Happy Mothers Day To Me!

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag

Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?

I woke with one of those hormonal migraines.  Not a great start to the day.  My oldest son, who was staying with me, was born 28 years ago to the day, May 8th.  It had made a most wonderful Mother’s Day gift.  And now he just announced he’s in a severe depression.

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin

Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

I spent the next several hours in a dark room, preparing to go to my youngest son’s fourth audition for a singing competition reality show.  My headache was getting worse by the hour and I’m secretly praying for the call from Barnaby letting me off the hook.  A call in which he will say, oops, he got the time wrong and it’s done.  He will be on this new show or he won’t be, and I can then rest comfortably.  But no, that doesn’t happen.   At around 4:00 p.m. I walk into my husband’s office at home and announce in a very quiet, suffering voice that I will be heading to the downtown venue.  I feel for him since he needs to wake up for work at 4:00 a.m. and tell him he can pass on this one.  He offers to drive me anyway.  What a relief, I accept the generous offer.  I’d have jumped at if I weren’t in such pain.

Miraculously, we make it to downtown Los Angeles in twenty minutes.  Crossing my fingers, it looks like things might work out well.    We turn onto the right street and suddenly what come into focus are long lines with thousands of human beings.  It looks like chaos, though I’m sure there is an order to it all.  Dread sets in.  I hate crowds.  I text Barnaby a frantic message.  There is a spooky line of regular people.  He will know what I mean.  I get a text back from Vice, the other member of his group.  He says to tell a security guard that I’m a family member of Wild Thingz.  I do, and it helps us get in much faster.  We are led into a huge arena and herded here and there like cattle until we find our upper level seats.  The rest of the place fills with all the “normal” people who waited for hours in line.  They start to chant, Simon! Simon!  And suddenly it sinks in what is about to play out.  I do not watch reality shows very often, if at all.  I have never watched the one this Simon was on before.  I don’t, however, live under a rock, so I have landed on the channel a few times, long enough to see him abuse random performers.  At this point, I’m terrified of what is about to happen to my kid.  I look to my husband with sheer panic.  “Is this one of those shows where the guy is REALLY mean?”  I want him to answer, no, honey.  He doesn’t.  He tells me the truth as I start to curl into a fetal position.

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“Firework” song by Katy Perry will not stop playing and it will not stop replaying in my head for the next few months.   They played it and other music loudly, all night long, to rev up the audience.  My head is now throbbing to its beat.  I start swaying to the music along with the thousands of tourists that showed up to watch the famous judge be mean to people.  And then my fear comes back as I revert to my fetal position.

First group comes out and it’s brutality from the get-go.  Simon actually puts his hand up to stop them mid-song.  These are three lovely sisters in their 30’s who have sung in churches their entire lives and he tells the one in the middle, she can sing, but she should lose her sisters.  Oy vey, as I sink into even further fetalness.   I want to text Barnaby with advice.  Like, get a good backstory going for when they question you about what you will do with that five million.  These judges are really liking the underdogs and Barnaby just isn’t one.  I don’t text him.  We aren’t supposed to use our phones and I need to let go.  This is hard, very hard.  Now, I’m shaking.  Shaking so much you would think I just got in a car accident and am in shock.  My husband keeps offering to take me home.  I need to support my son.

He and Vice walk out onto to that stage with so much confidence — well, let me be honest, cockiness — that they lose the audience before anything starts.  No one the whole night has come out on stage with this kind of presence and it isn’t being accepted warmly.  I stand up in my nose-bleed seat and start all by myself to try and persuade the audience to get behind my boy.  I have never felt so helpless as a mother in my life.  I’m screaming and clapping and trying to enlist the sorry, apathetic crowd around me to stand and join me and no one will.  No one.  I’m alone, trying my hardest to will thousands of people to like my kid.

Do you ever feel already buried deep?  

Six feet under screams, but no one hears a thing

The music starts and there is a glitch in the CD, stopping Wild Thingz in the first few bars.  Oh my fucking God.  Simon’s arms cross his chest, he leans back in his chair, and asks them if they have another song to perform.  Yes, is the answer, because by now they have tried that song two times, and both times the CD fails.  In the seconds before they start their new number, Barnaby seizes the moment to yell out  “Happy Mothers Day!” and begins to win the audience over.   There is some banter between Barnaby, Vice and all the judges, and a few of the judges are warming to them.

‘Cause baby, you’re a firework

Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth

The tide is turning and by the time they finish this new song, I know it could go either way.   Barnaby takes another winning moment to give a shout-out to the sponsor, Pepsi.  He’s in.  Seriously, three of the four judges (Simon and the two chicks) give a thumbs-up to Wild Thingz.  The fourth judge, the other dude, could not have been more hostile, like the meanest bully on any playground, ever.  They were invited back.   And yet, I walked out of that auditorium with its long, long hallways, as if it was the Coliseum and I had just fed my son to the lions.   It was not a happy mother’s day.   It was a grim moment in my life and I wouldn’t be free of it unless they decided not to do the show, sparing me the ordeal of going through it again.

