Note to Self: 4 Reminders as I Head into My Daughter’s College Auditions

Behind the curtain

My youngest daughter set off on her very first college audition this past weekend.  As the trip was some 2,500 miles from our home, I accompanied her.

Not unlike a gymnastics meet (think Olympic qualifications), the audition process is one that is filled with all of the excitement and anxiety that one would expect.  Depending on the program, admittance rates are lower than those of Harvard or Stanford; and, this weekend her audition is at the Harvard of musical theater.

And, cue that vomiting feeling at the pit of your stomach.

But trying hard to be someone who practices what I preach, heading into the weekend I reminded myself of four important points so as not to drive her nuts:

  1. I know just enough to be dangerous…so I need to be careful not to say a word.  This is my third child to go through this college audition process (given I cannot hold a tune if I carried it in a bucket, how I birthed this remarkable group of singer/actors is beyond me).  Despite my lack of personal participation in musical theater, I’ve certainly sat through enough productions, voice and acting lessons and have close friendships with several of the teachers my children have worked with through the years.  I’ve heard the corrections and feedback that these fabulous professionals have given my child, so it cannot hurt to reinforce it right?  WRONG.  My job is mom, not coach.  At this point, as she heads into the actual audition, she’s had all the coaching she needs.  She knows when to breathe, how to shape her mouth and to be sure to say her final vowel sounds.  It’s her turn to show it off.
  2. My job is to make sure she sleeps, eats, hydrates, gets to the audition on time and that all fees are paid.  The rest of it is up to her.  Her clothing, her music, her head shots and even how much she practices before the audition are her responsibilities.  Yes, I can iron her outfit, if she wants me to.  I can make a suggestion as to which outfit she chooses to wear, if she asks my advice.  But at this point, she is in the driver’s seat.  My job is to be the parent and do nothing to contribute to the stress of an already stressful day.
  3. The post-mortem (if there is one) is lead by her.  When she finishes my job is to give her a hug and ask her if she needs anything before we leave campus.  It’s not to say “How did it go?”  She will tell me what she wants to tell me.  I will listen and tell her that I am proud of her for what she did today, because I am.  If they accept her or not, she did something very brave: she put her creative soul on the line, standing before a group of adults who are strangers and telling them her dreams.  Am I dying to know every last deal?  You betcha I am.  But it’s her story to tell if and when she chooses to tell it.
  4. Enjoy this time with her and help her have fun.  One way or another, be it this school or another, my baby girl will be out of my nest next fall.  I am going to savor this one-on-one time with her.  We took in a walk around this city that she has never visited before and went to an art museum.  We watched too much TV.  We worked out together.  We had a leisurely breakfast where we were waited on by a man who has build his entire house out of junk (he showed us pictures to prove it) and learned of his story (which was fascinating).  It was a trip neither of us will ever forget.

I could go on with other reflections from this trip, but I am stopping at four because that is our lucky number, and like most things in life, a little luck always helps!

Break a leg, Mataya!  I am so proud of you.