Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's possible we made a parenting misstep

But I'm not willing to concede that point. I am, however, preparing my response to Child Protective Services should word of our week reach them.

It all started innocently enough. We have a long history of actually answering Alison's questions when she asks them. I contend -- though Amy Tokash and Jeff Reed have each disagreed on occasion -- that I have always presented said answers in an age-appropriate way.

For example, when she asked how babies get out of there, I gave her an edited but truthful answer. It was totally not my fault that she informed Jenna of the facts at a McDonald's where the girls (probably around age 4) and Amy were munching on fries next too a really pregnant lady. "Look! A deer!" was Amy's response when Jenna's jaw dropped and her eyes eclipsed her little face. 

Jeff wasn't happy a couple years earlier when Ali suprised him as he strolled by her open bathroom door saying, "Hey Daddy. Wanna see my bagina?!"

But mostly, it's been fairly routine. She asks. I answer. Information is a good thing.

So when we she turned 14 and had a couple of years of theater under her belt, we thought she was ready for Spotlight, an annual AIDS fund fundraiser that Jeff and I have attended for years. Our friend Lisa Vielee does PR for the IN Health Foundation. It's a night where a bunch of artists donate their day off to give the crowd snippets of amazing art ranging from the symphony to children's dance and voice to drag shows, opera, ballet, contemporary dance, etc...

It's dressy and fabulous and on a school night so a huge treat. Plus, it's a really important fundraiser for a really important cause and we are happy to both support it and talk about its importance to Ali. 

So the night progresses. Lisa strangely doesn't sit beside me. I think nothing of it. Ali is between Jeff and me and enthralled with the early performances. She cooed at the young dancers. She guffawed at the riske jokes from the cross-dressing magician/comedian and listened intently to the one-woman chat with the unseen, discarded old boyfriend.

She was slightly embarrassed when a couple of Speedo-clad young men carried a cardboard automoblie for a Car Wash act. This isn't unusual. From a young age, she's been vocal about the need for people of all genders to cover up in public.

So the evening is nearing its end when Dance Kaleidecope is due up. This contemporary dance troupe is amazing. I'm  not qualified to describe what they do. It's a mix of ballet and modern dance that makes you just marvel at the human body in top condition. You're blown way and jealous all at the same time. We never really know what to expect, except to know it'll be amazing.

Let  me repeat that. We never really know what to expect. Lisa Vielee, however, always knows what to expect because she works with the event. Remember where she sat? Not by me, right. Not by Ali either.

Because the performance was, in the words of one reviewer, "as if the entire audience received a collective lap dance."

Or in the words of Alison Renee Reed when the extremely buff dancers walked out in the smallest Speedos in the history of Lycra carrying kitchen chairs: "Sweet Jesus, what have you brought me to."

For about six seconds, I channeled Amy Tokash and almost pointed out the deer in the room. I didn't pick up my jaw from the floor though because I might have missed something. It WAS amazing.

Appropriate for a 14-year-old? Who can say? She's had the sex talk and the sex class. I don't think either was as clear on the actual anatomy of the male form as DK was. After the initial shock, I leaned over and told her, "Your dad dances like that after you go to bed."

She choked a bit before realizing I was joking. Later that night, he waited until she came in to say goodnight and then walked into the bedroom with a kitchen chair.  She fled.

The important thing to remember here is that she's aware of lots of different forms of art and she knows we all need to work together on important public health issues.

I followed up one dressy/school night event with another one that did not involve dancing but was also fabulous: a tribute to Judy O'Bannon and her amazing contributions to the state of Indiana. It was a reunion of folks from the Bayh-O'Bannon-Kernan years. Super fun. Super appropriate. 
I truly became a better person for my association with Frank and Judy O'Bannon, Cindy Athey, Lois Stewart, Bobby and Helen Small, Jonathan Swain, Tina Noel and a list of people too long to name.

I'll never forget how gracious the governor was to my father; how Bobby helped me through my dad's funeral; how Lois tried to make me be more of a lady. So many great memories made sweeter because we've not lost touch through the years. 

If even one person thinks of me the way I think of my FOB family, I will consider myself a successful woman.


We ended our artsy week activities with the second production of Time Machine by the YATkids. One more today and that puts an end to this session. Ali will have to take a break for a while due to summer school but we'll be back in the fall I'm sure.

Oh! we also put the final capper to Ali's birthday celebration. Her party got pushed back by YAT but we finally got it all in with a trip to Incrediplex. If you're in Indy and you want a fun place to hang out, you should check it. Bowling, laser tag, basketball, soccer, arcade, even a bungee jumping thing.  Well worth your time.  Even a bistro.

Next week is the CKS 8th grade trip to Washington DC. I'm a chaperone. The teachers are asking all the chaperones to do exactly what Ali fears I'll do by nature: yell at the kids if they misbehave. She thinks I'll embarrass her.

I'm pretty sure I covered that on Monday.

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