Opening Night

February 15, 2008

I had been looking forward to this post for days.  My twelve year-old daughter is in a middle school/high school production of “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” a play I did some 29 years ago when I was in high school.  I’ve been so eager to see the production, to share in my daughter’s excitement, and to share with her my own experiences from our performances three decades ago.  And I’d been planning to write about all of this here, today.

Last night was opening night.  An hour before my daughter was due at the theater, I noticed that she looked flushed.  My wife mentioned that she’d complained of feeling tired, and that she wasn’t hungry.  We had her take her temperature and sure enough she’d spiked a fever of 102.  She was heartbroken, and desperate to go anyway, and furious with us for telling her that she couldn’t.  I haven’t seen her so upset since she was three years old — she was nearly hyperventilating she was crying so hard.  

There aren’t words to describe how badly I felt having to disappoint her like that.  To her credit, once she had calmed down, she realized that we were right to keep her home.  She couldn’t risk giving what she had to her fellow cast members.  And at 7:00, curtain time, she was so exhausted she could barely keep her eyes open — I actually had to carry her piggy-back up to her bedroom.  

Parenting is hard.  All of us who’ve done it know this.  We have to be teachers and friends, counselors and disciplinarians, not to mention coaches, chauffeurs, cooks, cleaners, and nurses.  But for me, nothing is worse than disappointing my kids.  Yeah, the discipline stuff sucks.  But last night was just the pits.  She didn’t do anything wrong.  She just got sick.  And because of that, Nancy and I had to keep her from doing something that meant everything to her.  Strange that in exercising our authority in this way, we should make ourselves feel so helpless.

She’s still feverish today, though she’s down to 100.5.  Maybe she’ll be better for tonight’s performance.  More likely she’ll have to wait for Saturday night and the Sunday matinee.  Under the circumstances two performances out of four would be pretty good.  But she’ll never get Opening Night back, and I know that I feel as bad about that as she does.

Today’s music:  Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny (Beyond the Missouri Sky)


6 Responses to “Opening Night”

  1. Steph said

    Hi David, that post broke my heart! My son is only two but even now, not letting him do the things he wants is hard, even though I know the reasons why. I can’t imagine when it comes to something they have worked hard for and looked forward to. But she learned from that that sometimes you have to put others first and sometimes what you want to do and the right thing aren’t always the same. Lessons like that are painful for everyone, I guess.

  2. Frank said

    I plan on being there for the matinée. I hope she gets to go on. Looks like local schools’ pre-President’s Day “sick-out” day was pretty well founded.

    It really is quite amazing how “Dramatic” real life can be sometimes. Families don’t have to be “dysfunctional”, or have any really major terrible things happen to them, like death, adultery, war, etc. People trying to write a captivating story often feel a need to use these “Big” themes.

    But just a kid that you really, really, care about being deprived something long-hoped-for can be as heartbreaking as any of those things listed above.

    I am glad to hear she accepted your reasoning after calming down. That speaks pretty highly of her. Some kids could let that ill-feeling fester for a long time.

  3. davidbcoe said

    Thanks for the commment, Steph. Yes, it was painful for all of us. And I just had to tell her that she can’t go tonight, either (her fever is still up around 102). She was sad, but she took it well.

    And yeah, Frank, it does speak well of her that she was able to understand. She’s a pretty cool kid. (At least I think she is….)

  4. That is why its so important to have oil of oregano on hand at all times, it fixes, darn near everything. Kills viruses and bacteria and fungus and everything. I love it. Its gotten me through more colds and flus and fevers this winter than I care to count.

    On another note, we kids know our parents do things that we hate for our own good. It’s just hard to accept that it is in fact good.

    There will be other opening nights…

  5. davidbcoe said

    Thanks for the kind words, Michele. Oil of Oregano, eh? Hadn’t heard of it before this.

  6. that’s the brand we sell at my store. Though, there are other brands that are just as good. I wouldn’t use one that is higher than 75% carvacrol though, 75 stings enough going down 🙂 (think of the Buckleys commercial)

    I hope she was able to make it to her performance last night.

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