You’re original, cannot be replaced

If you only knew what the future holds

After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Just seconds from the time they were supposed to turn their contract into the network,  at the 11th hour, Wild Thingz got an offer to sing one of their original songs on the hit Disney show, “Shake it Up.”   The reality show they auditioned for had a contract that would not allow them to perform anywhere else.  So they went with the sure thing.    What a relief!!!!!   Since that day, I had been suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Maybe you’re the reason why all the doors are closed

So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

Instead of the mean-spirited environment of a competition show, Wild Thingz were treated like the pro performers they are.  Stay tuned, ladies and gentleman, and join me in setting our Tivo November 8th, which changed to February 26, 2012, the night of the Oscars  to watch my son on “Shake it Up” on the Disney channel. The date was changed, check back and I will give you the right one soon.

Boom, boom, boom

Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

It’s always been inside of you, you, you

And now it’s time to let it through

‘Cause baby you’re a firework

Come on, show them what you’re worth

Make ‘em go, oh, oh, oh

As you shoot across the sky

Baby you’re a firework

Come on, let your colors burst

Make ‘em go oh, oh, oh

You’re gonna leave ‘em falling down

Boom, boom, boom

Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
On the way to see Barnaby audition, when we got off the freeway, eating seemed like a good idea. In my entire life, I can count on one, maybe two hands how many times I have eaten fast food. That Mother’s Day would be one. We stopped at Fat Burger, not bad. Not bad is a huge compliment from me. I had one of those baby sized cheeseburgers with fries on the side that I dunked in some slop that was mayonnaise. I thought it could help my headache to just eat, it didn’t matter what I ate. I won’t be running back there anytime soon, neither should you. But, if you are headed downtown, let me recommend a great restaurant called Church and State. French and wonderful. Now, listen to this original Wild Thingz song!!!

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Watch the Wild Thingz in the first three minutes of this Shake it Up episode

theater starting to fill up

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13 Responses to “Happy Mothers Day To Me!”

  1. Mel. says:

    Love the honesty, the tension and drama (so well written the feelings really transmit), and the interspersed lyrics ~ Love as well, the weave back to the food with the surprise ending of recommending a different restaurant! Cute. (great “L.A.” story) – – congrats to Wild Thingz!

  2. Madeline says:

    Great song! Good for them! Good for you for being such a loving, supportive Mom!

  3. caryn says:

    Pretty song!

  4. Augie duke says:

    Genius……….. I love you mom. Such a protector of your babies…

  5. Pauli says:

    Love the writing and really enjoyed ONE CHANCE – great song and it actually sounded like FIREWORK in parts. Hope they have much success and this blog entry should be turned into a documentary film, seriously.

  6. Stu Billett says:

    Fredde, it reads like a piece of fiction, but it is real…
    And so are you!
    Lucky Barnaby!

  7. debi fries says:

    The perfect expression of a mother’s fierce and loyal heart. Simon didn’t stand a chance!! The song is really, really good, I expect great things are in store for the Wild Thingz. As long as the fries were crispy and yummy, it might not be Church and State, but it will do in pinch.

  8. robin says:

    first of all, I did love a meal I had at church and state. but who cares, cause it’s your story that moves me and your writing that seduces me. if words could be my lover I would stalk you. in fact I do sort of…
    but, and there is a but, I was not convinced of my objectivity. so, I shared your story with my co-worker who has no connection and is younger and not a local, so not affected by any familiarity. and I reveled as I listened to her as she read and laughed and was audibly moved. because I am your biggest fan and want to keep you to myself and share you with the world.

  9. cristi ulrich says:

    Ok – so I see it, I hear it loud and clear! Brings me back to all of my children’s auditions and competitions – from gymnastics, dance, baseball… college…ADULT LIFE!! The nerves and the fingers crossed! jezz – motherhood is really something else isn’t it? Could we have ever imagined this Duke?

    So once again you grab and catch it all in words and give it back ever so graciously to us – to remember, imagine and ask when? Again? Soon!!! Love you and your talented children. great song and I love the written lyrics… Happy Mother’s Day – everyday! xxoo

  10. What a mother won’t do for her children! Way to go Fredde, headache and all being the best mom you can be. I love it…there song is awesome too.

  11. Peggy says:

    It’s true. Simon didn’t stand a chance.
    My mom used to say” I would kill for my children”… I used to think, maybe,a bit extreme and dramatic,but I come to believe, maybe not.
    I love you for your fierce loyalty to your kids and all others that you love.

  12. Linda says:

    Another wonderful story … but sorry that you suffer from migraines so often.

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