The reason I had poetry on the brain late last night is because we'd attended an open mic night, with music, poetry readings, and a somewhat disastrous monologue.
Unfortunately, the monologue was performed by...me.
Here's the thing with parenting. It doesn't matter how much advice you get, most of it is still trial and error. For instance, if you don't know if your toddler is ready to sit through an hour and a half of performances, you try. Then you realize you erred. Trial and error.
The entire evening we were whispering, "Chickie, sit down!" "Chickie, be quiet!" "Chickie, don't head-butt Mommy!" My dear friend Laurel, whose church was hosting the event, was good enough to carry Chickie out a couple of times, so that she could play in their nursery area. But I was on edge the entire time, desperately determined to make sure my child didn't distract too much from the performances.
Then it was my turn. I was introduced, and I started the monologue--a fun witty piece from Oscar Wilde's The Ideal Husband. About a line into it I started hearing signs of a struggle coming from where Jason and Chickie were sitting.
"I want to go see Mommy! I want to go see Mommy!"
Through the distraction, I tried to stay in character and remember my hastily-memorized lines. I got about halfway through the short piece, and then my ears were met with the sound of toddler feet running toward me. When she reached me, she cried happily, "MOMMY!" (Later Jason explained he figured it would be better just to let her go since she was going to scream her little head off if he carried her out. I understood his reasoning; when she has a goal, she is not easily deterred.)
I dropped the British accent, took my eyes away from the point I was focusing on for the monologue, and looked at the audience with a smile.
"Intermission time!" I declared.
Thankfully, they laughed, and I got down on my knees and asked Chickie if she could sit right next to me while I finished. "Okay, Mommy!" she declared.
I tried to bring my brain back into some semblance of order as I got back into the monologue, but the distraction of a stage was too much for my little girl, and she wasn't seated for long. As I finished the piece, I'm afraid I was terribly upstaged by the toddler behind me.
She went to a microphone (that wasn't turned on) and said, "I'm Chickie!"
She then spied a keyboard (thankfully, also off), and said, "Mommy, I want to play piano!"
When the longest two-minute monologue in history was finally over, I put Chickie on my hip, smiled again at the gracious group and told them, "Laurel said to me earlier tonight, 'This is Chickie's first time seeing you perform, isn't it?'" I paused. "I think it'll be the last, for awhile."