When you think of intrepid explorers and their conquests, rugged mountaineers immediately come to mind. Those brave or mad enough to not only scale the peak of Everest but even scratch the Seven Summits off their list.
However, I am incredibly proud of my intrepid Mighty Miss, who refused to let anything stand in her way and boldly insisted that Mummy filled out that application form to audition for the Sound of Music .
Miss as Gretal/Marta at her Musical Theatre performance in August.
This audition wasn’t just for some local production, either. It is for THE Sound of Music to be held at Sydney’s prestigious Capital Theatre, starring alongside Cameron Daddo, Marina Prior and Lorraine Bailey…names which might not mean a lot of overseas but are huge mega stars in Australia.
This is the Australian Big Time.
Miss closely resembles Marta, aside from the fringe.
Miss is auditioning for the role of Marta, the second youngest of the Von Trapp children.
Of course, this is all incredibly exciting and such an amazing experience…just to even get an audition.
However, the unsung story here is that against the odds, Miss has put herself out there against the very best. This is the same shy child who used to hide behind my skirts and didn’t speak.
Miss in Hospital
Not only that, Miss has severe vocal nodules and has been seeing a voice therapist once a week for the past month and had been prescribed “voice naps”. She has been told to practice her breathing and have frequent sips of water just to speak, let alone sing and these were pretty strong words! After all, we couldn’t mess around.
These vocal nodules have developed not only from what is known as “vocal abuse” (ie shouting at big brother, Mummy etc) but also though reflux from a condition which affects her digestion….Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying. Due to this condition, she has been markedly underweight and was struggling to get through the day before we finally found a diagnosis and she received medical treatment. She has since gained a bit of weight and perhaps grown up a little too. She is still petite but that’s a good thing too…just as long as she eats.
Under these circumstances, obviously attending such a big audition is not what the speech therapist prescribed and not wanting Miss to experience humiliating defeat, I naturally advised her “next time”.
However, her big blue eyes welled up and her body stiffened and that iron will I know only too well, rallied its troops: “But Mummy, you don’t understand. I’m the right height. I’m the right height now and I’ll never be the right height again.”
Of course, you can just see my weaker will withdraw its forces altogether and concede defeat.
There was no point even going into battle. I filled out the forms.
What would be, would be and who was I to stand in the way of a little girl’s heartfelt dream? To knock her down before she even got started? After all, haven’t I been the one encouraging her to have a go and putting my foot down when that same iron will was shooting itself in the foot?
Miss on Stage Performing with her Musical Theatre Class.
Ironically, the same small size which often infuriates her, will actually help her for this audition.
Marta is petite and Miss actually looks quite a lot like her, which I guess is also why she scored the audition.
Thank goodness, her vocal nodules have also improved a lot and she can sing clearly again.
So, we emailed off the application and I don’t know whether I expected her to get an audition or not because by the time the news arrived that she’d been successful, I’d caught a severe lung infection and my chest was rattling like an old jalopy. Given my auto-immune disease and the fibrosis in my lungs, this was looking like hospital and possibly worse.
Two years ago, I’d caught pneumonia and actually stopped breathing briefly one night, which as you could imagine, was absolutely terrifying and I could see I was heading back there again and needed to pull out all the stops. My GP switched me to some industrial strength antibiotics and I had 24 hours to respond or it was hospital. I was pretty sure they’d work as this had done the trick last time but the stress and also the question of knowing when and if I should go to hospital plagued us. We were weighing up the benefits of intensive treatment versus catching something even worse and it’s the latter that sees us aim to stay home.
I was also on the nebuliser every two hours.
Accompanying Miss while on the nebuliser. I personally find combination of preparing for the audition almost comic. It’s the first time I’ve been on the neb at home for 20 years and I’m only on it for a few minutes at a time. The photo just gives it a resonance, which is a bit over the top.
So, it was into this toxic germ soup of household that the news arrived of my daughter’s audition and that we needed to have her at the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park in Sydney at 9.45 Monday 7th September.
At this point, I was barely able to stagger out of bed to the toilet a metre away and yet I really wanted and needed to be the one to take her. Do this audition thing with my little girl. Yes, to be the proud stage Mum and flaunt her unashamedly like a trophy but more to share the experience with her. Be an active, integral part of her life and be her Mum. Even if I needed to be in a wheelchair rugged up and attached to the nebuliser, I wanted to be there. After living with this wretched auto-immune disease, my own personal antagonist for so long, it’s not uncommon for me to take it on head-on and tell it in no uncertain terms, that it’s not going to stand in my way. “You are not going to come between my family or what I / we want to achieve. You’re not going to get us”.
Most of the time, we surprisingly win!
I really don’t know how and it actually astonishes me.
“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
“…educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom examined the lives of some of America’s most accomplished artists, athletes, and scientists. He discovered that drive and determination, not great natural talent, led to their success in their respective fields”- Howard C Cutler.
So, with only days to go, I am improving. Still a bit rattly but by Monday, I will be there with the Mighty Miss cheering her on. Not just because she can sing but because she has such incredible determination and willpower to overcome hurdles and setbacks and have a go.
Of course, in my mind, this is already a victory!