And finally, as we put the concert season to rest at chez Bollinger (until next year) a brief summary of Genevieve’s Evening at the Concert:
1. The Activity Backpack* was unzipped immediately upon seating ourselves in the lush and air-conditioned auditorium of Saratoga High School. (The Bollinger family was on time, or the show was late in starting – however you care to look at it.)
*Thank you all, by the way, for your suggestions as to what to put in the backpack. Many of your ideas helped us to get through at least the first half of the show!
A moment, first, to describe what went on at chez Bollinger BEFORE the Activity Backpack was first unzipped at the concert:
The rush to seat ourselves by 6:00pm was preceded by a mad dash to drop off the performers – Max and Chloe – at the stage door by the prescribed 5:30pm call. The almost successful drop off at the high school stage door came after a frantic family schedule that began at 4:30pm when some family members ate a dinner of chicken tenders, broccoli on the side. The performers would NOT eat before the show because not only were they overcome by a few preshow jitters, they were also completely frazzled about homework yet to be completed and last minute concerns about elements of the performance uniforms that the mother might have forgotten to wash. The mother was also forced to quickly bathe the youngest child whose feet had become so sticky and soiled while wearing her flip flops to the lemonade sale event at her 2nd grade brother’s school earlier that afternoon, that a thorough cleansing was absolutely necessary before dressy crisp white sandals could adorn her feet. The mother accomplished the foot bath and a quick sloshing of the rest of her three-year-old body in five minutes flat.
With the clock ticking, the uneaten food for the “cannot eat right now” performers had to be wrapped up briskly and put back in the fridge for consumption at a much later hour. Used dishes remained on counters and tables throughout many rooms of the house (as the meal itself, for those eating it, was not conducted in an orderly fashion). There was no time to rinse the food residue and condiment sauce smears that remained on the plates. The residue would instead harden like a swift drying glue and would need to be scrubbed and scoured furiously at midnight by the exhausted father.
With a mere five minutes left before the official call time, it was discovered, with great horror, that someone (who shall remain nameless as there has been plenty of recrimination toward the guilty party already) had forgotten their music for the performance in their school locker. A most unfortunate error. Thankfully, the lockers at Redwood Middle School are OUTSIDE, so the mother was able to make a quick trip with the performers in tow to the middle school first, grab the music and get to the stage door at the high school auditorium, a five-minute-with-no-traffic ride, six minutes past the call time. Many prayers and chants were uttered by both performers, beseeching that no points be taken from their current high grade averages because of this errant tardiness.)
Having completed the performer drop-off, the mother rushed home to meet up with the father (whom she knew would hungrily ask about dinner – how annoying!), walk the dog, put on make-up over her lemonade sweat stained face and dress herself in the twenty minutes remaining before the concert began. The mother somehow managed this, though the dog walk was the briefest and the make-up application the quickest. With seconds to spare, the youngest daughter decided to re-arrange all the items the mother had carefully selected and put into the Activity Backpack earlier in the day so the youngest daughter would be fully entertained and occupied for this final concert of the season. The mother then tossed whatever items she could find in the trail of discarded items left in the wake of her roaming daughter and charged out the door to make the five minute drive to the concert. Earlier that hour, the mother and father had decided that each one of them would have to drive a family car to the concert since it was predicted that some family members would probably need to return home before the night came to an official close.
2. The items that Gigi chose to bring in her activity backpack for the show included: a tin of Hello Kitty band aids, plastic food in a “Glenda the Good Witch” star-shaped tin, 4 books, 2 coloring books (yet the crayons were removed and somehow missed by the mother in her re-packing of the trail of discarded items), a plastic Dora cell phone and two brightly colored shoe laces. Throughout the first two-thirds of the first half of the concert, the items were taken out and then put back into the Activity Backpack many times over. Each unpack-repack session was accompanied by loud unzipping and re-zipping sounds that echoed throughout our corner of the auditorium.
3. By the end of Chloe’s portion of the show, Gigi and I had moved our Activity Backpack and ourselves to a new venue… OUTSIDE the auditorium… where we sat on a bench entertaining other like minded toddler-aged children and their parents. The small group of children who encircled Genevieve never tired of her performance. With rapt attention, they watched as she unzipped the backpack, took out all of her treasures one by one, presented each treasured item with elaborate explanation (even applying several red Hello Kitty band aids to the wrists of a couple of the toddlers who stood closest to her) and then put each item back into the pack while precisely counting, “One…two…three….” Zzziiipppp. All packed up. Unzzziiip, now the presentation would begin anew to the great enjoyment of her enthralled crowd.
During the intermission of the concert, Chloe emerged from the glass doors of the auditorium, squinting in the early evening sunlight that beamed across the auditorium concourse where Genevieve’s Activity Backpack show was underway.
4. Back pack in hand, Gigi was half-dragged, have nudged to our car, unwittingly forced to leave her back pack performance and her adoring audience. Finally, at home, as I snapped a few pictures of Chloe with her musician’s award, Genevieve demanded from the kitchen doorway that she would not have to have another bath and instead was in need of an ice cream cone. Then, she would give an encore presentation of the Activity Backpack show for anyone who wished to attend before she retired for the night.