After her audition, my fourth grade Hannah was positive that she would get a big part in Seussical the Musical—the spring show at her school. We both were. But when I picked her up one afternoon, I could see on her face that things had not gone as we planned.
“I have to be a stupid Who!” she cried through disappointed tears. “It’s embarrassing!
A Who is the worst part you can get! You just stand in the background and hum and sway!” I didn’t know what to say. I let her get it all out.
“You know who else got Who parts? People who cried or ran off stage during their audition…people who had to stop and start or who read like robots…even people who declined to audition at all!” she informed me. I had to admit, it did seem insulting.
As my little girl’s heart broke right before my eyes, I was flooded with feelings of sadness and pity. She told me how she’d wanted to cry when they told her she’d be a Who, but she had to hold it in. How all of her other friends got bigger parts. How everyone was trying to make her feel ok with her Who-ness.
I wanted to go to the teachers and ask them what they were thinking and tell them to fix it immediately! I called Hannah’s dad instead. He was very upset for her, too. “Well you need to write a note or make an appointment with that teacher! Or just tell her not to be in the play! Or I know..I’ll go talk to him,” he told me. I explained that I didn’t think this was something for us to interfere in and that I felt the lesson here was that sometimes things don’t go our way, but we have to find a way to make the best of it. He begrudgingly went along.
So I gave my Hannah the rest of the evening to complain and be sad (and she took full advantage of it!). The next morning, she was still very upset. On the car ride to school, I told her all the mom stuff you’re supposed to say about this happening for a reason and how she will have to accept it and do her best. She really didn’t seem receptive. I told her I wasn’t letting her quit, so it was going to be a long couple of months if she chose not to get on board with her Who part.
When I picked her up that afternoon, she said to me, “Well, I guess I’ve decided being a Who isn’t so bad and I’ll just have to accept it.” I told her I was glad she was feeling better. “Yeah some of the fifth graders told me not to feel bad because last year in the Jungle Book musical, some of them had to be rocks and grass. A Who is better than rocks and grass,” she told me. I told her how proud I was of her.
And it’s true. A Who beats the pants off of rocks and grass.
Photo by: dctheatrescene.com