Thursday, October 30, 2008
First off I just want to say I love the word Autumn - so much nicer than 'Fall'. Also it always confused me when I was a kid that one season had two names - and that they were nothing alike . .
So anyway, yesterday was absolutely beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. The kiddos had a half day of school so I decided to grab the camera and take advantage of my gorgeous neighbourhood. And it got me to thinking that I used to do things like this all the time when they were little. I wonder why parents stop paying the same kind of attention to their kids as they grow?
I'm sure it has something to do with the natural ageing progression of children - as they grow they continually assert more and more independence, parents respond in kind with less and less codling. And there you have it: by the time they are 16 they know everything, hate you and have the keys to the car - yikes! (And yes, I just described myself as a teen!)
But I also recall wanting a bit of codling - even as a teen. I can remember wondering why my parents stopped hugging me. (though in truth they were never very demonstrative - particularly my dad) Also I wasn't a very lovable kid most of the time! I think we are designed to be this way - independent, wilful, sinful.
It makes me wonder what kind of God can love such an unlovable as me? And what kind of parent you have to be to love despite your child's strong emerging independence? Their wilful disobedience?
I know the kind of parent I want to be - though I am often far short of my own ideal! I want to be the kind of parent that takes advantage of sunny fall days, that grabs the camera when there is no 'occasion', the kind of parent who can admit to their child that they are not perfect- and ask for forgiveness, the kind of parent that insists of loving (and hugging) their wilful teen. In short I am going to try and coddle them a bit longer - though I know they wont appreciate until much later in life (if at all) It's a risk I'm willing to take.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's true - Arsenic and Old Lace is over. It's been three years since I was last on stage and having such a fantastically fun return has made the ending even harder! It's always hard to say goodbye to a show when I am the director but I had somewhat forgotten the moroseness that follows a show you have acted in.
Perhaps it is simply because it had been so long since I was last an actor that it was all over way too quickly. Perhaps its because I felt a connection to such good folk in the cast and crew. Perhaps it is because when I am the director - the saddest, hardest week is not once the show wraps but when once it opens and you realize you must let go . . . .
One thing is for sure - it wont be another three years before I strap on those character shoes again. I've rediscovered some things about myself. I love to be on-stage. I love not being in charge every now and then. And I love the camaraderie that is a part of being in the 'cast'. Arsenic and Old Lace - I will miss you!
Let me entertain the idea of hospitality for a moment. It's a simple concept - to extend welcome. But to me, welcome encompasses so much more - to provide for, to show concern and consideration, to anticipate needs, to facilitate conversations, to give comfort, to ensure everything is on hand - all details taken care of.
The art of hospitality is one I struggle with; in the sense that I strive to be hospitable. A good host. I love to have people over to my home - no matter the occasion. But I often wonder - what makes a good host? It's all of the above but also the ability to fade . . . at least at first.
When I go out to socialize its a struggle for me to not monopolize the conversation. (yes I know those of you who know me can attest to this!) When I am quiet and try to listen - I am often accused of not being myself - or better yet am asked what is 'wrong'? So I generally turn up the volume - ask a lot of questions, share stories and make crappy jokes (I'm assured it's part of my charm)!
But socializing at home is different. I try to engage people with each other. I make introductions, ensure people have what they need - food, drink, place to sit (well depending on how many people are there!) and I attend to details (is there toilet paper in the guest bath? Do coats need to be hung up? Where is that stupid bottle opener? Never eat until the guests have eaten!). I encourage others to feel at home - to help themselves. It's a different version of me - one that I like. I'm suddenly the kind of person who is able to show her care for others without necessarily being at the center of the action.
Soon, the party gets loud - that's when you know its a success. I look around the room and people are talking to each other. Eating, drinking, playing - and I am NOT needed - I have successfully faded! And that when I give myself permission to join in.