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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Unappreciated performer

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I realized this last week that my audience is shrinking quickly. I'm down to only one kid who still pays attention to my antics and actually gets a kick out of it. For years I've been entertaining my girls by singing normal songs in an opera voice, dancing like a goob whenever the mood hits me, talking in exaggerated accents, and making some unbelievably ugly faces, just so they'll laugh. Heck, I've even been known to pull off quite the dinosaur imitation.

I'm way too embarrassed to act like that in front of anyone else, and not even Hubby gets to experience the full inner weirdo that resides within me. However, ever since my oldest daughter was a baby in a high chair, I've had the privilege of making her laugh with my ridiculous songs and silly dancing. Then I got to continue my entertaining when my second daughter came along. I've been performing my act for several years now but I think my stage days are coming to an end.

This last week we were driving home from school and prompted by some phrase my middle daughter said, I instantly began to belt out, in my best Broadway voice, the song "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. My audience at the time, my 5 and 9-year-old, sat in silence in the back seat both staring at me. My last and apparently only remaining fan, the 5-year-old, smiled and began to sing her own version of "I Feel Pretty", but the 9-year-old just stared at me with a look on her face that said without saying, "My mom is crazy weird and has a useless memory bank full of dumb songs that she decides to share with us at the strangest times," or something like that.

After some questioning, I proved to my 9-year-old, thanks to YouTube, that I did NOT make that song up like she thought I did. She just shook her head and sarcastically said, "That's really great, Mom." In other words, keep your dorky songs to yourself, mom, I'm not impressed.

A few days later, while making them lunch, my 5-year-old asked me to sing that "pretty" song again. Like I said, she's my biggest fan, so I couldn't let her down. Plus my 12-year-old was perched at the table, too and she had missed out on my earlier performance, so now I had a full audience. So I whirled through the kitchen slapping sandwiches together, pouring juice all while singing "I Feel Pretty" but this time with a Spanish accent, like in the movie. It was nice to add the dance to my performance, too, kinda made me feel like I really was that Maria character.

Anyway, as I was twirling and swirling around the table passing out plates, and crooning about feeling "charming, oh so charming," I assumed all three girls were watching in awe at how entertaining I was and what an amazingly talented mom they had.

However, after I belted out the last word of the song with gusto and in perfect tone and vibrato, I looked down at my audience and found again, only my 5- year-old was still paying attention. She was smiling with pride and laughed with excitement at my performance.

Unfortunately she was it. My 9-year-old was going cross-eyed picking at her finger nails with no acknowledgment that I was even still present in the room, let alone singing at top of my lungs. My 12-year-old was watching with wonder at the beginning of my show, but I must have lost her at "oh so stunning" because she was busy picking yesterday's playdough out of the table creases during my grand finale. Unlike my middle daughter, I did get some reaction from my oldest, although not nearly what I deserved based on such a stellar performance. She gave me a head shake and a crooked smile, with a touch of eye roll. I gathered that meant the same, "My mom is crazy weird and has a useless memory bank full of dumb songs that she decides to share with us."

I admit I was disappointed that my silly and dorky entertainment was no longer appreciated by who I thought were my biggest and most faithful fans. At least I still have my 5-year-old to entertain for a few more years till she also thinks I'm weird and embarrassing. Then I guess I'll have to wait till grandkids come along before my performances are appreciated.

Sure hope I can still dance and sing by then!

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Jennifer Morgan
Motherhood Moments
-- Jennifer Morgan is the mother of three girls and lives in McCook.