For Daughter #2's Sweet 16 we were going to go to Manhattan and see a show, Next to Normal. We bought the tickets months ago. Three tickets, because of course she wanted to bring a friend.
She discovered she was one of five kids picked to go on a leadership weekend. An honor right up her alley, and perfect for listing on a future college application.
Which is why she's planning a party with a tent and dance floor in our yard next month. And why, last weekend, I went with a friend from work and Daughter #1 to see Next to Normal without her.
If the choice had been mine, it is so not the show I would have picked. It's about the struggles of a woman suffering from bipolar disorder and the havoc it wreaks on her mega-understanding husband and perfectionist, spiraling-out-of-control daughter.
Oh, and it's a musical.
How, I thought, does one spin mental illness, psychosis, and familial dysfunction into song and dance? Trust me, they found a way.
I laughed. I cried. I was forever changed. Seriously.
And it wasn't just me. My friend felt the tears coming on before the first act ended. By the final moments of the play the sounds of muffled sobs along with noses snuffling and being blown echoed throughout the entire theater.
It's true, not everyone has a crazy mother or a mental disorder. But we probably know someone who does. And if not that, maybe we know someone who's battled a major illness, or the loss of a child or marriage.
Let's face it, we've all battled something. We do not get into our third or fourth or fifth decade of life without some killer scars to show for ourselves exactly how much we've lived.
And that's what I love about theater, love about art. How it can take the life inside us and reflect it back in a way that touches our innermost core. Our soul, if you will. And allow us to experience both sorrow and joy, love and loss.
Just like this play. Just like life.
I'm going to take advantage of this wonderful long weekend by hauling my butt out to the garden and taking a short bloggy break. See you all the middle of next week. Enjoy!