Opening night of my youngest daughter's last high school musical was rife with emotional highs and lows. I am amazed at the different girl in "her" environment of the art wing. Smiles, acceptance and accolades surround her and fill her. She even kisses me and tells me she loves me as I volunteer with other mothers to serve dinner to the cast, crew and pit.
I also got a call from a publisher on my cell phone and talking about my novel and the possibility soon of being published draws that smile from somewhere deep inside me. I walk around the halls searching for a quiet place as the woman janitor tells me her problems of getting something clean. She takes my inner glow as a caring, that normally I would have, if not for the editor talking to me. I walk back to the AAA cafe on a cloud.
One of the mothers mentions her mother coming, where they will sit in the auditorium. I commented that my parents have front row seats and a beat or two is skipped. She looked at me closely, "I just heard what you said, I'm sorry."
I explain that has been five years since my mother's body got tired and died. "I'm OK," I lied, "Enjoy your mother while she's here." Kind of like the introduction song of the Irish hour, "You'll miss her when she's gone." floats into my head. The scripture verse of Hebrews 12:1 of "Therefore since you are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses." dropped into my mind. I know, theologians this doesn't apply to loved ones in a musical, but somehow thinking God pulls back the curtain to allow the relatives to see their descendants gives us humans comfort.
I sat in the auditorium surrounding myself with empty seats. Yes, I missed my family, but I didn't feel alone. I'm used to it by now. I was unprepared for all the songs about loss of children and mothers and not being alone. I only had a scratchy tan napkin in my purse to wipe the tender skin around my eyes. I'm glad I'm isolated for this evening. I could grieve in the dark. The next performances I'll have company, so this was my time to miss my mom, who always reveled in watching the kids perform, and grieve my daughter growing up, singing of children and loss. She is beautiful, but I don't feel ownership. Her singing has always moved me. This night, her voice cracks at times as the script provides many words rapidly for talking and song.
A music teacher a few seats from me, asked after the curtain falls, if anyone was related to me. "Why, yes, the witch is my daughter."
"I thought so, with the crying," she sympathized, "She was wonderful. Tell her to drink lots of water and no lemons or citrus."
She introduced me to her small children, a blond boy around ten and her younger daughter, as the witch's mother. I laugh inside as I think, you have no idea. My daughter seems to be a method actor and we live with it.
I think, now I understand the depression taking residence in our home. Into the Woods, explores sad, sad themes of growing up and happily ever after is not easily maintained. I thank God, that our happily ever after is with the great cloud of witnesses. My hope remains in Jesus. This world is not my home, but the world is the woods and lessons learned help us out. I am not alone-Never will I leave you, nor forsake you.
Do you think Sondheim thought of that when he wrote the song?