I don’t mean to brag, but I think my children are natural born performers.
This weekend marked their Lithuanian folk dancing and singing debuts and they did smashingly well, if I do say so myself.
Jonas even sang a two-line solo.
The mere thought of that solo kept me up at night in the month leading up to the recital. It’s always a gamble to put a newly minted five year old behind a mic in front of an auditorium full of people. I was afraid that come go time, he’d flat out refuse to sing, or worse, start telling knock-knock jokes.
But I’m proud to say my fears were mostly unfounded because my son delivered his lines loudly and with confidence.
Next year we’ll work on pitch.
The V-meister for her part was born to folk dance. She was quick and nimble and knew her moves backwards and forwards.
Not to mention everyone else’s moves, as well. God help you if you were her partner or the kid who pivoted in the wrong direction on stage, because the V-meister was there to yank you gently by the arm or quietly hiss “Go! Go! GO!” whenever you missed your cue.
I congratulated her after the concert and told her how well she’d performed.
She said, “I know.”
We’ll be working on modesty and decorum next year.
But when I saw those kids dancing and singing their little hearts out up there, it made all the late nights of back-to-back rehearsals worth it. I helped out with the children’s choir this year, and you’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to get a group of pre-schoolers to stand in a straight line. And at how easily rhythm sticks in the hands of those self-same pre-schoolers can lend themselves to eye injuries.
I’m not going to say there wasn’t any nose picking going on up on that stage Saturday night, and it’s a rare four-year-old boy who can resist flipping his size 4T shirt over his head in a prolonged moment of boredom. But when all was said and done, the little singers and dancers did us very proud, reminding me that there’s a tangible payoff for the frustration inherent in trying to raise bi-lingual kids.
And that payoff is video footage of one’s son dressed as a bumble bee to be played at my discretion for future girlfriends.
Vija has always loved participating in Lithuanian activities, but I’ve had to prod Jonas along. You may recall he’s the one who wrestled with a patriotic crisis of faith when he informed me earlier this year that he would no longer be speaking Lithuanian. “In the U.S.A., you speak da U.S.A.” he said. “You no speak da Li-too-way-nee-yun.”
It’s still a struggle. I don’t know how long we’ll last, but I think that performing on stage this weekend made him realize, in his way, that he’s a part of something pretty cool.
Yesterday he informed me that he will continue to be Lithuanian, but only on Mondays (that’s when we rehearse.)
I guess I’ll take it.
More photos on my Flickr page here.
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