Oh, how I love the Holidays! The smell of our Christmas tree, the gingerbread candle smell, the chilly air, the sound of small bells reminding me of Santa Claus… and Holiday performances. I had been looking forward to this day for months! My lil mini me, up on a stage, singing and dancing to some of the Christmas songs I used to hear as a kid in Mexico. Yes Cason was doing a Christmas dance recital at his school. How cute is that?!?! The video that we would watch over and over again when we got home, the memories that would last a lifetime, the pictures that I would show-off at work, the cupcake party after the performance… I was looking forward to all of that.
This was not just a throw away 2 and 3 year olds performing. They had practice outside of school hours. They had costumes. Cason would come home at night super excited and show us the dancing he was learning. So Kinsey and I were super happy that he was taking a liking to this performance. Why? Because last time they had a performance, Cason caught a case of the stage fright, and stood in the back row with his thumb in his mouth. Looked even funnier, because he is the size of a 5-year-old, so he definitely stood out. But you know what? At least he got up there and tried.
This time he is going in as a seasoned veteran. Kinsey and I were so excited that we were the first to show up at the school. We were first in line. We got in and sat FRONT ROW!!! I was pumped, because last time we sat all the way in the back. There was so much happiness flowing through my body. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. I couldn’t contain my giddiness.
Finally, the lights dimmed, and the teachers got up to make the announcements introducing the show. The show had begun. Cason’s school ranges from 2 year olds up to Kindergarten. So the cuteness meter was off the charts. Their choreography is simple, with the added flair of the kids. You get the occasional kid that runs around the stage stealing other kid’s hats, and making people laugh. You get the cute little girl who stops mid dance to scream, “hi mommy!” when she spots her mom in the audience. You get the kid that stands off to the side, and owns the stage with their awesome charisma and dance moves. The show was going well, but I couldn’t wait to see what Cason’s class did.
Finally the time came. Cason’s class was going up to perform. Kinsey and I whip out our cameras, we hand Chloe off to my sister-in-law, so we can get the best two shot possible, and we wait. I was sitting on the aisle, so I had a better view of the kids going up on stage, and that’s when I noticed something may be wrong. Cason was standing with his class, all the little girls were jumping around excitedly, the boys were keeping calm, and Cason was holding back from crying. I could tell his bottom lip was quivering. I started feeling like I should go tell him we are here, and that everything will be ok, but I didn’t want to disrupt the entire show.
The kids walk up on stage. Cason is standing right in the middle of the back row. Center stage. His teachers had told us that during practice, he loved dancing around on stage… so he got a great spot during the show. The introduction happens, the crowd goes silent before the song starts, and Cason starts crying. He couldn’t hold it back anymore. I don’t know if it was nerves, or that he wanted his parents. So I put my hand up and waved at him, hoping he would calm down after we let him know we were there, we made eye contact… and he lost it. The music starts, his class is dancing, and he is standing in the back wailing… screaming, “Mama!! I want my mama!!” It was the most helpless feeling in the world. My favorite boy in the world is up there falling apart. Halfway through the song, a teacher is able to pull him off to the side and tried to calm him down. It did not work. A little girl broke formation, ran to the side stage, tried to grab his hand to help him back on stage, and he shook his head slowly. She patted him on the head, and went back to dancing. He did not perform the second song. He sat on his teachers lap, staring at us, while I mouthed, “it’s ok, buddy!”
After the second song, he jumped off his teachers lap, and ran to us. He didn’t want to be there anymore. I don’t blame him. I looked at Kinsey and said, “we should go.” So we did the walk of shame from the front of the theater, all the way to the back, while Cason is saying, “I’m sad, papa… my teacher is sad.” I kept telling him its ok. I felt like there was nothing I could do. We got outside. As I am loading Cason into his car seat, I told Kinsey “I feel like I’m a bad dad because I didn’t go grab him off the stage.” Cason grabbed my face and said, “you’re not a bad papa… I love you papa.” I looked up at Kinsey and her eyes had tears in them. So I just kissed Cason and said, “thank you, buddy.”
We got in the car, and as we are backing up Kinsey says, “well, there’s always next year.” Cason and I both screamed, “no!” haha. Cason is not about that stage life. I knew he was ok, because 10 minutes later, he was smiling again, and we were joking and laughing. He may have been the only one to have an epic meltdown, but he is my lil epic meltdown. Maybe one day he will grow out of it, maybe he will never see the stage again, but at least he got up there.