I am Still Stage Mum

The talented folk of the Letterkenny Musical Society take to the stage tonight for the opening night of  their production of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
I watched the dress rehearsal last night.  It’s stunning and apart from the Saturday matinee, is sold out.
Rightly so.
It’s utterly spectacular.

I’m not involved this year.
That makes me sad.

Obviously,  I have my hands pretty full with Mini Me and Princess, so the show this year was really not an option for me.
I hadn’t really missed it to be honest…until Sunday.

Hubby was in the theatre helping to build the set as usual.
I took the kids in to see what was happening and to say hi to everyone.

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It was the most beautiful, sunny and crisp February Sunday.  The side door to the stage was rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs were hoisted at head height while the crew worked on them.  The production team were creating what would be huge columns for the set.
I stood in the middle of it and closed my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together, made me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it was beautiful.

I opened my eyes and looked at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvass would be transformed into a completely believable world into which the cast would step.
Do you miss us?”  My thoughts were interrupted by the familiar voice of our Producer.   And for the first time, I answered that question without having to think about it or feel guilty for admitting it.
Soooooo much.”

I’ve been asked this asked few times in conversations over the past few weeks.  As the publicity for their show caused conversations to turn to it more and more, I’ve heard “Are you involved this year?” or “Do you miss it?”   My automatic answer?  “Not at all, sure I dont have time to miss it!” (Cue careless laugh!)

More often than not however, the question has been more of a statement.  “Obviously you’re not involved this year.” or “I’m sure you don’t miss it, sure you have more important things to think about.
One friend, meaning well when I admitted that I was missing the build-up to the show, went as far as “But sure look at what you have there.  That’s much more important than a show.”

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He pointed at my 3 month old Princess who was sleeping in my arms while I ate lunch (with one hand as usual!)
And of course he was right.
She and her sister are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there on Sunday,  I didn’t feel guilty admitting that I miss it.
I didn’t feel guilty last night at the dress rehearsal when I admitted that I’m heartbroken that my friends and Hubby are going to have the best week of their year, without me.
And I won’t feel guilty getting involved again next year.

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours.

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So this week, I’ll pull up my big girl pants and enjoy watching the people I love so much enjoying their success.
I’ll  cheer them on and encourage them to believe that they are indeed fabulous.
On Saturday night,  I’ll sit in the audience and I’ll clap and cheer and celebrate their achievements.
Because they are Superstars.

And whether I’m on the stage, or in the audience,
I AM Still Stage Mum.

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