Monday, December 07, 2009

Mom Goggles

Beer Goggles: phenomenon in which one's consumption of alcohol makes physically unattractive persons appear beautiful; summed up by the phrase, "there are no ugly women at closing time"

I was not the kind of college student or young adult who ever got in the position of beer goggling, but I'm familiar with the term.

Just as a potential partner might look a lot more appealing when you are gazing through the influence of a few adult beverages, I can't help think of the similar effect produced when we are evaluating our own offspring. Let's call them "Mom Goggles."

Last spring, Amanda chose to participate in a recital at school. Any of the music students could select a piece outside of what they are learning at school and sing or play it at a special concert. Amanda is not one to pass up an opportunity to be on stage. It was a nice event. There were about twenty acts, and we were all on the stage behind the curtain in a dimly lit concert/showcase type of atmosphere.

As I was watching her play, I thought she was fantastic! stupendous! excellent! I felt badly for some of the other parents and children as I listened to saxes that squeaked and voices that broke.

Terry had to miss the concert, so I recorded her short trumpet solo on her Flip Video camera (one of her favorite gifts from last year -- a great idea for tweens!). When I watched it later, I noticed that there was a flub or two. She still did a great job, but it made me wonder if perhaps those other parents didn't notice the missed notes, or off-key singing when their children performed.

Last night, Amanda was in her last Christmas musical at church (it's for 1st - 6th graders). I had watched the dress rehearsal on Saturday and had been practicing her lines with her at home. I was very proud of her. She said her lines loudly, expressively, and with great animation. That is, until the show last night. Last night she started strong with her lines, but on her 3rd or 4th line, she froze up. Her dad and I sat there watching her face redden and a look of panic cross her face. She recovered and moved on, but I could tell she was shaken.

When I picked her up afterwards, I gave her a hug and told her she did a great job, and then the tears started. "I messed up," she said.

"I know, but you still did a great job. People laughed at your funny line, and you were very expressive. Sometimes that happens -- people get nervous or whatever, and once you start thinking about it, it's hard to recover. Dad and I know that you knew your lines, and we are very proud of you."

"But this was my last time, and I won't have a chance to show people that I really can do it. That's what makes me so mad. I knew the lines. I wasn't nervous. I don't know what happened."

A milkshake and a McDouble on the way home -- as well as her brother's, her dad's, and her mom's continued assertion that she did a great job -- seemed to have taken the edge off of her reaction to her performance.

Maybe wearing Mom Goggles doesn't mean missing the mistakes, but simply seeing the bigger picture, and wanting them to do their very best and be proud of their efforts? When I saw her disappointment, I really wished that I could pass on those goggles that her dad and I had on so that she could see herself through our eyes.


Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Great post! So often my "mom goggles" are at one extreme or the other - either I see perfection or I see every mistake. Finding the balance too see the bigger picture is the key.

Tonight (Monday) Will has his first group performance for our home school co-op. He's a bird in the Parable of the Sower. He only has one line - Tweet. Tweet. But I'm sure he'll tweet with great enthusiasm. :)

morninglight mama said...

I love this, Jennifer!! I like your Mom Goggles idea, but like your first commenter, I also have the extremes in both directions.

Congrats to Amanda for having "messed up" AND gotten through it. I've had PLENTY of those experiences. (High school graduation valedictorian speech... messed up, and I survived. Yay!)

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

What a great post! I agree that Mom Goggles often just color things in a positive light and see the big picture -- that's a good thing!

(Although I know some parents who can see NO wrong in their kids...ever. But that's a different conversation altogether.)

I feel for Amanda...I've been there, forgetting my lines and freezing on stage. And feeling horrible about it later. So glad she had you guys to cheer her up and remind her what a fantastic job she did.