Holiday Ho Down

I picked my son, PJ, up from his daycare on Tuesday. I signed him out as he grabbed his jacket. While we were walking out the door, PJ’s teacher asked me:

“Will PJ be at the performance tonight?”

“What performance?” I asked.

“The Christmas performance he has been working on all month. I sent a flyer home with him last week!”


Immediately, I texted his dad and grandma to inform them of this event. No one could make it on two hours notice. PJ hadn’t mentioned the performance to me, he couldn’t be too excited, right?

I’m an asshole.

So, I did what any guilt ridden, loser mom would do. I bathed PJ, put him in his holiday best and headed out to his show.

When it was PJ’s turn to sing with his class he proudly made his way onstage.

The music started.

PJ frantically began looking around, he was nervous, he couldn’t find me. His face twisted in a way that I can only describe as MINE.

Genetics have been cruel to my poor son because there he was, front row and center with a spot light radiating on his tiny body, wearing his christmas sweater….

While making my Wedding/Playboy face.


Quickly, I jumped out of my chair and waved my arms at him. PJ finally saw me. His twisted expession softened.

PJ could finally relax.

The next thing I knew, PJ had bent down and was relaxing his bladder.

All through his Christmas pants.

He sang on anyway.

Watching the children up on stage took me back to my own childhood.

Of course it did! Everything is about me, after all.

I was a little older than PJ, maybe, 9. I was in 4th grade. My best friend at the time, Christina, approached me at recess.

“*****, are you going to try out for the Christmas Play after school on Friday?”

What was this Christmas play Christina spoke of? I hadn’t heard of any play!

“I didn’t know we were having a play.” I told her.

“Ya! Everyone is in it, singing in chorus, but they are auditioning dancers for the Holiday Hoedown scene.”



“Are you auditioning?” I asked Christina.

“Yup. You can follow me to room 26 for the audition.” She offered.

Listen, even at age nine, I had no sense of direction. I could get lost in a playhouse.

Friday came. I was SO excited. I was going to nail this audition and I was going to be the star of the Holiday play.

This, was my destiny.

After class, I followed Christina to the audition room. I signed myself in then took a standing spot in the middle of the classroom. The dance teacher put a tape in her boombox and pressed play.

“I’m going to demonstrate a few steps, then, I want you girls to repeate it after me, OK?” She instructed us.

We all nodded in agreement.

The instructor, then, started dancing. We graciously followed her lead.

OK, the rest of the class followed her lead. I had no rhythm. I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

First I bumped into Christina.

The music was blasting,

“Holiday! It’s a holiday hoedown! Having a hoedown around the Christmas tree!”

Next, I tripped over myself and fell.

Not only did I fall but I fell into the girl to the left of me. It was like a domino effect. She fell into the next girl and so on.

The ho’s were going down!

One of the girls gave me a dirty look. I stuck my tongue out at her.

No matter! I was just warming up. I got myself off the floor and continued on. Fall or not, I’m still fabulous!


Once the audition had ended the teacher thanked us all for coming and told us that there would be a posting on the door of the classroom on Monday. We could check the paper for our names that morning to see if we had made the cut.

That weekend, all I could talk or think about was the holiday hoedown! I knew I would make it, I was destined to be a star. I annoyed my parents with non-stop, hoedown jabbering. Christina even grabbed her Barbies and went home after an hour with me that Saturday. Even she had had enough hoedown talk.

Finally, it was Monday morning. I ran to classroom 26. OK, I got lost on the way but ended up running into Christina. I followed that ‘Barbie Bailing Bitch’ to the door. There it was, written on cute snow flake paper.

The winning names!

My name was not on that list.

Christina’s was.


She was so happy, she was jumping up and down.

I wanted to kick her.

On a snowy, cold Idaho night, several weeks later, I was getting ready for the stupid play. I put on the new dress my grandma had sent me for the occasion. I spent hours curling my hair in the bathroom. I plastered my 9 year old face in makeup (yes, even then I packed my face like a circus clown).

I went to the fridge to get out some apple juice for a quick drink before leaving when it happened.

A giant bottle of cold, opened, sparkling wine came crashing out. On its way down, it spilled out all over my dress. Then, it hit the floor and shattered. Wine and glass covering me.

My mom was in the living room watching TV.

“What the f***k did you just do? You stupid little c*nt!” She screamed.

She walked into the kitchen to see me there soaked and bleeding.

“That was my last bottle of Champagne! I can’t believe you just wasted it! I can’t afford to buy more!”

“I’m sorry. It was an accident.” I apologized.

“Why were you in the fridge to begin with?” She asked.

“I was thirsty, I…”

She interrupted me,

“You ruined your dress. I hope it was worth it. Go change and get in the car, you are going to be late!”

I went to my room and put on an old dress that had pink, heart patches on it, my grandmother had recently sewn them on to hide the holes. Then, I got into my moms car.

My mom was still angry and she was pretty drunk. Not a good combination when driving through a snow storm. We slid and skidded all the way to the school. My mom parked out front.

“Go inside.” She ordered.

“Aren’t you going to come and watch?” I asked her franticaly.

“HA, HA! No! I’m mad at you. Maybe your dad will watch. I’ll send him to pick you up.”

With that she grabbed the passenger door and slammed it closed, leaving me there alone in the snow.

“Fu**ing B**ch.” I muttered to myself.

I was crying.

Quickly, I got control of myself, wiped my tears and made my way into the school. I followed my class onto the stage. The lights went out, the music started.

I watched the curtains open. The children all started singing, except for me. I just stood there with my arms crossed and my lips shut.

For an hour.

Then it was time for the “Holiday Hoedown.” I watched Christina and the other lucky seven girls dancing stage in their new, sparking, pink cowboy boots. They had huge smiles on their ugly faces.

I hate them.

Once it was over they joined the rest of us in the choir for our final song.

I saw my dad and brother walk in. With no seating left, they stood on the side and waved at me. I smiled for the first time that night.

The show ended a few minutes later.

My dad took me home.

In the car, on the way back to our apartment my dad said to me,

“Don’t worry about not making the cut for the ‘Hoedown’. You had the best voice in there. I could hear your singing above everyone else’s!”

I didn’t bother to tell him that I hadn’t opened my mouth once, that entire night.

Also, I’m a terrible singer.


  1. I think your dad boosting you the way he did hit a high note for sure. I’ve read several of your stories that was the first spark of kindness sent your way. He picked me up too, yeah he did.


  2. Nah, that doesn’t kill the moment for me… you needed a boost and had one sent your way. There isn’t any of us who at one time or other didn’t want a friends dad for our own. In real like that’s the knuckle ball no-one ever hits out of the park.


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