This is the scenery being hung at the New Opera in NYC right now. Yes now. OK, maybe not right this second because I think this photo was posted 12 minutes ago but close enough. No wait. Dress rehearsal started an hour ago therefore how can this be just going up now? What the hell do I know? I'm not the mom on duty tonight. I haven't actually been the mom on duty through any of this. God bless all the other moms and dads; I have been spared and it has been beastly. To some extent.
Iolanta is Tchaikovsky's last opera. It was first performed on December 18, 1892 and premiered with The Nutcracker which, as far as I can tell, has nothing in common other than possibly Pyotr. Tomorrow night Elizabeth and six of her classmates will be on stage for all of 30 seconds (ok, probably 5 or 6 minutes) and I'm thinking, really, Alecto, your kid is about to be in an Opera in New York with a curtain call in less than 24 hours.
There will be exactly one show and then it can be seen next at the Met in 2015. Without my daughter, but still, there it is.
There are a number of things that are truly surreal at the moment. The ground is moving under my feet again but not like ice floes; it's just moving and it's uncomfortable as hell but I'm not on my face, I'm just stepping where I need to step. I process information where I need to process information and sometimes things get lost along the way.
Here is something rather astonishing. More so I think than Iolanta although I guess it depends on what you find important.
Can you stand up in front of 400 people and speak coherently? Passionately, even? Can you do that? Can you even answer the question? I ask you that because the majority of adult Americans have never even had the opportunity, cannot even imagine what that's like, to stand in front of that many people. You might think, 400 people, 200 people, 50 people, 20 people, whatever, how bad can it be. The more people, the less intimidating because you don't see individual faces, right (this is what non-speakers have said to me).
It is exponential.
There are things you can do to get past the scaries and often the scaries are what make some people very, very good speakers. The scaries are what make me a very, very good speaker. It's a fine line I walk though, between being incredibly charismatic and clear and actually passing out because I can't breathe before the adrenaline kicks in appropriately and I'm on track.
She's been working on something called the Cornerstone Project. It's a legacy project that the 8th grade creates on the way out the door. 209 students submit a project plan. The project plan actually involves writing up a grant (really?!). Well, she wrote up a grant. I had no idea this was going on because I was in the middle of the close and she was in the middle of getting it together for Iolanta and our paths weren't crossing well and drama drama drama and one day on the phone she was trying to tell me and I just wasn't processing the information.
It waited until I got home.
She wrote a grant and of the 209 students she was one of 6 chosen to present her legacy plan to the 6th and 7th grades and a bunch of teachers and the rest of the administration. I don't know what they did with the rest of the 8th grade. I guess they left them in class.
Her issue is with diversity. As in there isn't any of it. Our town is WHITE WHITE WHITE and RICH RICH RICH. She is sensitive. She wouldn't have put it that way. Her plan, as I understand it, is to establish relationships with sister/brother schools internationally because she believes we don't have a broad enough understanding of different languages and cultures within their own contexts. Her tool of choice is Skype.
So she got up on that stage today and presented her idea. And then she did a demo. She had a live Skype session with some guy in New Hampshire. I have no idea where she got him all I know is she had him and they talked about the driving distance of 12 hours (WHERE in New Hampshire is he exactly?) versus the Skype session. He was projected behind her.
SHE'S 13 YEARS OLD.
I started crying at my desk.
Granted, I'm crying at the drop of a hat lately but there it is.
From 9 - 10 PM last night when I finally forced her to go to bed she practiced her presentation timing in her head over and over again. Her focus is astonishing. No. No it's not. This is not something the least bit surprising or astonishing anymore.
Tomorrow morning she will find out if she gets the grant money to implement her project. I won't know anything until Iolanta is over and I can take her home. I am lucky she managed to find a way to call me this afternoon.
And then there's me. Me and Cielo and Lucia and Kate are going on an adventure called Mudderella on September 20. It would probably be good if we had one or two more team members and maybe even a token Y chromosome but it doesn't really matter. Mudderella supports Futures Without Violence which is an added bonus given the entry cost and the fact that we'll be collecting funds in addition to traversing a 5 - 7 mile mud filled obstacle course.
Mudderella was picked up by Cielo who wanted to own her strong. Well hell, so do I and so does Lucia and so does Kate (well I haven't actually asked Kate but I'm going to go out on a limb having met Kate...) and I don't much feel like laying broken on the floor whether there's a reason to do that or not. I don't much feel like shaking in my space boots as Lucia used to so eloquently put it about such things that might be too scary to contemplate.
So this is my current profile pic and it's the photo I chose for Mudderella. I never gave it much thought before I picked it out of the Cape Breton collection and I almost wish it had come from someplace neutral but we have what we have and we are who we are.
And I'm ready to go. This is my life.