Several weeks ago, my friend’s dad had an extremely major surgery requiring him to stay close to the hospital for a few weeks. He was released from the hospital after a short time, but he had to have someone stay with him at a house for patients who had undergone similar surgeries. This hospital was roughly 5 hours from My Fair City — and the house is a kid-free zone.
So, my friend asked me if I’d play “mommy” to her little girl while she was staying with her dad for several days.
I love kids.
I especially love this particular little Munchkin.
So of course, I said yes.
“YES!!!” in capital letters and with several exclamations at the end!
Mommy left on Tuesday afternoon, so after work, I picked up the Munchkin from daycare and we stopped a minute at my house to grab something before making our way to her house to meet her Grandma and Grandpa so they and I could watch the Munchkin’s dance recital together.
Things were going good.
We decided that since the Munchkin and I were going straight to my house after the recital, we would drive separately.
And it’s a good thing we did.
We got to the recital with plenty of time to spare.
But the problem was that I had never been to a dance recital before, so of course I had no idea about dance recital etiquette.
If I had been just enjoying the show, it would have been one thing. But being responsible for a lively 4-year old dancer is quite another.
You gotta get there on time (precisely 30 minutes early, not one second later) and then you have to find the place to drop the kid off….
Grandma and Grandpa didn’t know where to drop her off and neither did I. So once we got inside, I ran after the Munchkin (who knew exactly where to go) and promptly lost Grandma and Grandpa. Ooops.
We joined the group of 4-year olds and as soon as we walked into the room, the Munchkin stopped in her tracks, turned around and hollered, “MARI! WE FORGOT MY WAND!”
We can’t dance without our wands!
Good thing I decided to drive separate from Grandma and Grandpa!
I had been given a list of instructions for the recital, but the only thing I’d had time to read was that the kiddos had to have a responsible adult in the building at all times and that they weren’t allowed in the auditorium in their costumes.
I had precisely 28 minutes to drive across town, grab the wand and run back.
In the next 12ish minutes, I gained a lot of sympathy for busy moms.
I now understand why people run red lights.
And why people get speeding tickets.
And even why car accidents happen.
Not that any of those things happened to me that day. I just have a much better understanding of how these things happen.
Fortunately, I knew exactly where the Munchkin had left her wand and was able to put it into her little hand just in time for her group to line up.
Grandma and Grandpa had been seated by the time I got back and I didn’t have any idea where to find them, so I just sat by myself. And after the Munchkin’s dance, I sat there wondering if I was supposed to go get her? Or? Hm. What’s the proper etiquette for this situation? I didn’t think to bring anything for her to change into so she could come sit with me.
I sat there with “???” running through my head for the longest time.
Her dance was super, by the way.
After a few more numbers, I noticed that after each dance, a few people would slip out. Are they going to get their kid? What does this mean?
I was so confused.
After seeing this phenomenon take place several times, I decided that this must mean that I’m supposed to go get my kid.
So I ran back to where the kiddos were and the Munchkin pouted and said she wanted to stay. And I was like, “But….”
And there was no one to ask.
Finally, I found some older dancers and they told me that it was completely up to me. She could stay or she could go and no one would care.
Since the auditorium was dark and I didn’t want to go in again because I would either have to stand in the back or disturb people to get a seat, I decided we should just leave. Of course the Munchkin wasn’t a big fan of this idea.
I pacified her with the promise of ice cream.
When in doubt, ice cream.
She agreed to this and after seeing some of her friends at Dairy Queen and deciding that although the Berry Pom smoothie is good, the Orange Berry is better, we made our way back to my house to get ready for bed.
And my phone rang.
Grandma and Grandpa were worried because they couldn’t find the Munchkin.
Why had I not thought to get their phone number??