I'm learning in my advancing years that birthdays just aren't what they used to be. When you're an adult and a parent, the world doesn't just stop for the day when it's your birthday. Life must carry on.
On Wednesday, my 36th birthday, I got up early and took carpool to preschool and then waited around to get to Bianca's school at the right time to see her presentation she'd been working so hard on for the History Fair. Bianca had done her project on the revolution of ragtime (music). Instead of doing a board or web site, Bianca prepared a "performance" where she was a college professor teaching her mock (or invisible) class, Music History 101. She had to have it all memorized. She prepared four ragtime excerpts to play. We had gone over it and over it the night before.
The teacher sent me and the other parents home, saying the judge hadn't shown up and would we please return an hour and a half later. So I drove home and returned later. At that time, Bianca did her presentation. It was good. It wasn't perfect. In the middle of the performance, right as Bianca was supposed to play Maple Leaf Rag, she drew a blank, looked to me as if there was something I could do when she realized that she hadn't brought the piano music up with her. She turned to the teacher and asked if she could get it. The teacher said yes. When it was all over, I told Bianca she should have been prepared and more organized and began walking away. As I turned away to leave, I heard another student's mom go up to Bianca and gush over how awesome she did. And I sadly walked to my car and drove home and wondered why I can't just accept that she did pretty good and still tell her how wonderfully she did. Why do I always have to be so intense about everything? Why do I require perfection?
I felt bad all day. I prepared what I would say to Bianca when she walked in the door after school, heartbroken that she didn't proceed on to district for the History Fair. I would tell her that I know she's so wonderful and I just want everyone else to see what I see and she needs to live up to her potential.
Much to my surprise, Bianca came home from school much happier than I anticipated. She said the judge finally showed up in the afternoon (I hadn't realized she wasn't there earlier). She was able to do her performance again and did it much better and the judge told her she'd be moving on. I'm so happy for her. Well, sort of. The History Fair for the district is in March. That's a lot more time to have to keep working on and perfecting her project.
My birthday ended on an up after all. Besides the exciting news about History Fair, Eric made me a special birthday dinner and we enjoyed it candlelit and with good relaxed conversation after the girls were in bed. For that little while in the candle-light, I guess the world did stop after all.
Here's a little peek of Bianca's (I mean, Professor Mezzoforte's) History Fair project in the time before my camera's batteries died: