Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Slice of Life-Emotional Roller Coaster

Each Tuesday the amazing bloggers at Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life Stories (SOLS). This is where bloggers link up to share anything they would like to share about what is happening in their lives. 

Parents are only as happy as their least happy child. I have heard this statement several times but recently, I am finding this notion to be completely true. 

Living with an "almost" teenager is not easy. You always love them to pieces, but boy can they be moody and emotional. Everything is a crisis and keeping up with the ups, downs, twists and turns of their emotional roller coaster can leave everyone dizzy. 

My 12 year-old is a deeply compassionate, thoughtful, friendly and loving girl to everyone (outside of her family). She has many interests and is in several clubs at school. She participates in her school play and in a play at a local children's theater each year. She absolutely loves to perform, sing and dance and spend time with her theater friends. 

Mostly she plays small roles or in the "ensemble" which is theater speak for "extras". She does a wonderful job in these small, but important roles, however as she gets a bit older she longs for bigger, more visible roles. This week she auditioned for two plays. She rehearsed her songs, memorized her monologues and gave her best in the auditions. Then we all hopped on the emotional roller coaster. After each audition she waited for the coveted "call back". As much as the audition panel insists that call backs do not necessarily mean you are up for a bigger role, that is exactly what they mean. They do not call you back if you are being considered for the ensemble. The call backs come in an email that she waited for at the computer. When one did not come, her cheerful, "I did so well Mom" squeal turns to a heartbroken "I thought I did so well Mom" wail in my arms after she didn't get the first call back. She did, however, get two small roles with a couple of lines and not the ensemble which made her happy. 

Then on Saturday she auditioned for the play at the children's theater. This organization produces phenomenal productions with children from second grade to 8th grade. If you are lucky enough to get an audition (which fills up online in just minutes after opening) then you are guaranteed a part. There are usually so many children that they break up into two casts. It is a resource we feel lucky to have right here in our town. 

She auditioned, but didn't feel that she did very well and sort of down played the whole experience in an attempt to not get her hopes up. Then she waited again for a call back, not really expecting one. When the email arrived there was no containing her excitement. Screaming, jumping hugging, laughing she was the picture of preteen glee. The roller coaster chugs skyward! "I don't even care now which role I get as long as I got a call back!" she cried. 

She spent the next three hours back at the theater as my husband and I waited at home on pins and needles. Finally she called us to come get her. She was crying. Down plunges the roller coaster. I arrive (after breaking many speeding laws) to find my daughter in a puddle of tears as she comes to me for comfort. This call back was not what she hoped. "They made me memorize all these lines then never asked me to read them, but they asked two other girls to read them" she chokes out through her sobs. Other mothers are try to console her pointing out all of the other children who are leaving the auditions disappointed. 

As a mother it is so difficult to see your child hurting. The evening was filled with a range of emotions as she waited for the final email with the assigned roles which did not come before bed time. 

She found out her role the next morning. She is in a group of her friends with similar roles and she is thrilled. It was not the role she was hoping for, but she is happy. Her roller coaster is heading up again. The morning was spent calling her grandparents, highlighting her script and practicing her songs. All is right, for the moment, in her world and we can all enjoy this upward rise while it lasts. 

12 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I can totally relate to this post! One of our daughters is especially emotional and anxious, and it can be difficult to ride that roller coaster! Hang on and occasionally, put your hands up in the air and enjoy life regardless of what your preteen is going through - that can be hard, but it can save your emotional well being, too.

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  2. It's hard when our children wear their hearts on their sleeves and literally "risk" on a moment-by-moment basis. Celebrate the small wins because that is the pattern that will keep the roller coaster on the rails!

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  3. So true - life at this age is a roller coaster, and they need us more than ever to stay calm and just listen. So great that she is with her friends - theater is all about that, I think - companionship and camaraderie.

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    1. Just listen is important for me to remember. Yes, I agree that the theater crowd is so supportive of each other!

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  4. I well remember those days. I lived through 3 teenage girls. They are now all in their 20s and life is good. However, no matter what age, they still need me. All you can do is be there, be encouraging and supportive, and love. Mine were not in theater, but my nieces are, and it is a crazy roller coaster.

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  5. Enjoy the upward rise (as you said, while it lasts). I get what you said about being as happy as your least happy child. I only have one kiddo, but that makes perfect sense to me.

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  6. I agree with Holly -- remember to put your hands up in the air and enjoy life regardless of what your preteen is going through - that can be hard, but it can save your emotional well being, too. There is another saying -- if Mom isn't happy …no one is happy! Remember to take care of yourself, take a break, laugh a lot --you need to empty your bucket before everyone fills it with their needs again. Enjoy!
    Clare

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    1. Yes, I need to remember this for sure! Thanks Clare!

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  7. I've been there, too, Gigi, but I want to compliment your daughter in sticking with it. She obviously has no intention of quitting & I think that's great. The emotions are hard on her, but really hardest on you maybe. By the time you've helped her sadness, the happiness returns. Whew! Hugs to you as a mom!

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  8. I want to just repeat what Holly said - hang on but don't forget to put your hands up in the air sometimes. I would love to tell you it only gets better! But that is why they call roller coasters "thrill rides!"

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