sadie in the play

Last night, Sadie was Miranda in The Tempest. There were five Mirandas, all equally Miranda-like and filled with wonder.

Sadie’s got a thing for Shakespeare, and since she was little she has loved to hold my Riverside Shakespeare in her lap. This was the first play that she has gotten to do, really truly, in front of an audience.

She knew her lines weeks ago. She’s chanted them around the living room so many times that Rosie knows them too. The night before last, she just couldn’t fall asleep. She wasn’t nervous–she just couldn’t wait.

I was Miranda too, once. It was just a few years before Sadie came to be. Over the last weeks, Sadie has been drilling me on the similarities. What was your costume like? (blue and silky and Indonesian) Did you have to kiss Ferdinand? (Yes, and it didn’t go so well) Do you remember this line? (Only because you’ve been repeating it all day)

Honestly, I have loved this connection over the play. That Riverside Shakespeare is one of the most important books in my life, and I am happy to share it with her. It is so heavy, after all.

Last night, I had a selectboard meeting. It was important, and worthwhile, and we were dealing with issues that will make a difference. I had to be there.

Standing in the back of the classroom while the kids gestured and spoke out and swayed in imaginary storms, I watched the clock. I knew that I would miss the end of the play, but I was hopeful that I would get to see Sadie in her big scene. In the end, I ran out of the school five minutes before her scene, trying not to cry as I hopped into the car, and I sped to my meeting.

I missed her first school play. After staying home with her for years and being there for everything, I missed her 8 lines as Miranda.

I left my camera with Joey and I made him swear to photograph every moment. When I got home, I looked at these pictures, and I heard the lines in my head, and I gave Sadie a really big squeeze. She asked if I had seen any of her scene, and I was honest with her. A flash passed through her face, and I pulled her onto my lap and asked her to tell me about every moment. She was okay. She had had just the night she was dreaming of.

I feel ridiculous thinking about Sadie in therapy in 20 years, but I have to admit that I think of it. “My mom missed my first school play!” she’ll say, and the therapist will shake her head in disbelief. “She was always so busy- there was the town, and her writing, and her cooking. She was always shooing me out of the kitchen! No wonder I hate to cook.”

The side of myself that creates these conversations is not my best. With my rational side, the one that thinks anxiety and guilt is a waste of time and energy, I know that she will be okay. I know that she is her own little self, and that I do my best to keep her safe, feed her well, and give her a lap to sit on. I know that I am not so powerful that one missed play will make a future wreck of her. After all, there are so many people who love her, and I am just one among them. Last night, Rosie was sitting in the front row, mouthing her lines and cheering her on. Joey was in the back, beaming and photographing every moment. Grandma was there, and Auntie Maia. And there were all of her friends, onstage and off, calming each other’s stage fright and high-fiving after each scene. A lot of people were loving her through those eight lines.

But next time, nothing can keep me away.


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8 Responses to sadie in the play

  1. nancy w. says:

    alana…sadie can read this blog. it is your riverside shakespeare. you were miranda also. she got to the play with you in an extraordinary way. i know the battle between work and mothering well. you might not be there next time but you will do your best. it is alot more than most kids will ever imagine, all this hope. and sadies' anticipation of her experience is amazing, her aliveness. i felt i was there in a blue gown just reading this. keep your chin up, arms open.

  2. Alicea says:

    I got so emotional reading this… The mothers of now are so lucky to be able to do all that we do and we have accomplished so much… But sometimes it means that we are pulled in a million directions, or in your case last night, two. I think Sadie will someday be really proud of her mommy and all of the roles that you play in life.
    She looked like she was an absolute star! So expressive without an ounce of fear!

  3. Alexandra Tinari says:

    I can tell that Sadie was perfect as Miranda and most definitely inspired by you. So much love.

  4. Dana says:

    Oh, she was so good! I love the joy she brought to her scene and it lit up the entire room. Everyone felt it! Marc video taped it. He always does and then he never does anything with it. But he has vowed to make a copy for YOU!

  5. Paige Orloff says:

    What Nancy W. said, and Alicea, and Alexandra, and Dana, too. You are there, all the time, and she knows your love.

  6. MH says:

    Lovely post, Alana.
    Miranda H.

  7. alanachernila says:

    Aw, thanks guys…just smiling.

  8. Lissa says:

    Yo, for better, or worse, you are always with your girls. From the beginning until forever. It is probably the only thing in all of the world that I am sure of, well and the bliss of all that tea and flaky pastry we've eaten.

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