Backstage at Maya’s last dance recital, I suddenly became responsible for keeping thirty kids silent just off stage. The other ladies with the skills to keep them contained had other problems to deal with.
The group’s reaction under my supervision was to flail about and talk loudly like their mute buttons had been freed. Without threats and stern looks, good behavior was shed like a winter coat in July.
Maya wasn’t the only kid to hold it together. Three others looked at the rest, and we simultaneously issued a harsh “SHHH!” It worked for a moment until the spider walked through the group like Moses parting the sea.
Most were happy to have an excuse to voice their excited screams. Tap shoes stomped and jazz shoes slid like snakes to kill the spider who ended up in the awkward situation. Most were anxious to be the one who would stomp first and make the kill.
Maya and her small group of kind-hearted comrades formed a circle around the spider. My daughter keeps a pink bug catching net in the house all spring and summer. Each moth, fly, and bee is carefully ensnared and taken outside. Though she is terrified of spiders, they also receive honorable escape. Typically, I am summoned to help in these phobic rescues. She has been known to shun a bathroom following a spider sighting for weeks.
One girl backstage became Maya’s personal shield as she dove to cover the spider with her body. The outnumbered group became the arachnid’s only hope for survival. The rest hissed for a kill, crowding in as I struggled to comprehend the complexity of the situation. I was having Lord of The Flies flashbacks while trying to listen for the queue for the group to go on stage. I hated having responsibility for this cross-section of humanity wearing deceptively adorable costumes.
My daughter overcame her fear and scooped the scrambling spider into her hands. Her sparse cohorts in rescue stood up to the majority in a circle around her. Maya dropped it despite her good intentions. The ranks were tightened despite being outnumbered.
I managed to find my voice and silence the mob. Maya protected the spider with cupped hands as I carefully grasped a leg. One of the protectors opened a door. The spider and I made our march of triumph, though the arachnid seemed to understand our good intentions. I placed him in a bed of clover. My girl smiled at me.
This stint as a mom has some moments of glory.