It’s been WAAAAAAY to long since I’ve “blogged”. Need to change that habit!
Starting with a sappy post seems like just the thing, don’t you think?!
Tomorrow the Iowa Central Community College Spring musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel” will open with a 9 a.m. matinee. I first worked as pit pianist and rehearsal accompanist for the college’s 2012 production of “A Chorus Line” and I’ve gotten the chance to return each spring since. I have developed cherished friendships with some of the directing staff and a couple of fabulous choreographers over the last six years. And I’ve shed a few tears – students have this irritating habit of graduating and moving on to other things!
But I’m REALLY struggling with this show!
My youngest is in it. My baby. And it’s his last year at Iowa Central.
It’s not just that he’s moving on to finish his degree at a college an hour and a half away. I’ve tried to raise my children with the understanding that I WANT them to chase their dreams – go off to college, chase a dream job, whatever. I’m excited for him to go spread his wings.
With his departure next fall, three of my four children will be living a significant distance from home – two of them an hour and a half away (and one of those two is married!) and another 3 hours away. My eldest still lives in the same city where I live. I’m deeply grateful for that since she is expecting my first grandchild and is due in just a couple of months!!
No, it’s not the fact that he’s leaving soon.
This feels like the end of an era.
At the age of 6, my oldest daughter was in musical at church. I know, I know, a church program. How truly theatrical could it be?! This particular church actually had a pretty active drama team so when I say musical, I mean choreo, costumes, lights, set, etc. And I was in that show with her. I played a small bit part, only one scene, but what mattered was I shared the show with my daughter. As we added to our family and the kids got older, they each chose to explore the world of theater. Over the last several years I’ve had the incredible opportunity to share multiple shows with my kids in a variety of ways – directing/music directing shows they’ve been in, one of us in the pit or on stage crew while another was on stage, one in the pit or on stage while one was running a spotlight . . . you get the idea! What’s most precious to me, though, is the fact that I have shared the stage as a fellow actor with all four of my children at least once. I enjoyed every single chance that we had to work together – regardless of how we were involved in the show – and the fact that those shared experiences built shared memories.
But that’s all changing. It happened gradually. One by one, they graduated high school and headed off to college. One has completed a bachelor’s degree and just started working on her Master’s. Another has been married just over a year and just started back to college this semester to finish her degree. Sonny boy will finish his A.A. later this semester and then be off to UNI for his bachelor’s. Unless my eldest duckling and I find a chance to work together again – and the impending arrival of her little one will make that challenging for a season! – this could be the end of that “phase” of my life.
So yes, tears have been shed. And will likely be again before this weekend is over! But I’m not sad. Not really. I’ve had the crazy privilege of sharing a passion of mine with ALL FOUR of my children in various capacities. We’ve all been exhausted after the stress of tech week. We’ve laughed at the same inside jokes, burst into enthusiastic “sing-alongs” of the soundtracks from those shows. And even with the ache of “Is this really over?” I’ll still smile. I’ll pull out the memories and linger over them in private moments and be eternally grateful that they all happened. I’ll give my youngest duckling an extra tight squeeze this weekend as this show comes to an end. And I will forever be grateful that the world of theater allows parents and children to step into this make-believe world for a season and share the experience despite the difference in their ages.
To all four of my ducklings – you will never know how much I loved each and every moment we shared in the “sacred space” of the theater, whether we were teching a show together, in the pit together, on stage together . . . whatever. I loved it all. Thank you for allowing me to share those moments with you and please know that memories we’ve made are among my favorite. I am truly a blessed woman.