Tuesday, August 07, 2007

In The Beginning...

Pardon the lack of posts for the past month. We went on vacation for two weeks visiting friends and family back in good ol' Louisiana. Nothing majorly eventful happened that I needs to be talked about other than we spent some great quality time with people we love and we did nothing else. It was quite nice to do nothing for two weeks. If you have the means, I highly recommend it. We did listen to Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows and I won't spoil it for anyone. We stayed up extra late when we got home to finish the book. Good stuff.

Immediately after getting home, I auditioned for Children of Eden at Footlite Musicals. And, I'm quite happy to tell you that I have been cast as one of the Storytellers. I'll give you all the pertain info as the show gets nearer. Children of Eden is freely based on Genesis 1 - 9. That is, it's the story of the creation, Adam and Eve, the Fall, Cain and Abel all the way up to the flood and Noak's Ark. But, really, it's about father's and their relationship with their children.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - My biggest fear is that I am a bad dad. As my son gets older and in his teen years, I am beginning to worry more and more about what our relationship will be like when in 20 years. Am I teaching him the right things? Is he learning good habits from me? Will he learn responsibility? Is he picking up my bad habits? Is it too late to help him change certain habits? Time will only tell, I guess. Doesn't make me worry less that I'm not screwing up.

My dad, I see now and that's important, is a saint and I love him dearly. But, when I was growing up, I never saw his wisdom, I guess. His love for me, sure. But, I never understood why, for example, in one biddy basketball game my father the coach didn't put me into the game until midway through the third quarter and we had a good lead. You'd think coach's son would get some playing time. And, it kinda hurt that coach wouldn't put me in the game sooner. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized his wisdom - I suck at basketball. I think he was maybe just sparing me the pain of realizing I suck at such a young age. In fact, he was probably encouraging me more by letting me play when the situation was easier for me to handle, letting me get my confidence up.

There is no doubt my father is a kind and gentle soul. I'm sure there were times when he wanted to throttle me. I know there are times (especially now that I have a teenager) that I want to throttle my son. But, he never did. I think he spanked me maybe once or twice when I was a tot. I can't remember if he ever raised his voice in anger to me.

This is the kind of father my dad is. It's my favorite "being a father" story and it's not really about me. I was in high school and was awoken late one night by banging on my window. It was my sister's friend, Danny. He was trying to get me to help him with my sister who was drunk and violently puking out of his hatchback. She's 5 years older than me so was close to legal drinking age, if not over 21, at the time. Danny and I got her to the bathroom and in all the commotion, my dad woke up. He send me to bed and thanked Danny. He stayed up at least an hour or two taking care of my sister, putting her to bed and cleaning all the puke up. Around 7 o'clock in the morning, he bangs on her door and yells her name. He walks into her room with a skillet full of eggs and greasy bacon and his trademark twinkle in his eye. He wakes her up, putting the skillet in her face, asking her if she's ready for a nice, healthy breakfast. As memory serves, she bolted for the toilet and puked again. But, I honestly don't think she's been drunk ever since. He took care of her that night, and taught her a lesson about drinking too much. And, he did it without becoming unglued or angry, even though, he probably was upset that she was as drunk as she was.

That is the type of father I hope to be. More than I care to admit, I don't think that I am. I want my children to know I love them, but I also want them to understand there are evils in this world it is my duty to protect them from. This fatherhood thing is pretty tricky and I'm very worried about what happens to our relationship when the kid turns 18.

So, the read-through rehearsal last night was the first time I was able to sit down and absorb the words of this show. And good gravy, I'm glad I was sitting in the back corner because more than a few times I had to stop, take a breath, sniffle, and wipe a dot of moisture from my eye.

Early in the show, Father is telling Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. They ask why and he responds (in song, natch):
"There are things a father knows
a child cannot.
I think you would agree
You're newer here than me
Have faith I have my reasons
You cannot see,
In your best interest...
So no more questions about that tree.
And therein lies the problem. Kids never understand until they are adults that their parents have been there, done that, and love them so much they don't want their kids to make the same mistakes. My problem is trying to figure when to stop him from making the mistakes I have make and when to let him learn from his own mistakes. And that's the my struggle. Too often, I think, I disallow him from making his mistakes, preventing him from learning from them.

***I don't think this is a show spoiler since the events are pretty much in Genesis, but I'll give you a SPOILER ALERT here just in case.***

In the end, after the flood, Father sings to his children (Noah & Family),
"Now, I know I cannot hold you
Till at last I let you be free."
If you see the show, I promise a teardrop by this point. And, ain't that the truth? The more we try to hold our children, the more they struggle to get free. I'm learning that to hold him close to my heart I have to let him go.

This journey into Eden I hope will be a time of great growth and learning for me. Not just a time to figure out how to be a better father, but build on established relationships and to love more than I think I do. Afterall, I believe the reason God created us was because he was lonely. And, he put that loniless into us so that we, too, would search for love and build our own relationships. Not just with him, but with others.

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