Mother of the Year, I am Not!
As a parent I strive to expose my children to culture; music of all types, galleries, museums, plays and the like. The goal of course, is to make them well-rounded members of society able to participate in a wide range of conversations, having a little bit of knowledge in a variety of subject matter. So, when I recently realized last year’s Christmas present, tickets to Westchester’s Broadway Dinner Theater, were days from expiring and having no desire to let $80 a ticket fly out the window, I did what I thought any good mom would do; reserve seats at the show, whatever it was. How bad can it be? Jekyll and Hyde. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides, it was a musical. Aren’t all musicals lighthearted and gay? Question: At the age of 45 and since this tale has been around, oh, since 1886, how is it possible I did not know the plot and ending? Doesn’t everyone know “the work is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often spuriously called split personality, wherein within the same person there is both an apparently good and an evil…” ? Isn’t it common knowledge that Mr. Hyde wreaks havoc (by way of murder) on the streets of london once Dr. Jekyll injects himself with the mind altering serum? Apparently not, not me anyway. It must have been the word “musical” that made it all seem, well, like a good idea at the time. Lesson learned: Just because it has the word “musical” in it, doesn’t mean it’s a happy play.
It never dawned on me for one second that my sweet, sensitive, caring, 9-year old daughter would be so disturbed by the this performance that she would be exposed to the crumbs on the floor underneath our table, rather than the “culture” on the stage for the better part of Act II. You would think one would take note when their child notices she is one of only two, maybe three other children in the theater. But when she asks outright, “Mom, what is this rated? Am I even allowed to be here?”, surely this is a red flag for any parent. Wisdom to impart: Taking your 9-year old to a play that explores man’s internal battle between good and evil and re-enacts the killing of an innocent love interest (among several others) is well, ill-advised.
Hindsight and parenthood. It seems pretty clear now. We spent the hour’s ride home discussing the broader more philosophical meanings behind this sad and fairly gory play and she came away only slightly scarred. I think she gets it now, somewhat. I would have rather had that discussion oh, say, when she was 12 or 13 maybe instead of 9. So mother of the year, I am not but try I can and so I will.
Tell me, have you survived a similar parental faux pas or inadvertently bestowed one?
I’d love to know I’m not alone.