“Mom, are we taking the freeway?”
I foolishly thought my youngest daughter Lizabeth, who’ll turn 17 next month, was asking how we’d be getting to a theater audition downtown. In reality, she was looking for ways to set some boundaries with a mom who sometimes elevates hovering to a fine art.
Lizabeth seemed relieved when I answered “yes,” but not because I was behind schedule to get her to her first audition with a professional theater company featuring adult rather than youth actors. Instead, I think, it gave her a tangible tool for setting the tone of the next 20 minutes.
“No talking once we get on the freeway,” she said. “And that means no sound effects either.” No talking bears who first came to life during early childhood playtime. No nothing. She’s the teen, and I’m the taxi driver. That’s it.
I was scared for a couple of reasons…
First, the only time I go 20 minutes without talking is when I’m blogging—which may explain my family’s enthusiastic support of this particular pastime.
Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective…
I recalled the day we hit Paradise Valley Mall for a photo shoot at a new studio called “Moments,” located eerily close to a place where one of my scariest parenting moments ever had occurred.
I have to wonder, by the way, whether other folks read a word like “Moments” only to be flooded with endless variations on a theme—or whether it’s the unique blessing, or curse, of being a writer.
“Moments” is surrounded by shops that range from a jumbo-sized Sears to a quaint little Gymboree. But back in the day, that particular piece of PV Mall real estate was occupied by a Dairy Queen and an Easy Spirit shoe store (which offered the only shoes that would fit my post-pregnancy feet).
I was shopping there with my son Christopher—then a toddler, but now on the brink of turning 21. Always a curious child, he’d gone exploring behind stacks of boxes recently delivered to the store. When I turned around to pick him up, he wasn’t there.
I frantically searched surrounding stores, and asked shoppers milling to and fro whether they had seen a young boy who fit Christopher’s description (yes, you should keep photos of your children with you at all times).
I found Christopher not long after at one of the cosmetic counters at Sears, where an alert salesperson had asked him to sit while she looked for his lost mommy. This was also before the days of CSI, Dexter and Dateline NBC specials, so I easily shook off my worry that the lipstick lady could have been a serial killer.
Not the day a son got separated from his mother, but the day a daughter chose to separate herself from her mom. Not in a scary way, but in a healthy one.
Lizabeth got to her audition on Saturday, stunning headshots and resumes in hand. I got to wait in the parking lot, grateful we’d arrived without speeding ticket in hand.
I don’t know how Lizabeth’s audition went. Once I got used to the silence, it was rather freeing. I shared over an apres-audition lunch that I wasn’t asking how it went because I wanted to ‘give her space.’
“I know,” Lizabeth said. “I know you would never not care, so I figured you knew that I’d talk about it if I wanted to.” (She did send a text message, so there’s someone she was excited to share the news with.)
I recall a younger Lizabeth once wrought with tears in the face of making a school presentation. She didn’t have to say a word after her audition. The fact that she did it, and that she came out with a spring in her step and a smile on her face, spoke volumes.
I’ll never forget that moment…
Note: I suspect some folks would frown on hitting the mall for headshots. But we were pleasantly surprised by the artistry of Lizabeth’s photographer (also a mom) at “Moments.” Lizabeth has never been prone to primping, but she actually enjoyed her time there and we were very happy with both the results and the pricing. The studio offers “all occasion photography” with “all size prints and canvas” and “same day printing.” For information on “Moments” photography and packages, call 602-867-5047. (They’ve been open just two weeks so there isn’t yet a website.)
Coming up: Summer dance camps and classes