Little Miss, who had her soup-stained stage debut at a Christmas concert at age two, had another debut today. This time, it was for theater camp, singing and dancing in a short-short adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” (with a ninja!).
In the two weeks at camp, she talked about what they did each day to prepare for the performance, as they had a hand in creating their paper bag costumes, props, invitations, and programs. A sentence hadn’t even ended before she started another - that was how excited she was about theater camp.
Watching her animatedly describe her immersion into theater reminded me of my own experience in school, when I started participating in plays in primary school, and later wrote and directed them in high school.
I remember winning an intra-school drama competition, which was probably my biggest achievement in my high-school career. I wasn’t an athlete, I didn’t play any musical instruments, and I wasn’t a class monitor or a prefect. I was just this girl who loved to be on stage, singing, acting, organizing concerts, even being an emcee in them.
I’d love to share this passion with my own girls, but, of course, they either will or they won’t. There’s no guarantee. Just like the reader in me delights in Little Miss’ interest in books, but I know that the moment I make that a scheduled activity, it will become a chore to her. And so I continue to work quiet time into our day, also to surreptitiously encourage reading, during Pickle’s nap, because that’s when Little Miss reads on her own, by choice. And my heart melts. Every. Time.
I do envy her these new worlds she gets to explore every time she opens a book. One day, she’s in Gotham, and the next, she’s in Wonderland. I long for that escape, and having had deadlines every week this summer, I’ve not had the chance to indulge in one of my favorite things in the world.
But things are slowing down. The projects are coming to an end. And I picked up a new book, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, this week. Last night, after the girls were in bed, I climbed in my own with this book (OK, the Kindle, technically) in my hand, and I never left.
It was magical. Both the book, and the experience, as I’ve not been able to dedicate an entire evening to inhaling chapter after chapter as I used to. The kitchen needed some tidying, but that could wait. Had to wait. I had another world to explore.
The end of my projects and Little Miss’ theater camp also mean more time at home together. We have planned a family vacation that starts at the end of next week, but we will all be home with nothing more than a whim to begin our day, every day, until preschool starts again in three weeks.
I am looking forward to the unplanned, unstructured days. With a busy freelance schedule, play and theater camp, swimming lessons, and regular sitters during the day helped create a kind of routine that moved us along in a way that worked for everyone. We each had our space, and we each had our needs and deadlines met in different ways.
I was a little concerned when we started the season that it would all be just too much. That I wouldn’t be able to handle all the juggling. That something would eventually have to give. Something did. The dishes. But that was about it.
Somehow, we made it through the toughest part, and we are going into the wilderness of summer, where the sun decides on how we will play, and the rain tells us when to get creative with our time.
And finally. Finally. I will be reading again. I will no longer look at Little Miss and the book in her hand longingly, hoping for that moment for myself. It will be The Month of Magical Reading.
Oh, the joy!
In fact, I cannot wait to climb back into bed this evening, my book (fine! Kindle!) in hand, for another delicious romp in the fantasy world of Mr. Gaiman’s incredible imagination. To get lost once more in a land far, far away.
Delirious to be away from this life, but happier still to come back to all that I have, waiting for me.