Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 7 of 21. Sunday Bloody Sunday.

I get up Sunday and feel pretty ok. End of week 1.  Phil takes the boy to work out and to get a few things from Costco. Kiera keeps me company as I make the week's batches of breakfast burritos and bean burritos. It's an easy way for me to feel useful.

Sundays used to be the girls' drama day. But in the attempt to cut down on some of my activities, we cut back on their participation. They were totally cool with it. They have so much fun performing, but putting on performances take a lot of behind the scenes work. Everything seems to require extra parental involvement. I always felt bad. I felt bad saying no, I couldn't help and then I would try to help and get exhausted, I missed hanging out with the other moms. I felt the subtle shift.

Yet there is a production of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty coming up and both Lily and Kiera really really wanted to be a part of it. So here we go again.  Life lessons through drama. I love the theater. Love. Fell in love with it when a friend took me to see Funny Girl in Toledo. I had no idea what it was about, but I felt like I was part of this special club. Stay up ast your bedtime, "arts" club.  In 7th grade I was the lead in our musical production of a Back to the Future knock off. I had a solo. I think we skipped an entire scene and worked some magic to make it flow. All I remember is terror. Absolute terror. I hated being on stage. Hated. Costume changes, the lights, eyes on you. Yuck. But I do love seeing a show. Seeing Phantom as a teen at a time where everything about it resonated with me. Going to see it after dad died, knowing how much Christine wished her father was somehow there again. In our special IB program in high school we went to operas and shows. My friend Sarah was in a rather tragic performance of Once Upon a Mattress. She took me to see Rent, I had to call in sick to work because it ran long. Theatre just seems to do that. It's live. Unpredictably predictable.

The first rehearsal is Sunday for the girls. It's also football season. Football is Phil's theatre. The Broncos are playing and I want to spend the time with him. I plan on dropping the girls off and coming right home. He is absolutely over the drama scene. He comes to watch the productions, but he just doesn't have time to deal with all the behind the scenes politics. Mostly he knows it causes me stress and he feels I need to get away from that.  I chat a bit with the moms.  It's hard. It's hard to not jump in and help with some crafty project. I love crafty projects. Being able to sit and watch the girls sing and dance their little hearts out and hang out with the some really great ladies. Painting sets, making wands and cupcakes and planning for Disneyland performance kept me busy at a time the world threatened to crash around me when I was diagnosed with mets.

In many respects, every day is a performance when you live with cancer. I have friends ask all the time- no how are you really doing? I kinda suck at acting. I have no poker face and my filter has pretty much been destroyed. What you see is what you get.  Inefficiency drives me out of my mind. I can forgive lack of planning- but you also have to forgive my lack of spontaneity. That's kind of the schtick with spontaneity. It either comes together or it doesn't. Planning takes some of the unknowns out of the equation. Life and theater- lots of things can go wrong. You roll with it. You will be judged on your appearance, how you sound, how you move. Is any of it really you? What people see is not always what you intended to put out there. Sometimes shit breaks and the masterful - show must go on attitude- can either make or break the outcome. And when it comes right down to it- when someone else is calling the shots- you are at their mercy. The best actor doesn't always get the part because they don't have the right look. There is favoritism and politics and you just have to learn to deal. It's hard when life and cancer throw a whole bunch of perspective in your face daily.

So I show Kiera daily- the background players that make the world WORK. How you react to what goes around you is important. There is no limit to the good you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. So I tell her to do what she loves and when she stops loving it, we re-evaluate. We are fairly limited- and we live on an island. Sometimes we have to get creative, or work within the confines. That is life. Find your happy. Shoot for Broadway if you want- but know that a little community theatre somewhere that can bring lots of joy and entertainment to a group that can't get to Broadway. We hop in the car. I scratch my hand and it starts to bleed. It was an itch that is now bleeding. A little tiny scab is now a mess. It doesn't stop. I'm not going to bleed to death but it reminds me that I am not as healthy as I like to act. Like I said, Im a bad actor.  Kiera grabs a napkin and holds pressure on my hand. I didn't ask her to, I didn't point it out, she just did it. She hates germs, she avoids sickness so this little gesture touches me immensely.

I drop them off and return home. Phil is on the phone, working. After a half an hour of whatever it is he is arranging for work, he stops the game altogether. Our few hours together is sidelined. Benched. One of the theatre moms texts to see if she can take the girls to dinner. I realize it is almost dinner time and I can tell our family dinner plan is not going to come together tonight so I say yes.  She is one of those behind the scenes people that makes the world WORK and a better place. She never gets credit nor asks for it. But she brings so much goodness to the world and to my bloody Sunday. For that I am grateful.

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)