Sunday, December 04, 2005

And Henceforth It Shall Be Known as the Performing Arts Vomitorium

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH, STOP READING NOW. IT ONLY GETS WORSE.

She made it through the dance. That's the good news. One of our sweet little Nutcracker bon-bons, one of the ones who dons the drindel and crowns her head with fake long braids made out of pantyhose, was stricken with the vilest of stomach viruses, and the miracle is this: she made it through the dance, through the hot lights on stage, through the possible anxiety of performing. And not only did she make it through...she sparkled and R. and I watched through tears.

It was after the dance, in the green room (which has an oh-so-poignantly-appropriate name now) where, all hell spilled forth. Enough to drown a small country, like perhaps Lichtenstein. It was copious. It was tsunami-like. It was projectile. It was macaroni-and-cheese redux. Do I have to paint a clearer picture?

Now, I am not a vomiter. Not so much. I have a relatively strong stomach, and as such, I get sort of, how shall we say? Freaked out when any such activity happens in my vicinity. A secret fear I have had is that when the crisis arises, and I've known that ultimately it would someday, I would flee for the hills if either of my precious step-daughters should begin to toss her cookies.

But today I feel I have earned my title of step-mother, for I did not leave. Nay, I stood proudly, with my hand gently resting on Little Miss B.'s back. And while I did not have the sense to grab a trashcan, nor did I have the sense to step away so that my sling-back dress shoes would not be splashed, I did remain. And the beauty of it (and believe me that this was not what one would call a "beautiful" scene, surrounded by the children of Fort Wayne's oldest money [of which we are not a part, but rather one of the artistic "fringe" groups]), was that it didn't even occur to me to leave her. Instead, I did what I could which was to murmur, "It's okay, baby."

That night as I was tucking her into bed, she said, "Am I forever going to be known as the kid who threw up at the Nutcracker?" "No, no," I said, even as I flashed the picture of Peter Pentsos puking all over my snowboots after a 7th grade ski trip. There are some times when perhaps it's better to shield your children from the world's grim truth.

5 comments:

mark said...

It is a good thing that you were there for her in her time of need, and not me. I am a sympathy vomiter. If someone vomits within a three mile radius, there is a good chance I will vomit with them. In solidarity. I guess I live by the rule that no one should have to vomit alone.
In fact, most of our family stories end with "...and then Mark puked."

Contemplative Chaplain said...

Oh, you poor thing! I had a friend whose husband was a sympathy vomiter and while he and his wife while she was giving birth his wife was yelling, "Don't you dare throw up! Don't you dare!" He passed out instead!

Thanks for reading, and commenting.

Songbird said...

You are a brilliant step-mom. I do find the vomit and blood of my own children to be somewhat less horrifying than the unrelated sort, but it's all pretty awful.
Someday this will be a story of what a trooper she was. My son was once in a production of "A Christmas Carol" in which most of the cast came down with a stomach bug sometime during the 30+ performance run. It was so bad they kept buckets in the wings! So it could be worse.

Lois said...

This is so touching, so beautiful, and so poignantly funny. My heart goes out to Little Miss B and my hat off to her stepmom for forgetting self and the soiling of her sling back shoes and reflexively, out of love, (not even knowing herself of what she is capable) hanging in there, comforting and reassuring the little nutcracker. The tears came when Little Miss B's searching bedtime question came. That the family will always remember--at such a young age already worrying about her legacy. This delightfully written piece has been either forwarded to or printed out for many here in Texas. Have you thought about combining all these and publishing a book?

see-through faith said...

beautiful and yes print a book :)