Cardboard isn't cheap, it's respectable. And sometimes it's the strongest stuff of all.
Mrs. Julian's Pre-School Class Presents:
A Halloween Space Fantasy Adventure!
Friday, October 26th, 7pm
(don't be late!)
Michelle sat in the second row, glaring at the strangers who got there early. Probably they weren't waiting backstage with their child, exchanging "I love you"s and "break a leg"s before the show. Probably they just threw their kid at Mrs. Julian, ran around to the audience, and plopped themselves down in front of the Crafty Kids Imagination Adventures cardboard sets so they'd LOOK like they knew what they were doing. And also make it harder for Ella to see how proud Michelle was, obviously.
Even still, it could have been worse. Michelle peeked over her shoulder at all the parents behind her, trying not to judge them for how terrible they clearly were. Maybe they were bankers, or salespeople, trying to send a message about their disappointment. Maybe there were big fights that afternoon. MY CHILD WILL NEVER BE AN ACTOR, they might have yelled, IF YOU GET IN THAT 100% RECYCLED CARDBOARD PLAYHOUSE YOU DON'T COME HOME TO ME. Michelle decided she was correct. Those parents behind her, they just weren't very good at parenting.
Of course, the parents beside her were maybe a little questionable too. She hadn't seen them backstage, and yet, they didn't make it in time to sit in the front row? The couples to her left were a bit far from the middle (like they didn't want to be seen!) while the couples to her right were fanning themselves with the program (like they were bored!) and that troubled Michelle the most. Bored at a pre-school function?
Shouldn't they be full of excitement? Shouldn't they be bursting with joy about their child potentially blasting off in that "Made In The USA" rocket ship? Shouldn't they be fawning over the cardboard castle and wondering whose crayon so perfectly colored the unique white drawing surface? Michelle instantly recognized Ella's talent, of course, but those other parents would have know way of knowing the facts. Shouldn't they just assume it was their kid, suddenly coloring up at Ella's already-impressive level?
Michelle sat straight in her chair and waited for the curtains to open. Now that she knew she was the best mother in the room, she simply had to set the example for the rest.