Lady in Red

red dressLast night my second-oldest daughter participated in her first high school choir concert. I love attending choir concerts because it brings back so many memories for me. I was in a choir from the time I was eleven years old all the way through college.

Yeah, I’m a geek.

My daughter is a sophomore in the girls chorus. There are always more girls than boys who are willing to sing non-Usher songs in public at that age, so this choir includes sophomore and junior girls who aren’t in the audition coed choirs of the upperclassmen. Any guy of any grade who is willing to put on a choir robe and sing classical, folk, and gospel tunes is basically a shoo-in for the coed choirs.

While both coed choirs have fancy matching robes, dresses or tuxes for concert attire, the girls chorus isn’t an audition choir so their dress code isn’t as coordinated. They’re just supposed wear a nice dress for concerts, or so we assumed.

As we were driving madly to the high school last night waaay past the 6:30 p.m. time she was supposed to be there, my daughter looked down at her lovely print maxi dress and said, “I hope I look OK. Our director never really said what we were supposed to wear.”

“You look beautiful, sweetheart,” I responded with a classic mother reassurance. I dropped her off at the door so she could hustle in and hopefully not be docked on her grade for being the unfortunate offspring of a parent prone to tardiness, and I went to park the car.

When the concert began and her choir walked out onto the risers, I saw that either the rest of girls were told to keep the dress code a secret from my daughter, or my daughter doesn’t listen very well when instructions are given. All the girls were wearing dresses—she got that part right—but they were all in black and white. Apparently the director had told the choir to wear black and white ensembles to give them some uniformity on stage.

My daughter’s long print dress did have a little black and white in it, along with A LOT of bright red, which stuck out like a maxi sore thumb among the dalmatian pack. Luckily some other rebel chick was wearing hot pink tights with her black and white dress so my daughter wasn’t the only distraction.

The hot pink tights were obviously on purpose to make a statement, but my daughter is not a statement-making type. She’s a prone-to-not-pay-attention-when-instructions-are-given type as well as a very shy type who prefers to keep on the down low, which is difficult when you’re 5’9″ in a busy red print maxi dress standing on risers among a bunch of shrimpy chicks in black and white.

To make matters worse, her self-consciousness made her nervous and extremely fidgety so that long red dress was making big waves up there on stage. I tried using motherly mind power to force her to hold still, but unfortunately the telepathic lines of communication were down.

When the girls chorus finished their portion of the concert, my daughter came down and sat by me in the audience. I decided it best at that time to refrain from comment about the dress color, the nervous fidgeting, or the lack of listening skills. I decided to focus on the positive, “You sounded great,” I said, though I hadn’t heard a single note since my brain was too busy trying to use The Force to make her hold still.

“Thanks, Mom,” she said seemingly unaffected.

Knowing her timid personality, I thought she’d be a wreck about standing out, but she seemed fine, so I was glad I hadn’t said anything. We sat there enjoying the other choirs in their uniformity of sound and fashion until intermission when my daughter excused herself to go to the bathroom. She returned in time to finish out the concert, then we went out for ice cream afterward to celebrate.

On the way to the ice cream place my daughter confessed, “Mom, I didn’t really need to go to the bathroom during intermission. I went in there to cry about wearing the wrong color dress.”

It’s tough to be fifteen, tall and shy.

I looked over at her in desperation, trying to think of the right words for this moment.

We stared at each other in silence for a moment.

Then, we both busted out laughing!

In between bouts of laughter she said how when she saw everyone else in black and white she felt so stupid and wanted to ditch, but she decided to stick it out since her choir grade depended on it and it would be way lame to flunk choir, though she thought she’d probably get docked some points for wearing the wrong color.

I told her the hot pink tights chick would probably get nailed too, and hers was obviously an act of open rebellion which should be counted worse. If the choir director knows my daughter at all he’ll know her faux pas was pure cluelessness.

We laughed harder.

She told me how as she was coming off the stage some cheeky kid in the audience said to her, “Hey, you were supposed to wear black and white, don’t you know.”

“I wanted to smack him!” she said between snorts. She said she was so self-conscious and nervous up there knowing she would stick out.

I told her I couldn’t tell. I just saw a beautiful girl and heard beautiful music.

Moral of the story: Sometimes the truth isn’t all black and white. Sometimes there’s a lot of red.

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