• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Adjusting to Transience

New roles.


April 26, 2015

Two years ago, I was cast in a play for the first time in over 20 years. Everything about it engaged me — the script, my fellow actors, the process of staging it. I was nearly paralyzed with anxiety on opening night, and when it closed a month later, I felt lost and unmoored. The other actors had lined up new roles, but I had been too immersed in the present to plan for what came next, and for several weeks I felt homesick for the cast and the theater.

As described here, another play I was in closed last week. I have more performances under my belt now — five additional plays, about 20 films and videos, and more improv performances than I can count. The play was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad to count the cast and crew as ongoing friends, but my energy and focus are elsewhere now — on both my house improv team and an independent, Star Trek-themed team I recently helped to form, that is gearing up for our second performance at a great venue. I've also been cast in a sketch that was accepted at an upcoming festival.

The transition from clinging to the past to letting go and embracing the future hasn't always been smooth. It was a technique I realized I had to master if I was going to survive, not only acting, but parenthood.

In my dreams, Ben is still my baby. I take him everywhere, and he thrives on my tickles and hugs. The highlight of our day is his after-bath snuggle and read.

In reality, he is over 6 feet tall. He comes and goes as his school, professional and social lives dictate. The highlights for him are now getting performance and audio engineering jobs, and hearing his favorite bands with his friends. And probably some other highlights that I don't know about.

Letting go of babying him was a struggle, and I still fall into it sometimes. I worry if I haven't heard from him for what feels like a long time. I worry that he doesn't eat right, and that he smokes. I still feel better, safer and more complete when the three of us are all home for dinner, or are traveling together.

But I'm expanding my range of interests, and my ability to trust that there are different, but still satisfying, rewards yet to come.

And there are. Ben has decided he wants to try his hand at directing a play this summer, and he has invited me to play a key role. I'm interested in this literal role reversal, and looking forward to a new phase in our relationship and in my development as an actor. The externals always change, but love and connection endure.



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