Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Honing My Craft

My back has been seriously messed up for over a week.  I can't rest like I need to because I have a baby to take care of.  I have to pick him up to feed him and change his diaper.  Darn kid won't take care of himself.  He's almost four months old, shouldn't he be able to handle life by now?  On top of the bad back, I got sick.  My throat is sore.  The next phase always consists of my voice getting dark and seedy.  If I could sing, I'd give Janis Joplin a run for her money.  My mom was checking up on me today.

The text message went like this...

Mom:  How r u doing today?

Me:  Let's just say I sound like an ex Vaudeville dancer who fell on hard times after and injury and was reduced to performing in a smokey gin joint until she was forced into a retirement community in Boca Raton where she regales her neighbors with stories of the good old days when Morty said she was gonna be a star.

She then proceeded to ask if I had considered being a stand up comedian when the kids are older and fairly self-sufficient.  Flattered, I responded the obvious fact that she and my dad, and possibly my Aunt Rita, are the only ones I can make laugh on a consistent basis.

I also reminded her of my life scarring incident in junior high where I was to perform a scene from the Crucible with three classmates in front of the entire school.  I was to embody Danforth and recite complex line after complex line.  Needless to say, the scene did not end with a triumphant applause while my fellow players and I took a bow.  No, I got a few lines in, scanned the dark auditorium with my eyes, and froze.  My mind was erased like and Etch-a-Sketch.  I exited stage right with most haste, proceeded to plow through the backstage like Jared Allen headed for a quarterback, and lock myself in the bathroom.  It was as bad as you might be imagining.  My mom took off work that day to see me perform.  She came backstage and coaxed me out of the locked bathroom to calm me down.  She had to go back to work, and I had to face my befuddled classmates.  My teacher, Mrs. Crabtree, hugged me and assured me it happens to all great actors, but the important thing was to play on!  I never attempted acting again.  I figured I was best suited for a behind the scenes supporting role.  I learned lighting in high school, helped with a few productions, and left it at that.  I let my friends entertain the audience and reap all the glory.  

I'm a parent now.  I've watched Rylee freeze in front of an audience during a preschool performance.  She was a pumpkin, she was amazing during rehearsals (as the teacher told us) but all those eyes proved to be overwhelming and she ran to my arms crying.  After two more holiday performances she got over her stage fright.  She's a ham now and doesn't seem to mind the attention.  I knew she'd get past the scariness of being in front of people, but it would take practice.  She also started this process a lot earlier than I did.

I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't run off the stage?

Cool thing about parents, the good ones, they can always see you doing so much more in life than you can see yourself doing.  They want you to find a passion and follow it.  They don't want you to just get by, they want you to take over the world.  They never think it's too late to pursue a dream.  They want you to be responsible of course, but they've got your back.  You want your kids to be more than you were.  I want Rylee to be the best at what ever she chooses to do with her life.  If all that she ends up doing is working at a fast food place, then I hope she's happy, and gets employee of the month every month.  Would I prefer she do more?  Of course!  I want her to change lives, make the world a better place, be the best person she can be.  But a person working at a fast food place is just as capable of making the world a better place as a person on the Fortune 500 list. 

Here's an example:  His Mama Raised Him Right

My mom knows I'm capable of a whole lot.  I know I am too.  Right now I'm perfecting the art of being a mom.  I'm honing those skills that enable me to love, encourage, discipline, be patient, and have fun when I'm exhausted.  I learned how to be a mom from the best.  My mom doesn't always see how much she's capable of, but she taught me how to see that in other people, just like she sees that in me.  Rylee will do the same thing, or at least that's what I can hope for.

After my mom reads this, she'll probably tell me I should write a book.