Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stage Mom

I've hesitated writing this blog, in fact I've started and stopped it several times, because I'm afraid of being perceived as a crazed mom who's living out her childhood fantasies through her child. To set the record straight. phhhhbbbbllllttt. It's not true, but I have no proof. So there. Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way, here's the blog that I've written:

I have never met David Archuleta's father, I only know what I've heard about him in the media, but I suspect much of what has been reported is a distortion of the truth. I base this on the fact that he and I are in similar positions.

Like David's dad who was behind the scenes during most of American Idol (until he was rudely dismissed), I've cast myself into the role of stage mom for the duration of my son's play (hopefully I won't suffer the same fate). I'm there for three reasons. Probably the most important is to be the snarling Momma Bear sitting in the corner, just in case anyone gets any unsavory ideas about my boy. The second is to protect the cast members from the enthusiastic, talkative little guy--which I admit doesn't usually work since I'm sitting in a corner across a large room when I observe him talking an adult's ear off, or wearing googly eye glasses or bouncing a ball he had stashed in his pocket. The final reason is so that I can help him figure out what he's supposed to be doing when he rehearses after the practices. That's the uncomfortable one. I never pictured myself as a stage mom. Never had much taste for them in fact.

But here's the thing, while I won't pretend he's got David's talent (who does?), they do share one common trait: they both have a passion for performing, and for doing it really well. Brandon practices for his upcoming play a lot, in fact the other performers have commented that he puts them to shame with how much he has memorized. And when he does, he shows a surprising perception for subtle differences in tone and voice fluctuations. He'll come to me and say, "Should I say this line like this...or like this..." The two will sound almost exactly the same, with maybe one word being emphasized, or his tone harsher in one than the other. He'll repeat the line over and over until he gets the sound he likes.

He always looks at me at rehearsals after saying one of his big lines, and smiles. I know it appears that he's just looking for my approval, and I'm sure that's part of it. But I think mostly when he looks at me, he's giving me a visual high-five "I got it!"

It's a fine line - this pushing vs. encouraging, one that I'm not thrilled to be walking. But a mom's only as happy as her unhappiest child, and this is what excites him, so here I am - cheering him on and hoping I don't damage him along the way.

Mr. Archuleta, if you'd like to talk I'm all ears.


Shellie said...

I say, cheer him on! It's just like supporting a kid at any other thing they are into.

Suzanne Reese said...

Thanks - you're right of course!

sue's favorite brother said...

The "classic" stage mom (or dad) is usually guilty of encouraging (or pushing) their child to pursue a dream that may be the parent's dream.

The "supportive" stage mom (or dad) is doing the things You have mentioned. That is protecting, restraining, and giving the opportunity to pursue his dreams, or at least, what he thinks is his dream at that time.

This applies if the kid thinks this is what he wants to do this week or if this is what he wants do do with his life.

NOTE FOR ANYONE TAKING OFFENSE WITH MY USE OF THE MASCULINE: I have seven daughters, one son. Have coached soccer, basketball,softball, followed marching bands, colorguards, and attented music and dance performance and all I can say is that "ALL MY GIRLS IS GUYS"!!!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.