Yesterday marked the culmination of MLM's school's Annual Day function, after nearly a month of practising and God only-knows what kind of experiences for the faculty and staff.
I was thoroughly tickled to find out that he was going to play a Gummy bear and that too in costume. Since Gummybears have been watched and devoured by me and my ilk since our school days, it was an amusing notion that the offspring was going to be one for his debut performance.
Till the time we sat in the venue, it never occured to me that he might experience stage fright. My child isn't the brightest bulb in the box nor the most adventureous but I've never really known him to cry because of an unfamiliar experience or substance. Right from his infancy, he's just taken himself away from the situation that didn't catch his fancy or didn't provide the adequate amount of comfort.
And the program was everything a program of such young people is expected to be- funny, cute, bumbling, some errors here and there and not entirely to script all the way through. And that's USP for making it great!
There were 3 categories of children:
1) Those who'd understood, remembered, recalled and performed the skit the way it was taught. They ranged from the slightly older kids to even the play group ones who were just supposed to swing with the beats and twirl.
2) Those who came in and had fun and just did their own thing irrespective of beats and others around them. Happy to report that MLM belongs to this category. He isn't one for too much of structure and systematic functioning.
3) Those who were cast into the limelight a bit prematurely and had to face our glowing eyes and camera flashes in the dark; it wasn't a fun experience for them sadly.
It's a massive undertaking to have a child to begin with. If you're lucky, you can have a balance of a lively kid with one who sleeps and eats in a manner that fits into your existing life patterns. But to plan a skit full of songs, dances, costumes and 110 kids...that's just being a glutton for punishment and hoping and praying that the patience of Job is available 100 times over.
But that's the beauty of people who opt to work with kids. You don't necessarily have to love them to death but you do have to enjoy it to a large extent else you're apt to go bald from tearing your hair out in frustration and get a lumpy head from all the times you'll bang it against the wall.
And trust me, children can be infuriating. Their innocence, lack of comprehension and utter carefree outlook is so at odds with what we know and how we end up living; that it's a life-long task to keep them safe, teach them everything we feel they ought to know about and still make sure they end up being happy individuals.
Patience, above and beyond everything else, helps in this endeavor. Maybe it's a patience borne out of love but at the end of the day I find you can love your child endlessly but not really always like them minute on minute.
Last night's event was a milestone in my life. My child got up on stage in front of a darkened room full of people, with strong lights all around him, loud music and he remained happy, bouncy and enjoyed himself thoroughly.
He got his name in a souvenir (that I plan to stick in a scrapbook as soon as I can find one) and that's going to be a memory for me even if it doesn't end up being significant for him when he grows up.
As your kids grow up (yes, even at the ripe old age of almost 3 years), you grow with them. You see them take in their surroundings, deal with it to the best of their abilities and see facets that you may not always see on the home front. They amaze you with the depth of their expressiveness and also their resilience.
That, cheekiness is a constant factor in all this hardly merits a mention, eh?
Watching my son yesterday I was thinking far ahead and going into the dangerous territory that parents usually wander (and wonder) into- 'the future of their child'. I was actually anticipating more performances from him, more fun and who knows? maybe even a love of theater even if it's restricted to his formative years and not a life-long passion.
Parents can dream, can't they? And usually the child fulfills them. In their own way and in their own measure. For now am reliving a the images of a silky brown kid with whiskers and big ears, jumping around on the stage, dancing to his own tune :)