Christmas program
Graeson's taekwondo & Maezie's gymnastics holiday show
Maezie's school Christmas program
Kaela's 11th birthday (click here for last year's 9.99)
Christmas in Bend
After-Christmas in Klamath Falls at Running Y