Once your eyes have been opened, how can you ever close them again?
Even though it was right there in black and white, I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. I’d been ready for disappointment, had, in fact, already practiced the consoling words I’d use to comfort my daughter. But this? Not just a role, but the role?
“The cast list is up.” I tried to keep my voice casual, the smile off my lips, the mild sense of panic from registering in my eyes. My daughter raced to the family computer. I had just a moment to shrug an answer to my husband’s silent question before pre-teen shrieks erupted.
We were in for it now. Sink or swim, there was an entire production resting on the director’s decision to cast our daughter in a major role. Question was, could she handle it? While she’d been cast in plays before, this part was different. Sure, she’d played a neighborhood kid, a monkey, a flower, but this time she’d be front and center, not just literally, but emotionally. There would be hundreds of lines to memorize, but even more nerve-wracking, the pressure would be on full-force to evoke the audience’s emotions, tug their heartstrings good and hard.
Rehearsals began immediately, and opening night came faster than seemed possible. Outside of running some lines here and there, our role had been limited to chauffeur and occasional sounding board, so we had no idea what to expect: Would she flub her lines? Would she be able to convince a paying audience that she was the spunky, imaginative character she’d been enlisted to portray? Was this really happening? No, yes and yes.
Sitting in the audience watching my daughter — so self-possessed, so in the moment, enjoying herself with every fiber — it seemed as if I was truly seeing her for the first time. It was a revelation to see her in the spotlight, and I found myself brought nearly to tears by the realization that this confident kid is already so clearly her own person, already well on her way to turning into a young woman, already so much more than just my baby. And when the lights went down on the final scene, and I knew for sure that she’d done it for real, that she’d carried her share of the emotional weight and nailed it good and proper, proving not just to me but to complete strangers that she was an actor, for real — well, my heart was so full I thought it just might burst.
I imagine that there are moments like this for most parents, a crystalline instant when we realize that we’ve done at least part of our jobs right. It’s that sort of revelatory moment that this issue is built around. As you thumb through our pages, I hope you too will be moved to reassess your own preconceived notions. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to look at the flora around you in a new way and take notice of the exquisite detail within every tendril and seedpod. Or maybe your imagination will be sparked by the idea of icebergs changing the chemistry of their surroundings, and be awestruck by the notion of a world made up entirely of shades of blue and green. Could be the trigger for your own moment of Zen can be found elsewhere in these pages. What I am sure of is that, both on- and off-campus, revelation is just an eye-blink away. All we have to do is take notice.
— Julene Snyder, Editor