Isabella has a sister who seems like she was born to perform. Always singing, dancing, acting. She was Mary Poppins and Dorothy Gale all in the same year. Isabella always did her own thing, not really expressing much interest in what Emily was doing. When Emily was dancing, Isabella opted to ice skate. When Emily was on the stage, Isabella was spending time create hot air balloons out of clay. When Emily was auditioning, Isabella was taking cake decorating classes. But then Isabella came home with a grin on her face and a sign-up sheet for her school’s production of High School Musical. (The spring musicale, if you will). We signed the sheets and were excited as she came home with her part: Brainiac #2. She didn’t care if she didn’t have any lines, or that she had to wear her dad’s button-down shirt as part of her costume. She attended twice-weekly rehearsals every week for the entire year. She spend days and days this past week at dress rehearsals.
On opening night, she was ready. I sat through the production with my Proud Mama Bear face on. Isabella did not stop smiling the entire time she was on stage. She was front and center singing, dancing, being a part of something awesome. Her energy was simply contagious.
It seems it wasn’t just Isabella’s sister who was born to perform.
Isabella is a performer too.
I hadn’t seen her before the show, since she had gone straight from school into a dress rehearsal and then straight into Performance #1, so I was excited to snap a shot of her in her full Brainiac costume, including fake movie theater glasses in front of the Wildcats set decoration. And then we were going to go for celebratory frozen yogurt, in lieu of flowers. When she finally emerged from backstage after the show, she was hot and sweaty and annoyed and hungry and irritated. There had been no air conditioning, mixed with non-stop dancing under stage lights. She yelled and me and started crying. She grumbled and groaned and refused to pose for the camera. So we went straight home, and through tears, slammed the door and didn’t come out until the morning. I opened her door, poked my head in and said, “You were wonderful,” and she got up and shut the door. She was mad at everyone, everything.
I was mad at her too.
I hadn’t liked her behavior at all, and couldn’t really understand why she was so upset. I felt like she had taken such a great night, a complete success, and ruined it. We had grand plans for celebrating and stuffing our faces with treats. Instead, I listened to her muffled cries as I went to sleep.
I was mad at her. But I was also sad for her.
Me: It’s almost like she doesn’t know how to control her emotions (or her mouth) when she’s overtired. Like, she just doesn’t know WHAT to do with herself.
My heartfriend, Leigh: Me neither. I so get that.
Me: I think she’s just having trouble articulating all of it, and, well, dealing. Instead she’s just yelling and screaming and grumpy and she’s totally ME. OH MY GOD SHE IS ME.
My heartfriend Leigh: You are cut from the same cloth! You know, you should let her know how much she is like you and that you totally get her.
(You should all have a friend like this.)
So I told her.
And we talked about it, and about strategies she can use when she’s feeling icky and cranky.
And then she smiled.
It worked like a charm.
She came out from backstage on night #2 happy, happy, happy. No grumps to be seen.
Last night I passed by her room, opened her door, poked my head in and said, “I am very, very proud of you Isabella” and she looked at me and said, “You know, I’m proud of me too.”