Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Surprise Curtain Call: Returning to the Stage

My family is in a musical.

It has consumed our time for the last two months. And as we steadily approach opening night, our commitment is growing more intense along with our nervous excitement.

It's been nearly twenty years since I set foot on a theatrical stage. Twenty years since blocking and character shoes and stage make-up. Twenty years without the anxious twinge of standing off stage waiting for your big entrance and hoping you remember your lines.

The high school kids have graciously accepted us "older" alumni as we join them on the same stage that held my thespian dreams those many years ago. The same stage scuffed and taped and dented by a guy and his doll, a fabulous fable factory, a fiddler on the roof, and so many, many more.


This rare opportunity to invite my children onto that same stage to partake in the mysterious world of theater — where introverts sing in spotlights and validation supervisors become music men.

Since graduating, my life has been filled with degrees and occupations and family and children. I joined the rat race and became a responsible adult. And I forgot.
"You can't cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." (quote from Christopher Columbus)
I forgot I had it in me. This place of courage where I put myself out there, take giant risks, and trust people I just met. Where I can be whoever I want to be, if I allow myself the freedom. Removing layers of control and not caring what other people will think.

That's why I loved "the stage" — it symbolizes freedom.

Because it's okay to be different there. To take the audience on a journey of believing you are someone you're not. And showing them a side of you they've never seen before — and maybe will never see again, except on the stage.

And after an emotionally difficult year, after losing loved ones to cancer, I am thankful for this opportunity to reunite with old friends, sing and act beside new ones, and celebrate a thespian tradition that has enriched my life and I hope, now my children's.

"The Music Man" March 22-24, 2013 at Springfield Township High School, Erdenheim, PA.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Where Do You Live? (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday for: Home

I learned early that home was not necessarily the four walls and the roof. Or the bedroom filled with your precious things — your favorite doll with the over-brushed hair and the cheesy heartthrob posters covering the walls.

My family was nomadic by choice. Since I was very small, we yo-yoed between two houses about thirty minutes from each other — my grandparent's place and the house we lived in on the grounds of the arboretum where my father worked.

When the school week was done we would pack our bags and head to my grandparent's house for the weekend. It became a dependable routine. I primarily lived out of my suitcase because it was easier then packing and repacking the bag.

It wasn't until college when someone asked, "Where do you live?" that it really dawned on me.

Where was home?

Always felt like such a complicated answer. Both places were home to me and yet not.

Because of my circumstances, home became more about people. But home was also a feeling — of familiarity and comfort. A place you could count on. My roots grew from my family, not necessarily the place I lived, and from time shared together.

I have fond memories from both places — exploring the arboretum grounds with my brother, making mud pies in Mommom's tree house, Saturday morning pancakes and bacon, star gazing and playing catch in the big field behind the arboretum house.

I'm married with a family of my own and if you were to ask me where I live I can give you a simple answer — address, city, state. And my suitcases? They only come out for vacations and weekend getaways.

But home is still more about who I am with then anything else.

Where is home for you?

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday

Friday, March 1, 2013

When I Feel Like an Ordinary Mom (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Ordinary

Once a month my son's elementary school has a "reward" day to celebrate good behavior. It is one of the rare opportunities for parents to volunteer, so I usually sign-up to help.

I'm standing on the precipice, friends — watching my son walk head-first into adolescents.

I asked him this morning if he likes that I come. Most parents don't and I was worried I had missed the kid memo telling me it's no longer cool for me to be there.

I'm an ordinary mom — nothing special.

But he said it was fine, so I took his word for it.

As I approached the concrete steps that lead into the school building I made sure I checked my ruler at the door. A room full of mom volunteers is a tempting place to prove to myself how ordinary I am.

Face painting. This was my assignment.

I'm an ordinary artist — nothing special.

Of course I was seated next to the school's art teacher and her face painting skills were extra-ordinary. So I quietly reminded myself to put down the ruler and got on with it.

I drew my fair share of boy mustaches and 1D's with a heart (for One Direction, of course). I hardly saw my son, actually. He must have heard about my mad face painting skills and decided to pass.

I did a little celebratory dance inside when time was up and went searching for my son. After saying good-bye with a nonchalant head pat I watched my son walk back to class with his friends.

But after a few steps he turned and I watched him flash me an "I love you" in sign language, down at his hip where no one else would notice.

And I flashed one back with a smile and a wink, reminded once again that no matter how ordinary I feel, I am special to him. And I'll store up those reassurances in my mom heart and dole them out to myself when he's older and forgets how much I need them.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday
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