Friday, January 17, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

My friend Kristen, her daughter Cate, NSAA and my Bit.

Cate was a brilliant Flounder in NSAA's production of the Little Mermaid last January.  I invited my friend Susan and her daughter to the production with Lily and me.  Susan was so impressed that she looked into the programs and told me when auditions were for this year's musical performance.  Lily was excited to try out and now all three girls are in Aladdin together. I've been having such fun helping out during this week of long rehearsals. The bonus has been getting to spend more time with my old friend than we've had together since high school. She has been showing me the ropes, literally, and helping me pull them (#15 "applause") too. She has been generous with her backstage knowledge, and I'm starting to feel like I'm actually helping and not just getting in the way. Cate has been a sweet and encouraging role model for Lily.  She looks up to Cate and she should.  I've always believed that someday I will proudly say I knew her when.  For the record, when she was hours old and already a little performer.

The cast and crew have been hard at work on this performance all set to debut today since September.  I didn't realize how hard until this week.  It makes me proud to see what they are capable of creating out of a script on paper.  Every dress rehearsal the stage and actors come more alive with color and charisma.  It's really a humbling experience to see the transformation.

I'm thankful for the time that everyone involved puts in: the directors, managers, the costume designer, the school and parent volunteers and also for the kids who come to sing and shine on stage for all to see.  I'm grateful that Lily had the gumption to do this.  I love that she loves it and takes her roles as little girl and towns person seriously.  She's not a star of the show unless, of course, you ask me, but it's not all about that. Without the ensemble roles, the show would be flat and boring. I have observed, though, that she is a huge fan of Jafar.  I've heard her practicing his lines and acting his part.  Her favorite song is his: Why Me? And I'm grateful that she dreams of being the villain instead of the heroine because the villain has more dimension and also more fun.  She's maturing, seeing the big picture, figuring out how she can fit in, and where she wants to.

I am grateful that she plans to try out for her school's upcoming production of Annie.  She wants to be Molly, Pepper, Duffy, July, Tessie or Kate not just an orphan boy or girl.  She wants to be cast as a character with a name.  She wants to speak and she will even sing a solo.  I'm trying to check my excitement and act all nonchalant about it.  She's unto me though cuz' I ain't no actress.

So thank you Kristen for so many years of friendship.  It really is like old times...the two of us getting into trouble at school.  Only now we're exchanging episodes of Downton Abbey and Homeland instead of Esprit sweaters and gossip. Well, there's still some of that. We have opinions...right?  And what I wouldn't give for an Esprit sweater now.  This week...It's made me realize how much I miss just hanging out, and also that we make a good team whether we're working on the year book without any help from Mr. McGinnis, outfitting all the White children in every Polo to be found in Mansfield's, or tag teaming babies born one month to the day apart.  You, frister, are a gift.

Cate, I want to thank you for being so patient and encouraging with Lily.  I forgive you for not always being patient with Aladdin.  Wink.  Wink. You are more patient than I could ever be with that stage rat him.  Lily looks up to you.  You are the big sister she doesn't have, and I appreciate how you never make her feel small.  You are a talented and lovely young woman (a very funny Geenie too), and I just hope that you always possess the confidence and celebrate the presence that you embody today.  It is a gift.

I thank you NSAA for giving kids this opportunity to be a part of a different kind of team.  One that values all contributions whether large or small.  One that lets everyone have a voice and be heard.  One that wins each and every time the audience laughs, connects, applauds. Gifts galore!  

Miss Bit I thank you for giving this your all, for letting me ply you with make-up before each show, and rock out with you to every song on the soundtrack in the car except Whole New World, which makes you gag.  I get're a tomboy with no time for eye shadow or romance. I thank you for not being one of those kids who runs wild when you're not on stage or forgets why you are here in the first place. I thank you for trying something that seemed a little scary and then sticking with it even though it did push the limits of your comfort zone.  I think you recognize that this is how you grow and soar. And most of all I thank you for letting me bask in a little of your light.  I owe you Bit!  You are the gift that keeps giving.

It's been a fun week of long hours and laughs.  I know almost every line.  I could be a one woman Aladdin show, but I promise I won't. Kristen told me I'd be sad when it was all over.  I knew she was right because she's wise like that, but I'm just now fully grasping it.

So as we set off this morning for "our" first show, I just want to put it out there that I sure hope this isn't "our" last show.  Break a leg, Godspeed and all that jazz too girls.