Last June, I performed in a flash mob at Lina’s elementary school. It’s a big deal, this flash mob. Like, forty moms and two dads surprise the kids on the last week of school, during morning drop-off. And since this is artsy-fartsy Brooklyn, a lot of the moms are, like, former ballerinas, or Broadway hoofers, or yoga teachers, or Cirque du Soleil-level arial-spinners…and so the choreography and performance level are taken quite seriously. I didn’t realize this, though. I showed up to the first practice feeling so smug, like, I WAS A W.T. WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL PRECISIONETTE, I WILL CRUSH THESE PEASANTS WITH MY 5-6-7-8 FIERCENESS. The truth? I could barely keep up with the choreography. There was an African dance section with an authentic percussionist (a mom who’d once been a drummer in a grunge band). A pop routine to the chorus of “Happy.” A jazz routine to “Kiss.”
I stood there, at the practice, overwhelmed and suddenly motivated to the point of madness (I told myself that I was doing this because it would’ve been terrible if Lina looked out into the crowd of dancing moms and didn’t see hers). Somebody’s husband taped the first rehearsal and put it on YouTube so we could practice, and I did…every night. I volunteered myself to be one of the five ninja-moms who kick off the flash mob, crawling over the chain length fence surrounding the school yard, and then prowling through the sea of students…while the “Flash Gordon” theme blasted from the speakers. You heard me.
The big morning came, and I was all aflutter! I’d figured out my look. Since most of my face would be covered with a ninja mask, I decided it was only right to have gleaming red lips. Like this:
I settled on Smashbox’s Be Legendary Long-Wearing Lip Lacquer in Firecracker, a geeenius hybrid of a luscious moisturizing gloss (tons of vitamin E and vanilla) and a last-forever lip stain. So, vinyl-like shine, but smudge-proof enough to stay put while I’m scaling a fence in 90 degree weather. Guys, I looked cool and my performance was everything. I felt like a spotlight was shining on me. As I was dancing, I looked into the audience a couple of times for Lina, didn’t see her, but performed my heart out anyway. Jazz hands on a thousand.
I found her in the raucous crowd afterwards, surrounded by a cluster of friends. She had a huge, confused/nervous smile frozen on her face and was practically mute with shock.
Me (so proud): DID YOU SEE MOMMY? WAS I AWESOME?
Me: DID YOU SEE ME ON THE FENCE? DID YOU SEE ME CLIMB?
Lina: Sort of. Mackenzie said it was my mommy, but I didn’t believe her at first. It was…funny. You look funny in your mask! I’m…I’m hungry.
Hungry? Hungry? This was not the reception I’d anticipated. She was a little weirded out, you guys. Legit bewildered, really (like, why the fuck is my mom shimmying SO HARD to “Roar” with my principal — whose wearing a hula skirt?). It hit me then, that we were all doing it to prove to our younger selves that we were still awesome. Who was I kidding? It was about me, not Lina. Which isn’t so bad, I just shouldn’t have expected my kindergartner to hand me a bouquet at the end of my performance. In any event, my lips were popping! Try the Smashbox, it’s revelatory. Like my dancing.