Overcoming Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety
January 22, 2015
Where has Melanie Prince been for the Last Four Months?
June 23, 2015

Narrative of the Day Bryant Prince Emceed Our Town’s Variety Show


Someone submitted a question asking how I manage everyone’s schedules. I don’t even feel worthy of the word “manage.”  It feels more like “Tactical Crisis Aversion.”  With so many changing variables like last minute auditions with urgent deadlines, I have to be extremely flexible. By nature, the film industry constantly shifts. One moment we are planning to head to LA to film additional scenes for Terminator and the next we are not.  To have a successful family one has to be bendable, but throw a couple of child actors in the mix and chaos ensues. Supporting my kids in this pursuit creates a boiling point for my capacity or lack thereof. I know the reality that something has to give, but choosing something to give up is more difficult than trying to make it all happen.

My web designer and dear friend Diane Helbling just finished spending the week with my family and me. When I submitted this post to her for the blog, I expressed my concern that it would come across overly negative. She assured me that, not only is this post a realistic snapshot of my day to day life, it’s definitely worth sharing. I hope this post does what I intended it to. The next time you see me, although I am sporting a sincere smile on my face and may seem like I have everything under control, know that this is what’s really going on in the background.

So without further ado, here is . . .

A Narrative of the Day Bryant Prince Emceed Our Town’s Variety Show

Bryant Prince bryant prince Narrative of the Day Bryant Prince Emceed Our Town’s Variety Show Variety Show PosterIt’s three o’clock in the morning, my youngest is awake. She’s thirsty. I get her some water and we snuggle. My stomach is upset. I suspect from the rich seafood dish I ordered on a date, my husband and I squeezed in after I finished teaching my acting classes last night. Ava gives up the ghost and Neely wakes up screaming from growing pains. I cringe thinking she’ll rouse Ava to full consciousness. I rub her sore leg muscles just in time for Ava to sink further into sleep.  I look at the clock, it’s only twelve minutes to 5:00 when my oldest has to wake up. I hear the footsteps of my husband walking the hall to her room to wake her. I text him to let him know I’m sick and exhausted downstairs. Somehow the universe feels me texting before dawn and I receive texts from Payton’s friend. I tell her I am sick and tired and desperately need sleep.  I ask her to pray for me to be well enough to attend Bryant’s event tonight. She agrees and gets my daughter and another friend to do the same.  Since I’m texting, I text Bryant and explain why I will not be getting up for school with him.  Neely is awake again and I don’t settle her back down until Bryant should be getting up for school. I wake Bryant up, tell him I’m sick and sleepless and go into my own bed. The sun is not up yet so there is a chance for some much needed sleep. Twenty minutes later Bryant is ready for school and racing into my room with Neely screaming from growing pains. This time daddy, with his magic hands, rubs out the Charlie horses. Poor Neely is asleep again and I text her preschool teacher about our difficult night and inform her Neely will not be attending today.

7:20 the bus arrives. With both girls still sleeping from their difficult night, I begin to try to sleep off the nausea.  9:00 AM I wake up from dreaming about my “to do” list to learn that repairmen, I am not expecting, are standing at my front door. They are here to patch a water damaged ceiling from flooding two weeks prior.  Because they didn’t schedule an appointment and I am certain I have the flu, Spencer and I decide it best to ask them to reschedule. I’m up for the day with five hours of sleep total.  It could be worse. I realize that last hour and a half sleep and the faith of three teenagers did the trick.  I feel certain it isn’t the flu after all, it had to be the food.

Even though they did not schedule an appointment with me, I feel bad about the guys missing half a day’s work so I call back the repairmen and let them know I am not contagious and tell them they can come back if they hadn’t filled their schedule. The coordinator says she will check with them and let me know. The girls are up. It’s time for breakfast, baths and getting dressed. I will have time to shower when the girls take their nap. Ava, developmentally perfectly on point with her impending second birthday, leaves complete mayhem in her wake. I have to make a choice between cleaning up her pandemonium of breakfast, toys, spills and unloaded drawers and focusing on essential tasks. I do what I can but choose to pay bills and make important calls. Potty and diaper changing is a constant theme. It follows wherever we go. It’s lunch time. The clock whisks past 1:15 PM.  My window to put Ava down, with enough time to get her nap in, prior to leaving for Neely’s dance class is closing. The girls finish eating and we lay down. Although she needs them, Neely’s nap is 50/50. Ava is asleep. It looks like Neely will nap today but a glance at the clock tells me my shower is the price I will pay for lying with her until she falls to sleep. I can’t pay that price today. It’s Bryant’s big night when he will be the local celebrity emcee for the town’s variety show sponsored by the City Arts Council. Most of our friends plan to attend and it’s sold out. I get up and Neely follows.

I realize there will only be ten minutes when I arrive home from Neely’s dance class and have to take Bryant to the theater for his call time. As luck would have it, the event coordinator and dear friend of mine lives across the street. I call Angie to see if Bryant can ride with her. She agrees! I prepare dinner for Bryant to eat when he comes home from school plus I need something to feed the rest of the gang. Then I get Bryant’s clothes ready since I don’t trust him to iron his shirt well enough etc. Dinner is a snack but it will do. I still have to press Bryant’s shirt but not before I get a quick shower. There’s a knock at the door. The repairmen are back!

