When they were little, we watched them dance around the living room, daily, nightly, all the time. We sat through never-ending plays made up by them, with homemade costumes and sets that fell over. We endured endless evenings of new-violin-player 'music' and Suzuki practice CD's on repeat. And now, they are quite grown up. The 'bigs' are, anyway. Forest is still scheming about how he can get me to be Rudolph to his Santa Claus, and even convinced me without much work to buy a pair of felt reindeer antlers and a blinking red nose tonight. I'm trying to convince him that it looks much better on him, and hoping he goes for some mash-up of Santa and Rudolph so that I don't get stuck pulling a sleigh like the dog in the Grinch. But, those 'bigs' are gone until the late evening every night right now. Rehearsing. This weekend, it's a play. Gus is on the big stage with his much-practiced role of pirate. He was a pirate for about four years running, starting at age six. He dug out his crumpled homemade felt hat tonight to take to one of the final rehearsals before the big nights, Saturday and Sunday. He comes home happy and tired from these practices, looking forward to the next one. I can't help but think of one of his early acting experiences, in which the 'stage' was the area beneath his newly built loft bed, and he and his sisters did a rousing rendition of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker'. Gus was a very grumpy shoemaker.
Eleanor is dancing so much we hardly see her. As a part of the 'company' at her studio, her practices go long most nights, and besides dancing at school, she has six days of dancing at her studio. I remember taking her to her first ballet class, in her pink leotard and tutu. She was thrilled. She still is. I watch with amazement as her formerly chubby little limbs have grown and stretched to miles long arms and legs and as she does contortionist things with them. As a young dancer, I had dreams of doing the things she is doing now, and it is such a treat to watch her do them.
Lucy is getting ready for her debut in 'the pit'. She cut her finger on a knife the other day, which is making playing the violin a bit rough, but she's excited to be playing the music of The Nutcracker, and finding her way through this first set of long rehearsals, in what will likely be a long line. I watch her confidence grow as she becomes more comfortable with this new group.
All in all there will be eleven performances in a week and half's time. The Dude is a bit grumbly about the busyness of it all, and the driving for all of these sometimes gets to this Taximama. But I have been reminding myself and him that these performances are something they have been working up to for years, a decade now. All of the encouragement, tears, lessons, dollars and determination that have gone into getting these kiddos to the stages they will be on would have been worth it if they only continued to enjoy playing, acting or dancing. I hope that they will also enjoy the doing of their things for others.