The General

December 3, 2008

As we sat in the Green Room eating pizza pre-show one night, the General paused between bites of pepperoni to tell me he enjoyed my blog.  (I wonder how he’ll like it now that I’m talking about him?)  The General found my blog during an innocent search on Google, and very kindly complimented me on undertaking this quest.

“I admire you for doing this while your daughter is still so young,” he said.  He himself gave up theatre to devote himself to his children, and jumped back on stage after they were all grown up.  Now he does three or four shows a year.  He wasn’t so sure, he told me, that he made the right decision.  He wanted to be there completely for his kids, but he has some regrets about his choice.

It’s kind of an loaded question – if you give up something you love to be with your children, are you helping or hurting them?  Or should the question be, are you helping or hurting yourself?  I have no idea.  On one hand, Moo loved going to my show (three times!), talking about my costumes, and playing “mommy’s show” with her toys.  She even has some new dance moves as a result of all this show biz business.

But on the other hand, there’s bedtime tantrum baby, all-night screaming, and cries of, “No, Mommy, Nooo!” when I left for rehearsal.  I’m missing things – she’s turning into a toddler in fits and bursts, and there were times when I’d leave my baby at 6 in the evening and find a little girl in her bed the next morning.  My baby is growing, and I’m loathe to miss a moment.

But I am more whole.  Herbie has noticed that I’m more confident.  I’m dancing again.  I tell more jokes.  I follow my instincts.  I no longer feel ashamed.  I no longer feel such great regret.  I am hopeful and excited for the adventures that lay ahead.  And that’s a woman I think my daughter could look up to.


8 Responses to “The General”

  1. kristi Says:

    It’s sooo important to not lose yourself… I think it’s a battle most moms face. I think you’re keeping a lovely balance. 🙂

  2. Katie Burke Says:

    I completely agree with your last paragraph here. And from my following your blog, I can tell you handle the balance well (even if it never feels like enough mothering or show business on your end).

    I think the best thing a mother can do for her daughter is to live by example. You are carrying out your lifelong dream and showcasing your incredible talent. AND, you take your commitment as a mother very seriously, too.

    Yes, she’s going to miss you when you leave for rehearsals and shows. But better to have a daughter who likes having you around, than one who thinks you’re a miserable wretch because you’re harboring not-so-secret resentment for sacrifices you’ve made.

    Like everything, it’s a constant tightrope act.

  3. Beth Says:

    I agree with both ladies above! Especially the part about mothers “harboring not-so-secret resentment for sacrifices you’ve made.” Let’s just say I have some experience with that (& I don’t have any kids of my own yet, know what I’m sayin?) and it’s not pretty. I think you’re doing a wonderful job of balancing your commitment to your family with staying true to yourself!

  4. Sonia Says:

    Its so, SO, hard! Even when they’re older. I jumped back in when my oldest was in High School and now my 2nd is in High School. I constantly second guess myself. Not too mention balancing your relationship with the man in your life. I know one thing that makes it easier is women like you talking to women like me and vice versa. Being there for each other and never being afraid to call’em as you see’em. That’s what theater/mom/friends are for 😉 We may not make the perfect choice everytime but hey, no parent’s perfect, whether they’re on stage or not. We just do the best we can and let our loved ones know we love them as often as we can.

  5. pam Says:

    it *is* hard to strike that balance. there are times where i felt like i have lost myself. then something comes along and i feel like the old me again. so i totally feel you! lucky for me, benjamin could care less when i go somewhere because he is all about dad these days. now that yael is on the scene, its hard again because she wants me since i am her food supply

    at any rate… i think you are doing a wonderful job! and you are so fortunate to have such a great support system in both your husband and your parents and in laws. keep doing what you have to do 🙂 moo will be fine – in fact, she will be even better because you will have done the things you need to do to make you who you are. she benefits from your happiness even if in the short term she gives you some trouble

  6. The General Says:

    This isn’t a question anyone can answer for you. I’m not sure I’d say that I have “regrets”, exactly. I made the best decisions that I could make at the time. I had a new marriage and family to deal with, which is a rather more difficult row to hoe than most. 2nd marriages are harder, and stress from doing shows might have sunk it.

    It’s tempting to look back and think that the opportunity to do some of the roles that I’m now too old for slipped away because of the choices I made. The real answer is that, if I had made different choices, I might now be living a more lonely and shallow life, perhaps with a fatter resume. I don’t regret having made sacrifices to keep the people I love in my life. I found the best balance that I could, given the cards I was dealt.

    You should do the same. You hold a pretty good hand.

    So how did auditions go for LOTRHL?

  7. mamarose Says:

    Thank you so much for the feedback, ladies. It means more than you know.

    And thanks for telling your own story, General. I knew it wasn’t really fair to use your words without really knowing your experience. I very much appreciate your input.

  8. […] 19, 2009 So what was the first thing I saw when I walked into the Peoria Center for the Arts?  The General, and dear old Fred!  I guess Phoenix really does have a tiny theatre community.  The General […]

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