I had no idea they could fit us back in and it had been five hours with no word since I called them. I can’t turn them away again so I let them in. There goes my shower! I can’t shower upstairs while strangers are working with Ava asleep in the next room. I will have to call on Payton who is always there for me when the chips are down. She will get the girls ready when we get back from dance while I shower.

I must leave in forty minutes so I’ve already accepted these men will be in my house without me home. LIGHTBULB*** – What about Bryant? NEWS FLASH MELANIE!!! – He will come home alone to these men working. I don’t feel good about that. Spencer has an appointment a few towns over. He is back in school full time while still running his business more than full time so I know I have to figure this out on my own.  I’m upstairs when I hear Neely talking to someone. Two sweet big girls in my neighborhood who are tracked out of school come to play with my littles. I remind Neely not to open the door again without mommy knowing and welcome them in. I have to leave with Neely in 20 minutes but the big girls will be great entertainment for her while I find her dance clothes and finish a few things. I text instructions to Bryant to stay in touch with me when he gets home because having him in a house with two unfamiliar men is not ok with me. I dress Neely for ballet and wake Ava up to leave. I’m a block from my house and fear overwhelms me. I know I can’t leave Bryant home alone.

Neely Prince at Dance Class bryant prince Narrative of the Day Bryant Prince Emceed Our Town’s Variety Show Neely Dance

Neely Prince at Dance Class

I realize any normal person would tell the men they can’t do the job now or give up and cancel ballet class. Why do I try to be all things to all people? It’s because, I vividly recall what it was like to be a child. I know how important this class is to Neely. She waits for it all week. Not to mention, we have her 4th birthday party invitations to hand out. Instantly and still on my way to the ballet class, I receive a text from Payton. Her rehearsals are ending an hour early and she will need to be picked up while I’m still at the studio. The class is only 45 minutes and the studio is near my house but of course I am needed in three places at once. With active teenagers and dependent toddlers, this is a constant theme in my life.  I know I must raise the white flag, surrender and call for help. Asking for favors is always the last thing I want to do and I do it far more than I’m comfortable with. It’s that or do less, which no matter how I try, I can’t seem to reconcile it.  I decide if I can hire a trusted person to help me, I won’t feel as badly about inconveniencing someone. I call an older teenage driver, I trust, to go stay with Bryant at the house while he eats and gets ready for the show. I arrange for my teenage helper to take Bryant with him to pick up Payton from the high school and back home in time for Bryant to be picked up at 4:45 PM. Phew! Crisis averted and my heart is calmed. Only trouble is my helper, Kyle, refuses to accept payment and does it all in the name of serving his fellowman! I push back feelings of guilt. I need to get over myself and become better about accepting defeat and assistance.

I spend the entire time Neely is in class coordinating tickets for friends and texting with Payton to arrange her help with our girls once we are home. I ask the other dance moms not to charge me for the therapy they give by listening to me vent about my life’s demands. The irony of this post is, I try not to be a venter because I realize, if I flip it, I’m actually venting about things that are complete and total blessings. For example, complaining about two men who’ve come to fix the gaping holes in my ceiling in time for house guests arriving this weekend. Having the means to provide extracurricular activities and my son growing exponentially from the opportunity to host a variety show. What about the hour Payton gets back from her rehearsals finishing up early?

Bryant Prince bryant prince Narrative of the Day Bryant Prince Emceed Our Town’s Variety Show MC Bryant

Bryant Prince Emcee Local Town’s Variety Show

I arrive home and Payton’s help with feeding and dressing the girls, allows me to finish coordinating tickets and finally TAKE MY SHOWER! We arrive at the theater ten minutes after the doors open and ten minutes later than I planned. This is my life. I am chronically late and it is the biggest assault on my self-esteem. I do all I can to be on time but my constant need to be everything to everyone has a polar effect on my being on time. The show starts in twenty minutes and is delayed ten more. This allows me additional time to exhale and reset to relax, juggle toddlers, and prepare to enjoy the show.

Bryant was provided cards with information about the acts he was introducing but given the task to come up with things to share about his experiences filming to buy some needed transition time between acts. He came up with all of it on his own. I will hear his comments for the first time, live with the rest of the audience.

I am delighted! His comments were generous, interesting and clever! What a treat!

The show was fantastic! Erik Agle, a talented Broadway crooner, closed the show.  He can sing as well as any Broadway veteran I’ve laid ears on. I could sit and listen to him for hours!

Bryant went home with dad and the little girls to be there in time for the hair-dresser to come cut his locks.  Payton and I set out to procure a late dinner to bring home. Soon we ate, and went to bed to wake up and start again. While tomorrow doesn’t include another major event; children will be cared for, school and work attended, books studied, chores will be done, lines memorized for another audition, and guests will arrive.

My life can feel like a pressure-cooker at times.  It can be daunting and perpetual but I get through it by trusting in the unseen power of continous prayer.  I remind myself to focus on feeling incredibly blessed, because we all are.


1 Comment

  1. Genna Foster says:

    I am amazed and excited for you. Not only can you juggle your daily activities you can expertly write about them. I don’t envy your very busy life as I don’t have the energy anymore at this time. I’m so proud of you and I wish you all great things. I would love it if I could live near you and help you. But you’d have to move here and I don’t see that as a bad thing, you would be closer to your family, closer to LA, and I promise we could help. Much love to you dear cousin.

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