My creative, theater-lovin', teen-aged daughter is wrapping up a three-week run as one of the cast members of "Children of Eden" this weekend. I plan to attend two of the final three shows and I also plan to have an ample supply of Kleenex on hand.
I wasn't previously familiar with this show. I would drive Aidan to and from rehearsals, she listening to the soundtrack, and me trying to figure out what this show was really all about.
I knew that once I sat in the darkened theater, it would all come together. So I was patient.
Now as I sit and listen to the soundtrack—a daily occurrence here in my office—I can only go about every three songs without completely choking up and reaching for more tissue. And more often than not, there's a glimpse of the ugly cry.
Throughout the two-and-a-half-month rehearsal process, Aidan has come home every night bubbling over with excitement and gratitude for being part of this experience. (Read her essay on the experience by clicking here.) She has said this, of all the shows she's been in, has changed who she is as a performer and as a person. It's kind of hard as a parent to hear this and not get a little choked up.
We never pushed Aidan into anything. Sure, we encouraged her to play soccer and softball and basketball during her earlier years. She always loved being a part of any team. We let her dabble in ballet until she declared, "I just want to do MY dance and they won't let me!" (She was 5 at the time and decided ballet wasn't for her, only to take it back up at age 14 in conjunction with her love for performing in theater.) Musical instruments were part of it as well. She balked at lessons. She liked the idea of doing things her own way, figuring out guitar or piano chords as she went.
Aidan's love of shows and choral music and the entire genre of musical theater has been both a surprise and a total delight for us. Neither Dan nor I would consider ourselves theater buffs, despite the neighborhood rumors. Sure, we love hitting a play when we can, and we've enjoyed a handful of musicals over the years, Jesus Christ Superstar being one of our long-standing family favorites. But we're not versed in the genre as a whole.
Aidan has completely opened up a segment of the performing arts for us. From being in The Wiz, or Willy Wonka Jr. to the musical shows she's been part of at her school, this girl has schooled her hipster parents in another wonderful area of music.
Now I'm just rambling, but if you ever have a chance to catch this show, by all means do. You don't have to be a Bible lovin' person to enjoy it. It's really just a beautiful story about the love of parents and the universal conflicts faced by their children. Do they obey the will of their parents or do they seek their own truths? I can't help but feel when I'm sitting in the audience that it's also about parents questioning if they've really done enough to serve the needs of their children, and in the process they are seeking absolution for all of the places or times when they fell short.
Children of Eden
Try not to blame us
We were just human to error prone
Children of Eden will you reclaim us?
Then there's simply the moment of seeing your beautiful and precious child standing on a stage beneath a spotlight, her voice soaring and her joy multiplying upon itself.
I guess you can't really quanitfy that, can you?
I wanted to share a page I did in this spirit, using some wonderful photos taken by my dear friend and photographer Margie just a few weeks back.
Here's to celebrating the passions of our offspring, or anyone who brings something new and beautiful into our lives.
JOURNALING READS: Rut roh. Here comes Sentimental Mama. It’s been hitting really hard of late as I watch you perform in Children of Eden. Seeing you sing—the completely pure joy on your face—it’s such a gift to see you living your passion. I have to agree with Father. The hardest part of love is the letting go. But letting go lets me see more of who you are. I will always associate this music with you and your joy. Thank you, sweet girl, for sharing this with me. November 2011
The Designer Digitals 4th Quarter Sale is currently in full swing. It's a great time to stock up and save 30% on everything in the store. Everything in my collection is on sale now through next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Eastern time.