So we’re sitting at the dinner table trying to extract information out of Tall. “Tall, tell me about your day at school,” begins The Husband innocently enough. “Mommy mentioned that the entire first grade is putting on a play.”
“You’re not invited,” snaps Tall. “I don’t want you to come.”
I suppress a grin. Well, at least I’m not a victim of his wrath today.
“Or you,” he says, redirecting his gaze to me. “Neither of you is invited.”
What? What did we do this time?
“Why not?” asks The Husband. “We want to see you in your special play, and we want to take lots of pictures.”
“That’s why,” mutters Tall, “because you’ll embarrass me.” Now he has a worried look on his face, fast-forwarding to his performance, and his Parents Doing Embarrassing Things, things like taking a few photos of their son.
“Wait, Tall, you’re saying you’d be embarrassed if we took photos? Okay, we won’t take any photos.” This is a promise I can keep, as I know I can ask my freighbor to take shots of Tall when she takes some of her own son. Freighbor is a better photographer than me, anyway.
“Mom, I’m not even talking about just photos. You would do other things to embarrass me.”
“Like what?” queries The Husband.
“You know, like, you might call out when everyone is clapping at the end, you might go, ‘Hey! Tall! Great job!’ or something bad like that.” His little brow furrows, thinking of the devastation that would follow if his friends were to witness us complimenting him.
“I get it,” I say. “That’s fine, Tall. We won’t call out or anything. But we are coming to the play.”
He crosses his arms across his chest deliberately. A pout settles on his little round face.
“I have a good idea,” The Husband offers excitedly, “Mommy and I will say all the embarrassing things now, and get it out of the way! That way, on the day of the play, we won’t embarrass you in front of all your friends.”
Tall’s face registers a new look, one I’ve seen before: skepticism. “No. Don’t do that either,” he says firmly.
Too late. The Husband is out of his chair now, waving and pointing. There is much taking of imaginary photos with the imaginary camera. “That’s our son! That’s Tall! Hey, Tall, WE LOVE YOU!! Our son is the best actor and the best singer, and he’s the star of the show! Yay, Tall!” Next, manic applauding and foot-stomping.
I’m sucked in by his faux enthusiasm. “Yay! Yay, Tall!” I echo. “Woo-hoo! Go, go, Tall!” I have morphed into a cheerleader at a football game, “Tall is the one! The best! WE LOVE YOU!!”
Tall’s face is a sunset of reds. “Stop it,” he hisses.
The Husband taps me on the arm. “Okay, since we showed him what we won’t do, now let’s show him how we really will act on the actual day of his play.” The Husband is nodding, sending me mental telepathy messages of my lines.
“Do you know anyone in this play?” I stage-whisper to The Husband.
He shrugs. “Nope,” he whispers back. “Why are we here again?”
(“Mom On Vaudeville”)