Jenn and Tony were first featured here on Day 17. On Day 29, we had a beautiful and honest reflection from Jenn on the struggles of being married, being a mother and being an artist. Today's post is an entry from Tony's blog on doing what you love.
Jenn and I had a fight yesterday, all the stress built up and led to the kind of fight normally happy married couples have all the time. Stress builds, it leads to an argument which leads to a bi-annual fight, which leads to talking about what's really bothering us, which leads to six more happy months until the next time we get frustrated with each other. (I'm 32, so I'm hoping we have about 136 more six-month fight-ups.)
But, I wonder what the kids see. If Jenn and I disagree about something, Tony Jr. immediately tries to get us to stop. We have to tell him, it's okay, mommy and daddy are just talking. We just disagree about a play. He gives us a weird look to see if we're telling the truth, then moves on to the next thing he wants to do.
I think back to when I was a kid. I never saw my parents happy unless it was something to do with us kids. With everything going on, do I stop moving long enough for my kids to see that I actually am happy? That I love their mom. Not in some abstract notion, but in the I can't imagine a day without her kind of way.
Can they see that amid all the frustrations, that I love what I do?
I know that my parents didn't. They worked so we'd have food and a roof over our head. I know the difference. But what happens if I get so caught up in the minutia that my kids don't ever see that?
It's difficult for me to keep it all straight sometimes. Jenn's joked that the past festivals have gone up primarily by my willpower. The festival and the reason behind it are things I'm extraordinarily passionate about it.
I remember the first time I got the sense that anything besides us kids had made my mom happy. I was out west on this backpacking trip/class that my high school and two neighboring schools did. (Not the whole schools, but there were around thirty kids and faculty from three schools.) We stopped in a town and there was a care package waiting for me with some goodies, snack etc, and some mix-tapes to listen to that my mom had copied for me.
I've been thinking of that a lot lately. The cancer's back. She's in chemo again.
At the bottom of that care package was a stack of poems she had written. I was seventeen and had no idea my mom had ever written anything more than a grocery list. She'd been squirreling them away for God knows how long. It was the first time I'd sensed any true joy on her part. Writing made her happy. I was seventeen before I had seen anything make her happy.
If we're so busy keeping on, how can our kids even tell the difference between what we do for them, to keep food on the table, and what we love? How can we tell the difference?
Amongst all the pain in the ass things around us, I have to remember to not gloss over the reason that I do it. When I'm filling out stacks of paper work, or reviewing a grant application, or trying to help directors cast fifty plus roles, I have to remember that I'm not doing it for money. That all the work I do on the festival is my way to connect my mom's dream, what made her happy, with my daughter's potential, what might make her happy. I love what I do, who I do it for, and who I do it with. I hope my kids can see that. And I hope my mom has a chance to see the future festivals and can see that too.
The Alcyone Festival 2010 opened last weekend and runs through February 27. This year's festival celebrates the work of Maria Irene Fornes, featuring four Chicago premieres and a Pulitzer finalist in rotating repertory.