What Kind of Mood Are You In Today?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Missing Costume

Besides damaging fuel pumps, crushing my car in drive-through car washes, and being the luckiest person on the planet, I, as I have mentioned afore, teach Music at a K-8 school, Pacific Coast Christian Academy. I absolutely LOVE my job!!! Working with children is one of the most fulfilling things in my life. To know that I have made, am making, and will make a difference is something that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, nor can it be explained by letters on a computer screen. Suffice it to say that this job has made me realize that love has no limits, even though my heart feels sometimes like it's going to bust open because it's just doesn't seem possible for it to contain it all.

Or maybe I just have the most special students in all the world, which is possible. Just ask their parents!

One part of my job is to direct the school's two musicals. It's a big production on a small budget. There are roughly 80 kids on stage at once, close to 100 when preschool is on the stage with us. The whole school sings in the choir and there are drama and solo parts. In less than 3 months, somehow we manage to learn 6 or 7 songs and memorize parts for a 45 minute show. Three months may seem like a long time, but we only have Music class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My kids are amazing!!!

I can go on and on about my job and about my students, but I may have already lost you, so let me go on to the story.

Like I said, it's a big production on a small budget, so when it comes to costumes, we beg, borrow, and... uh, can't steal because it's a Christian school. ;-) But we do a lot of begging and borrowing. For Christmas last year, there were 3 kids that played the role of janitors. We borrowed 3 coveralls from...well, that's confidential information.  I didn't give them to the kids until the day before the show because I didn't want them to get lost. You know how it is, child puts costume in backpack, backpack goes home, backpack gets unloaded along with the newest glitter creation of the day, and somehow it ends up under the bed with stinky socks and all the healthy food that mom or dad packed for their lunch and told them they had to eat.

So, the day before the BIG NIGHT I handed out the coveralls. The next day one of the kids brought the coveralls back so he could practice with them. (He was very eager! He was also GREAT at his part! I could start bragging, but I'll spare you...for now.)

You probably can't imagine this, but I am a total stress case the day of the program. Stage 10, I call it.    When the coveralls showed up at our last rehearsal and then got left behind, I knew that in my heightened state of freak-out I should be sure this costume gets put somewhere that it would not get lost.

So, I put it in a very...safe...place.

The BIG NIGHT approaches ever so suddenly and before I know it, I am pacing the floor of the church where we are performing our program. Well, I don't know that walking the entire length of the building back and forth is pacing...perhaps more like hiking...in nylons and heels. But I arrive an hour early to set up and well...pretty much hike the length of the building.

At 6:30pm the drama kids start arriving. I make my rounds, making sure they get mics, props, and to check over their costume to make sure everything is there. I get through all the kids, but at 6:40 I'm missing a kid. Where is he???

As I hike toward the foyer of the building, I see him.  Whoo!  Thank goodness!  I think to myself, "He better get his costume on soon!"

"Mrs. Mickel, Joe (not his real name) lost his costume."

Lost his costume?

"I remember you brought it to school..."

"Yeah!"  Joe says.  "And I left it in the chapel."

Ok.  At this point, in the height of Stage 10, I cannot remember anything past seeing the costume in the chapel.  I don't remember if I picked it up and ran it to Joe's classroom or that I put it in a "safe place."  I don't remember anything at all.  What I DO know is that if this is my fault, I am going to feel really..really...really bad!!!  This is Joe's first program with a speaking part.  Not just that, but he also does a little dance number.  Joe is a born entertainer and I have been looking forward to seeing him shine on that stage since he was in Kindergarten.  I MUST FIND THAT COSTUME!

And so, not knowing who's fault it is, I look at the clock and see that we have 20 minutes until show time.  Let's see...5 minutes home, 2 minutes of looking, 5 minutes back. Yeah, sure!  I can do this!

And so off I fly like a bat out of a Scooby-Doo episode.  I get home, tear out of my car, and begin searching the house, the garage, the trunk of my car, the inside of the infamous Expedition...  Everywhere I can think of.  When I don't see the costume, I begin to tear into my husband's wardrobe to find SOMETHING Joe can wear!  I pull out a flannel or two and head out.

On my way back to the church I think, "Hey!  I'll bet Joe took the costume back to class with him since I told him to make sure and not forget it at rehearsal today and then he must have forgotten to put it in his backpack.  Yeah!  That MUST be what happened!"

I've got 8 minutes until the show starts.  Let's see...10 minutes to the school, 30 seconds of looking, 10 minutes back...I won't be TOO late.  Ok.  Let's do this!

So, off I flew like an early bird who just woke up late and drove to the school.  I unlock the classroom door, search wildly, and to my dismay, do not find the costume.

Office!  Maybe it's in the office!

I run to the office, unlock the door, tear inside, unlock my office door, and begin searching.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Under this thing?  Nope.

I give up.  I'm late for the show, I have no costume, the search is over.

On my way back to the church I'm thinking, "Oh, please don't let this put Joe in a tailspin!  Please don't let it be so unnerving for him that it ruins his whole night.  Oh, please, please, please!"

I get back, throw the flannel over Joe's back, and try to explain to him that his costume is lost, he has to wear this.  While rolling up his sleeves, I try to assure him that he is going to do an amazing job, I have total confidence in him, and his new costume looks GREAT!

On with the show!  I have the not-so-wonderful privilege of letting the audience know why we are starting 10 minutes late.  There was no sense in saying something like, "Due to technical difficulties..."  No, all that means is, "Hey!  I was running late.  The technical difficulty was my blow dryer."  I had to tell the truth.  A costume is missing and I'm not sure why.

Well, the show went fabulous.  No one in the audience knew which costume was missing because the flannel I put Joe in looked perfect, perhaps even better.  He did a fantastic job and I was so proud of how he was able to be flexible with the costume and still come out shining on stage.  I love that kid!

Two weeks later I am cleaning up my office.  I lift up a sweatshirt and...wait!  What's that?  No.  It can't be.  I looked under there!  I picked up this same sweatshirt and looked under there!

There it was.  The costume, finally out of hiding.  Oh, thank goodness because it was slightly begged for and definitely borrowed.

However, I had some explaining to do to some parents...

Here's "Joe".  He's the one in the flannel and broom.

(Thank you, "Joe's" parents, for letting me post this story.  You have a great kid, there!)

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