Sunday, June 27, 2010

This is Why we Sing

I haven't written about this yet, but for the past week or so my sweet grandma has been in the hospital. You can read more about my grandma and her ways in this blog post, one of many that my sister has written on her fabulous blog.

I have this picture that I snapped of my kids on Halloween, with grandma the willing participant, in her Santa style Yankees hat (she is a die hard, completely hard core, fanatic for the Yankees).
Her eyes, which once spent countless hours stitching quilts or painting ceramics she would most likely give to others, are now pretty much gone. We had a lot of explaining to do as she tried to understand the boys costumes, but she had plenty of goodies to hand out none the less.

My brother wondered if anyone would want to go visit her in her hospital- our sister Julie had been on overtime there and had to return to her out of town home, so we worried she might be lonely and needing a Sunday boost. We sent out a late night text, and to my amazement one by one my busy siblings showed up, hymn books in hand, ready to sing.

We had compiled a list of our favorites, but grandma had her own requests. As we sang them, one after the other, her eyes slipped closed..... her lips mouthed the words, and sometimes her head would fall to the side as her emotions just over took her and she sobbed.

"How Great Thou Art" was nothing short of a miracle, for we somehow made it through it, yet we were all crying as she shook and gripped her hospital sheets, trying to sing along, her face wrenched tight in determination.

She insisted we had the voices of angels, and she said she had no idea we could sing that way. We ended with"America the Beautiful" and I could feel Grandpa, who passed away over 11 years ago, smiling on our patriotic selection.

After we finished she decided out loud, "I am the envy of all the hospital!" but she quickly scolded herself for saying such a prideful thing out loud.

She turned to us with her blurry, unfocused eyes, and said, "I don't know how much longer I'll live, but that was so great, I won't forget it for the rest of my life." Then she blew a kiss across the room.

I love you, Grandma.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They say you never forget

They say you never forget how to ride a bike.
I have not owned my own bike since I was 12......or so
Meet my Novara
I can ride it 9 miles (my furthest yet) without crying because my behind hurts.
I feel like Mary Poppins with a helmet on.

I am not good at hopping up to the side walk, as these photos will testify

And yes, it hurts as bad as it looks. On the other hand.....does this make me tough? I am one of those girls with road rash

loving the caption....
if it has tires or scratches itself, you're going to have trouble with it

accepting condolences or admiring comments about my toughness now

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

LIfe is a Stage

One of my hobbies in life is being on stage. I was raised in a home where every day was a performance, either for one of my 12 siblings or parents, or for myself in front of the large living room window, which had a reflection that could rival any dance studio's walls of mirrors.

This from my Junior Year, in "Bye Bye Birdie"- of course I was the noisy loudmouth friend, "Ursula".

Later I started spending time in community theater, with my family sometimes, in shows like "Hello Dolly" and "Fiddler on the Roof" (probably still one of my lifetime favorites.) Most days our home was filled with music. I used to brag about knowing all the songs to "Jesus Christ Superstar" like a musical rebel, but acting out shows and singing along was just part of our every day lives.

When I got married, I kind of moved on. I spent nights with my husband and spent days at work, and then the kids came along and theater was just a lucky once in a while visit. Until 2006, when my grandma and mom both encouraged me to try out for "CATS".
I had a horrible audition, but luckily made it to call backs where I secured a spot as Demeter, and never looked back.
My local moment in the spotlight included being featured on the front of the Entertainment Guide for the paper.

The paper feature, applause, or even the flowers from my ever patient hubby (whom I had to gently 'remind' that flowers are an opening night tradition), were not what captured me that summer. What grabbed me by the heart and has never let go was the simple process of performing. Singing and dancing. Performing like a little kid and being part of an amazing production. I followed with a small part in "Seussical", and last summer had the chance to play the part of a lifetime in "Wizard of OZ", including flying and throwing fire from a broom

This year the madness has taken a whole new turn, as I got a part in "Joseph and the Amaazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" not just alone, but with all of my kids. My oldest son is "Benjamin", Joseph's youngest brother, and my younger boys are in the children's chorus. We load up every night from Tuesday through Friday and most Saturday mornings and head over to do our part in being part of this amazing show. It has been a blast (but adding to the busy summer schedule) and I am glad for the fun we have had....

Mostly though, I think about what music and creativity brought to my life as a young girl smack dab in the midst of a somewhat crazy household, and I think of the power music still has in my life- along with the gift of being able to share a performance with other people. Those are the things that make me most passionate and most excited for the summer ahead- and the chance to pass it along to a new generation of young crazy kids.