How I Humiliated Myself at My Daughter’s End-of-Year Performance
“Eema, almost all the tickets are gone already… Do you know how many tickets I should buy for my final dance performance?”
My 17-year-old Hadas called me with this question from her Thursday-night dance class right after Passover. There was an Stock-Market-like ruckus in the background, as all the girls urgently called their mothers urging them to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” before all the seats were gone.
I flipped my calendar two months forward, and my eyes fell on this past Sunday. I didn’t know if I’d be able to find a babysitter, but this was an event I definitely could not miss. I asked Hadas to buy 3 tickets, for me and two of her sisters.
After several months of practicing and two dress rehearsals, the much-anticipated event arrived. I felt a sense of relief as I walked past the long lines at the ticket counters with my tickets safely in hand.
Around 500 proud mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends crowded into the auditorium.
I looked at my tickets which read: Row 2, Seats 9, 10, and 11. But when my daughters and I walked up to the front of the auditorium, we discovered that a young grandmother in an elegant flower beret was sitting there with her bags placed on our seats—as though they were hers…
“Excuse me, these are our seats,” I told her.
“No, these are our seats,” she retorted with stubborn indignation, her Hebrew French-accented and stilted.
Ahhh, a new immigrant, possibly a refugee from French anti-Semitism. But that did not give her the right to steal the seats which I had bought fair and square!
I showed her my tickets, and then she searched around her purse and showed me her own. Her tickets also read “Row 2, Seats 9, 10, and 11”!
OH NO! The idiots at the ticket office had given me and the French refugee the same seats! Maybe there would be no seats left for me to see the performance? Hadas would be so disappointed!
“Eema, eema!” my 10-year-old, Moriah, started saying, “look at this! Look at this!”
And all the anger that I felt towards the woman who had stolen our seats and the incompetent fools at the ticket office exploded onto Moriah.
“MORIAH, WHY ARE YOU INTERRUPTING ME! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! CAN’T YOU SEE THAT?!” I yelled.
“But Eema, it’s something important! Look!”
And I followed Moriah’s finger and noticed at the bottom of the ticket a small word I hadn’t noticed before:
I apologized to the French grandmother and I apologized to my daughter, and then I looked up at the hundreds of grandmothers and mothers and girls and friends in the auditorium, and realized that even before the performance had started, I had provided the entire audience with one of my own.
When I was visiting my parents in Baltimore this month, after one particularly challenging day my mother said something very wise:
“Jenny, every day is a dress rehearsal.
“No matter how terribly I messed up today, it doesn’t matter. It’s just the dress rehearsal, so who cares how badly I did?….
“Tomorrow, at the real performance, I’ll do better. By then, I’ll be a star.”