As you read this post, I am cooling my heels with very little to do in a three star hotel outside of St. Louis, MO. The view from my room is above. It’s sunset. I traveled here on Sunday for a single reason: To ensure that Noah would be able to flip a girl over his back two weeks ago.
Confusing, prhaps at first. But soon it might sound all too familiar as this is just one of the many parental contortions we attempt from time to time when failure is not an option.
Flashback to the Fall when our Cantor recommended that Noah attend a Song Leader Boot Camp workshop to hone his skills at, yup, song leading at our synagogue. Dave and I agreed this was a great opportunity and signed Noah up for a weekend session in Washington D.C. in January. Dave would drive Noah down and happily hang out in our nation’s capital for two days; I would stay at home with Chase. Easy peasy. Noah was even treated to a partial scholarship. We were set.
And then Noah auditioned and got a part in the school play – Grease. The joy of belting our Summer Lovin’ to him at every mortifying opportunity was soon replaced by my stark realization that rehearsals would consume much of his time – and then the inevitable – the major conflict.
There is no worse feeling than the exact moment when you realize that you or your spouse or your child needs to be in two places at once, especially if the selection process of choosing the winning obligation is going to be brutal. At first you are in denial. There is no way this situation is occurring. You check schedules and websites, confirming the screw up and ultimately surrendering to the imminent disappointment. Often when these snafus occur with us, it is my fault – or should I say my work’s fault. Either way, it is always a slap in the face which mocks my ability to manage a simple set of schedules. But this time, I was just a bystander. Still, it didn’t make it any better. The conversation in January went like this:Noah: Play practice this weekend is Saturday and Sunday. 10:00 – 4:00. Me: You have Song Leader Boot Camp this weekend. Did you tell the director you can’t make it? Noah: Can I make ANY of the rehearsals this weekend? Me: It’s a religious obligation, you know. Are they going to give you a hard time? Noah: No. But if I don’t go, I’ll have to be a wallflower. Me: A what? Noah: We’re learning the dance sequences this weekend and if I’m not there to learn them, I can’t dance in the scene. And I really want to. I’ll get to flip a girl over my back. Me: And if you’re not there? Noah: I’ll just have to hang out in the back of the scene. Cue wallflower music.
And there it was. The choice: Keep his obligation to our synagogue and be a wallflower —or do the dance scene and turn his back on G-d. Dave and I tried to skin this cat a number of different ways, including asking for some divine intervention – a sign that it would be okay to choose door number 2. With no luck there, I shifted into high gear fix it mode — because when it comes to our children, we rarely surrender without hurling ourselves against a few walls once or twice.Me: Wait a minute! Couldn’t we switch Noah out of the DC Boot Camp this weekend and enroll him in another session? Dave: The only other session after the play is the national boot camp in St Louis. Me: I know! And isn’t Eitan (Noah’s good friend from camp) scheduled to go to that session??? Dave: So we want to try to switch him out days before the DC session, fly both of you all the way to St Louis, pay hundreds of dollars more, have him miss school, all so that he can have a dance part in this play? Me: Yes. Yes we do.
Dave doesn’t even try to argue the lunacy of my plan. He knows that, for me, finding a solution that favors our kids always trumps the hassle we as parent might face in pulling it off. And in this case, the hassle was going to be all mine.
So here I sit at the Drury Inn – seven miles from the St Louis airport as Noah does his thing with about 100 other song leaders at the community center down the road. It’s not all that bad. I will get plenty of work done here. Our retired Cantor lives in the area and we will have a nice visit. And Noah is hanging with his friend.
Not a surrender – but a victory in getting it all done. And he got to flip the girl.