"You'll never learn younger," she would say. Whether it was taking over the steering wheel (I think I was at least 7 years old) or going to the neighbor's to borrow some butter, or apologizing for something I shouldn't have done (yes, it's true!), that was one of her trademark lines. Any time I tried to use my youth as an excuse not to do something, that was her comeback. It didn't matter if I thought I was too young to do something (or, apparently, if something was legal or not), there were no rebuttals. I find myself often using that line of hers, and others, though when I do my words are often met with a puzzled look from one of my kids (and then of course they don't do what I've asked them to do...) I can't quite replicate the same mastery or "encouragement."
There are the many phrases, yes, and then there are the many gifts, like musical theatre, for instance. The joy and wonder of being open, taking flight and being transported to another world for a time, as I did the other night. Among my many good fortunes is living close to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, a jewel of a place where high school arts students go to find their voice, to develop their craft with passion and style, and share it with the world. While I had not heard of The Drowsy Chaperone, I make every effort to attend performances like the Spring musical at Walnut Hill. And so it was, that Kim and I found ourselves at the performance last Thursday evening. How was it? Well-- we're going back Friday night and I can't wait! I wish I had some writing skills that would allow me to convey to you just how..."incroyable!" it was (that word is SO much better in French, right?) How I loved it; adored it! I mean, the story line is one thing, but there was so much more to my experience. In fact, I'd say I enjoyed the stuff around the story line better than the story line itself. I sat there in amazement for 2 hours, transported to a place where I felt showered with joy, wonder, laughter, hope, possibility, belief, disbelief, and more. The show, the acting, the singing, the dancing--yes, but it was the actors and actresses pouring out their hearts and souls to create a sea of magic. It was as if they were ingredients in a caldron of soup that had been warming for years, and as though the mix and chemistry of ingredients had come together in this perfect moment; like moving pieces of a puzzle that had somehow come together to fit so perfectly...And the result, as unique for each person in the audience as the ingredients themselves. For me-- to see the passion, courage, and risk on display, lifted me up to a world of human emotion where individual voices are found and celebrated, where fears are confronted, challenges are met and spirits soar. Oui, incroyable!
And another thing happened...
PLS was nowhere to be found-- no match for the spirit of the cast; they had swiped it away in their first moment. They had taken it away. It was as good as or maybe better than my dreams in which I am fully cured; where I can walk and run, sometimes yelling "watch this" to Kim or an unsuspecting friend, so proudly displaying my new capabilities. The cast had put the power of the human spirit on display, and they had cast me in the lead role.
So Mom, TYSM for that night, and for the gift of musical theatre, shows, sports, activities, and on and on and on...too much to even attempt to capture here. You, in ur Saab convertible, 60 in a 30 as u blast the Beach Boys, Glenn Miller (ok, more like Shagee), all the town cops in ur back pocket. I fear that I will not do u justice here on El Cap, but probably also here on this earth...but I sure promise you one thing-- I will try.
An open canvas you gave me, and provided me with brushes of all sorts, but you also taught and encouraged me how to thrive when there were no brushes-- to make my own and to use other things and to reach out for help. And here I am with El Cap-- reaching out for help and support. Thanks for giving me the courage to do so.
My hope for you, my readers? My hope for you is the same I have for myself-- to challenge myself to be more open. Click here for a definition that I hope inspires thought...
Would you describe yourself as "open" by that definition?
I can't leave this post without sharing another of her sayings. She also taught me to, where possible, embrace the genius of the "and," and avoid the tyranny of the "or." Sometimes we may think two things are mutually exclusive but they may not be. This OR that...why not both? Is there a way for both? I think it's a healthy thought process, but there are lots of times that we DO need to make choices. When I tried to do too much and she thought I needed to make a choice, it was "You want an egg in your beer." The more modern version is, "you want your cake and you want to eat it, too." Again, I've tried to use this on my kids (and friends) and again, I am met with blank stares. I can't quite do it like Mom...