Thursday, September 28, 2006

Giants in the Sky

There are giants in the sky. There are big tall terrible giants in the sky.When you're way up high and you look below at the world you left and the things you know, little more than a glance is enough to show you just how small you are...

It's true. I'm not a fan of Into the Woods. I had a bad experience. I pretty much hate the fact that it should be over at intermission and isn't. I hate most of the songs. It's not that I can do better, Sondheim, because clearly I can't. So don't think that's what I'm saying. I hate the princes. I hate Agony. I hate the Baker, but that topic probably ought to be reserved for a therapy session somewhere down the road. Sometime when I drudge up misplaced and unadulterated loathing. And I hate fishing line and actors who flip out at stage crew when their props are missing. But aside from hating Into the Woods, I appreciate it on the grandoise level that Broadway demands. Which is why I find it humorous that middle schools attempt such a show. And why, when my students suggested that we take it on (not this side of Hades, guys, we'd only embarrass ourselves, I promise) I nearly choked on my own tongue. But it's got me thinking. It's got me thinking about Milky White. Man I loved that cow. Another topic for therapy I suppose. I loved Kristin in the giant Peep dress because it was like when you dress a tomboy up on Easter and make them wear a bonnet. Not that Kristin is a tomboy at all and not that there was a bonnet but you'd know what I mean if you saw the dress. I think, perhaps, the Queen of England would have looked like a tomboy in it. And I love Giants in the Sky. Probably because I love Jack. Probably because I love Matt. Not in a "let's get married even though we both already are and have three sons between the two of us" kind of way, more in a "because I knew you, I have been blessed" kind of way. But I really, really did love Giants in the Sky. And I still do. And it's kind of how I feel right now.

It's kind of like I realize now how idealistic we all are in high school. I'm still idealistic. I'm just not that idealistic. And it's kind of like I'm up in that sky. And it's kind of like I'm looking down. And it's kind of like just a glance...a seven year glance since high enough to show me just how small I am. I'm not the next star. I am just a dime a dozen. What my degree has gotten me is a handful of high schoolers as idealistic as I once was...perhaps more so. But I'm just glad to have the opportunity to direct their idealism, because that's more than most people get to do in the theatre. (I'm just, not going to direct Into the all)

And the thing is...I'm not even sure I would want it anymore. Sure the money would be swell and sure I wouldn't turn down the notoriety but I've been to New York. And I've been to LA. And I've seen the hollow eyes with the blank stares of the ones who want it so bad that they can't make friends with the ones they plan to step on. And I've seen the twinkling eyes of my son. And I wouldn't trade him for a world of fame and fortune. Not for a second. But still, I guess a part of me wishes I could live in between. In between the idealism and the cynicism. In between the way I was and the way I am. In between the hope of my youth and the hope of my son's. Somewhere in the world I never thought to explore.

...The roof, the house and the world you never thought to explore. And you think of all of the things you've seen, and you wish that you could live in between, and you're back again, only different than before, after the sky. There are Giants in the sky! There are big tall terrible awesome scary wonderful Giants in the sky!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cleaning and Scrubbing

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow

For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow

So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep

When I was a kid, my mom had a wall hanging with the above poem on it. Sometimes I would find myself staring at the woman who sits next to the words. She's rocking her baby. She's my mom. I can tell by her hair, if nothing else. Even as a small child I somehow understood the sentiment of the poem. I think, however, that I only comprehended it from the baby's side of things. Chores, homework, bathing. These things were not important. No. What was important were family vacations, gathering around the dinner table, playing games together. The dust could sleep. I didn't care. I was growing up and I was being rocked.

My mom loaned the wall hanging to me and it now hangs above my son's crib. I get it. From the mom's point of view. I think my house has been cleaned...I mean really cleaned...once in the past eight weeks. And 75 percent of that was thanks to my husband. The only chore I perform on a consistent basis is laundry and that's because my son spits up on everything in sight and he'd be perpetually naked if I didn't wash his clothes...three times a week. I get it. The house needs to be deep cleaned before we all inhale those cobwebs and sleeping dust. Yet, instead of scrubbing, Garrett took a nap on my chest. Instead of cleaning, we took the dog for a walk. While the cobwebs quieted down, I got the baby dressed and was distracted by his giant smiles for longer than just a couple of minutes. And while the dust took a nap, I decided to write this. I could be cleaning. I could be scrubbing. Garrett is asleep in the stroller (exhausted from learning how to walk the dog) so I should capitalize on such a fortuitous situation. But I'm not. I'm writing. Because one day all of this will be a distant memory. One day I will dust away the cobwebs in my memory and only be able to catch a glimpse of what Garrett was like as an eight week old boy. So I choose to write. I choose to remember, because my baby won't keep. And from somewhere just beyond the room I'm in, he has started to cry, as if to put a period on the end of my memory. These are the fleeting days and so, I will dust tomorrow.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Bath Time

There was a time when I wanted, desperately, to be a star. Christmas was my favorite time of year followed closely by the Oscars. And when it came time, again, for award shows, the red carpet was my favorite time of day. I watched the ceremonies with a certain degree of envy and a certain degree of dillusions big enough to believe that maybe one day it would be me. I'd be the one in Vera Wang and flawless make-up with her hair all done up. I'd flash a smile and gaze at the camera with these eyes that I've decided are famously brown and altogether mysterious. Maybe I still watch them with some of those grandiose dreams.

But my favorite time of day is bath time. It only takes a few minutes because he's still so small, but it's the best time. There's kicking and grinning and soaping and splashing. Because at seven weeks he already knows what every baby learns, bath time is magical. It's when I sit with him, giving him my complete and undivided attention. Undistracted by anything because if I get distracted, he drowns. And, that's, quite frankly, not an option. So I sit with him. And Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore, his bath time friends, come out to play. Together we sing him the ABC's and Tigger gets stuck on "T" because he's altogether too excited to finish. It's always the same old thing with Tigger. "Q, R, S, T...hmmm, T stands for Tigger. That's me. The wonderful thing about Tigger's is Tigger's are wonderful things..." Eeyore gets mad and starts complaining and Pooh tries to keep the peace. And if it wasn't for Pooh and Eeyore we'd never get to Z. But thankfully, we eventually do. And the four of us ask Garrett if next time he'll sing with us. Garrett opens his eyes wide and looks at us like we're nuts. For the most part we are. But still, despite having a crazy mother, he gets clean. I lift him out and snuggle him tight in his towel. And his mostly-bald head smells like Johnson & Johnson's and I take notice and sniff. Because when he's 16 he won't smell like that and he probably won't like it if I sniff his head.

Somewhere behind these eyes is a glimpse of what fame might look like, but I am not famous. It doesn't matter. It doesn't make one bit of difference. Because I have bath time.