the play

Yup, still owe you the Godspell post. Nope, this still isn’t it. Moving on … 

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It’s Friday night. Luau has generously postponed his trip to New York for the marathon until the morning so that Katie and I can spend the evening together. We are in the car on our way to dinner after a little too much shopping.

“Mama,” she says, “there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

“Okay, kiddo,” I say. “I’m all ears; whatcha got?”

“It’s about the play.”

Having scored one of the leads in her school’s Fall play – a suspenseful drama in which her character plays a pivotal role, talking about the play isn’t exactly novel these days.

“What is it, honey?” I ask.

“Well,” she says, “It’s just … I know that you said that you didn’t want me to tell you how the play ends because you thought it would be fun to see it unfold. But … um, well … here’s the thing. The content of the play is … well, a lot to consume.”

I smile. I can’t help it. I just love the way that she uses words. A Lot to consume. She is undeniably her Mama’s girl.

“What do you mean?” I ask. “Is it heavy material?’

She sighs. “Yeah, it’s heavy. Really heavy. And I’m going to be honest with you, Mama. I think it’s going to be really difficult for you to watch.”

“Okay, Katie,” I say. “If you think that it’s better to tell me what happens, please do. I trust you completely.”

“I do, Mama,” she says. “I really do.”

“Okay, then,” I say, “go to it.”

She takes a deep breath before she speaks. The car is quiet but for the hum of the motor and the rhythmic vibration of the tires against the road.

“Okay,” she says, “here’s the thing. My character dies at the end.”

“Oh God,” I say without thinking.

“Right,” she says. “So I think it’s going to be really difficult for you to watch. And if you don’t think you can handle it, I totally understand if you don’t want to come.”

“Oh, baby,” I say, “You are so incredibly sweet to say that, but of course I want come. Of course. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. But I am SO glad that you told me. I really appreciate you thinking it through this way. You absolutely made the right call.”

“Um, Mama?” she says, “There’s one more thing.”

Dear God, I think, what more could there be?

“Okay, what?” I ask.

“Um, my mom comes running in and discovers my body in the play,” she says. “It’s pretty emotional.”

I grip the wheel. The noise that comes out of my mouth sounds vaguely like, “Oy.”

“Mama, seriously,” she says, “I really get it if you don’t want to come.”

I steel my resolve. “Thank you, sweetie,” I say. “But I’ll be there.  All I can really promise is to to try not to make too much noise when I cry.”

“Fair enough” she says. “And if it helps, I promise to hug you afterwards. Even in front of my friends.”

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Ed note: You might have noticed that Katie has been largely absent from both Diary and its accompanying Facebook page of late. That is not, by any means, reflective of even a remotely decreased desire to share stories about her – or a dearth of material. Heaven knows it’s not ever the latter. Rather, it is out of respect for her increasing desire for privacy.

Both of my girls are always given the right of refusal on sharing their lives here. While Brooke continues, at least for now, to say yes more often than not, her sister has begun to say no the majority of the time. This time she said yes, and I am grateful, because I am overwhelmingly proud of the young woman that she is far too quickly becoming, and truly love sharing her with you. 

Thank you for reading. 

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14 thoughts on “the play

  1. You are a very blessed mother! I love reading about your girls, and I love how you show them respect :) (break a leg, Katie)

  2. Thank you for sharing this with me on the phone yesterday. I would not have wanted to read it this morning. Yes, I’ll be in the audience, too, probably sobbing (quietly) next to you. Oh, what we do for love!

    Love you,
    Mom

  3. Crying and loving, once again, this wonderful young woman that you and Luau are raising. Thank Katie for letting you share this. Please let her know that she touches so many in such a deep way with her life.

  4. I very rarely comment, but I have to comment today to say Thank You for respecting the privacy of your children. So few blogging moms do anymore, and it’s always refreshing to read about a mom that does.

  5. We love that you share your girls and your stories. But I love MORE that you respect their need and desire for privacy.

    You, Jess, as a thinker and an evolving mom, will have just as much to write about, just as much to teach us, when you *only* write about you. Even if one day you can only say “Got a great letter from a daughter today”, and then share what you learned from it and how it made you feel, that is story enough.

    Then again, you could always start writing more about Luau… and the dogs. ;)

    (That Katie is something else…break a leg kiddo).

  6. What resonated most strongly with me in this post was the last paragraph where you say that you always ask your children’s permission before posting their stories. I do this as well (now) and most recently had to go back and update a post where i explained why i posted pictures. The title now reads something like: why i decided to post pictures – and then didn’t. I did this because my daughter is extremely private about her Asperger’s. For a while there i had decided i knew better than her though and posted pictures in hopes of helping others to relate to us better and because i felt like not posting pictures portrayed a sort of shame about it all. I also felt like her need for privacy implied her own shame. I wanted to force the stigma off by exposing ourselves.

    I had convinced myself that because it wasn’t just *her* story, it was mine too, i had a right to make it what i wanted it.

    Of course, bc i’m not a *total* asshole i felt guilty and wrong about this. So i revisited the topic with my daughter and explained why i felt it was important to expose ourselves. I spoke with her about not feeling ashamed of her autism and embracing it. About loving herself and helping others to have someone else to relate to through our stories.

    She nodded and said:
    I just don’t want my pictures up.

    And that was that. From now on the pictures do not expose her and she approves all the future pictures posted if they inckude her. And everything written about my kids goes through them first.

    Cool to see you offer your kids the same respect. I wasn’t sure what the deal was with that.

  7. Just tell her that she can only do the play if she agrees to give a terrible performance, that way watching the end won’t be too painful. “How did I do, Mom?” “Well, you were maudlin, over the top…it made the final scene totally unbelievable. So: perfect.”

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