My husband’s production of Annie wrapped last night.
Whew. We made it.
It was a kind of a big deal. Oh, and Boston got a little snow this season.
There was a cast of 75 students, a set that involved something called paradactoids (giant 10 foot tall triangular prisms that spin to create different scenes with the same set pieces), singing, dancing, and dirt makeup that took off the first ten layers of my kids’ skin as I scrubbed it from their faces. Zoë was Pepper (not Annie, but you can read about that here) and Grey was a homeless Hooverville kid that he named Blob. Oh, Grey.
My husband worked ridiculously hard on this show. A few nights ago, I even stopped by to help, and stayed until 4:30 in the morning.
Here’s a promo video. It’s 2 minutes of fabulousness that let’s you see what really goes into a production like this. Thanks, Sean Kelly.
The show was a raging success and I ruined it.
Here’s how it went down: After the final show ended, and everyone had cleared out of the theatre leaving behind book bags and stuffed animals and 700 pounds of trash (which a handful of very sweet parent volunteers helped us clean) my husband decided that he wanted to celebrate by going out to dinner. He’d received a thank-you gift card that could make it possible. So, at 6:30 we loaded our five kids into our two vans and headed off towards Buca di Beppo. Though Buca is not what most would call a fancy restaurant, it’s a major treat for my family. In fact, we hadn’t been there in nine years. The last time was before Grey was born, back in the days when all the grandparents (including my mother, who was still living) would actually travel all the way to Nashville to see Mike’s shows. So Mike was excited, and the kids were excited, and I proceeded to sit through the entire meal pointing my finger menacingly at my three-year-olds and complaining about the overpriced food and poor service. I also managed to act completely put out by the fact that my little girls (who are finally getting the hang of potty-training) each asked to go to the bathroom, therefore necessitating that I leave my seat FOUR times during the hour and half meal. By the time we left, my three littles looked run through the wringer, Grey was half asleep in his stage makeup, and my husband was utterly defeated. Score.
Why? Why did I allow myself to act that way? I certainly didn’t mean to. I watched myself sulking and rolling my eyes and shouting at my kids and felt like I was watching an episode of MacGyver, where our hero has been drugged and is stumbling around looking at his handful of rubber bands and spare parts like a man at a makeup counter. “Snap out of it MacGyver!” we’re all yelling at the screen.
Here’s the thing: Having five kids is hard. Having three todschoolers (toddler/preschoolers, duh) is HELLA HARD. Often I can roll with it in a way that would have flat out stunned my younger I’m-never-gonna-have-kids-because-I’m-not-patient-self. Most of the time I can sit in the middle of screaming chaos, surrounded by leaking sippy-cups and marker-decorated faces and feel grateful, even if I am counting the minutes to bedtime. But sometimes, especially on days when there has been no nap and I’ve spent four hours holding littles on my lap in a dark theatre trying to get them to be quiet and stop yelling: “Is that the real Annie?! Can I have more crackers?! Why is Miss Hannigan so mean?! Look, it’s Zoë! Look, it’s Grey! Why are they so dirty?! Is it time to go home?! I need to go potty!” I just lose it. I lose whatever MacGyver skills I’ve acquired that let me build calm and peace and happy memories out of shoe strings and toothpaste and goldfish, and instead all I want to do is run screaming to the stage to hug Miss Hannigan and offer to take her out for a drink. Cuz I get it.
“Little girls, little girls, everywhere I go, I can see them. Little girls, little girls, everyday I eat, sleep, and breathe them. Some women are dripping with diamonds. Some women are dripping with pearls. Lucky me, lucky me, look at what I’m dripping with: Little girls.”
It’s a Hard Knock Life, baby.
I’m not saying that it justifies me acting like a total brat, as if I, myself, were three-years-old, but I am saying that maybe, just maybe, we should cut Miss Hannigan, both the one on stage and the one inside us, a break. After all, no one is making up her bed with satin sheets. No one is bringing her a tray (or taking it away). No one is taking her to the Roxy. And if they do, and if she behaves badly, well, we can hope she’ll do better next time.