Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Avenue Q

Jessie loves musicals, hence her passion for the Glee TV show. And she loves “product,” hence her collection of t-shirts, albums, and posters from everything from Singing in the Rain and Shirley Temples’s Bright Eyes to Rent, and Wicked. She also happens to have some friends who love musicals almost as much as she does. So the three tickets I managed to get at a discount price for the Broadway show Avenue Q—currently on its North American tour—were a great coup and a highly-anticipated end of school/beginning of summer treat.

Before leaving for LA, Dan reminded me to make sure that Jessie took out money to be able to buy a souvenir from the show. We had been to too many shows and events where we didn’t bring enough money (and Jessie forgot to bring her own) for a t-shirt or other smartly marketed merchandise—I swear they only take shows on tour to sell that stuff—and had to negotiate our way through a Jessie meltdown. This time I made sure to write it on every calendar and to do list (I have many, but don’t assume that means that anything actually gets done) floating around the house. And I actually made a point to squirrel away $20 (just in case, and to add to whatever amount Jessie had saved) in the envelope with the tickets.

Showtime arrived. I drove the girls all decked out for their night on “Broadway”—the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa. They were singing, they were excited, they were ready for a show! Jessie checked to make sure she had money. Decided not to buy a drink or a snack at the fancy café before the show just so she would be able to buy whatever item she desired to remind her of this special night, this special show—a loopy Sesame Street kind of guide to adulthood.

At 10:30 the phone call came. To pick them up. I can hear a crowd . . . and . . . is that tears? Please! NOT tears!? “Mom! There are NO souvenirs!” Sigh. We go to all this trouble to actually remember the money and there is no merchandise? What kind of operation is this anyways? It’s not bonafide American Broadway without merchandise. I want my money back! Or at least somebody to tell me why we can never quite successfully avoid a meltdown.

You see, Jess wears her heart on her sleeve. And when that heart gets set on things going a certain way, and they don’t, it breaks. Out loud and in public. Sometimes it is a trait of hers I admire. Sometimes not. This being able to roll with the punches is a quality we’re still working on: its called resilience and there are books and research papers and even websites about it. I just want to know if you can buy it, over the counter, and inject it in your children. The funny thing is, there is so much that she IS resilient to (or has at least survived with her spirit intact, which is, I think, a definition of resilience), like years of having to fight to be included in school and managing the social minefield of the playground and high school hallways.

What does seem to work is a liberal dose of commiseration and letting her cry or express herself however she wants without shutting her down. A bit of a challenge for me! Especially in public places. (Hmmmm, what is it with me and public places?)

But by the time I swung by to pick them up she had recovered. And was singing, loudly, with the girls, all the way home:

The Internet is really really great
For p_rn!
I’ve got a fast connection so I don’t have to wait
For p_rn!
There’s always some new site
For p_rn!
I browse all day and night
For p_rn!
I’m surfing at the speed of light
For p_rn!

Its going to be a long summer.

No comments: