In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. ~Lao Tzu
This weekend was full of Quality Family Time, and I’m very grateful for it! It’s been a wonderful, busy few weeks, especially the last two, as I’ve been overlapping rehearsals for The Understudy at Williamston Theatre and Ernie at the City Theatre. As I was driving between the two shows, and back to my house to be with my wife and kids, I was thinking about the different families we create in our lives. It’s always been one of the things I loved most about working in the theatre, the way each production becomes its own family. Designers regularly get the chance to work on multiple shows at a time, but as a director I haven’t often had the opportunity, and going back and forth between several versions of a family with different goals, values, traditions, expectations, all on the same day, has been a lot of fun. Not just fun, though, but also a reminder that in order to succeed, you have to be fully present, listening, open to the moment. It’s a real gift to have one or more “families” to call home.
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard
It was nice to take all of Saturday and most of Sunday, though, and be with my wife and kids, as well as my parents, siblings and their families! We celebrated birthdays and an early Mother’s Day, played games, ate good food, laughed and generally had a great time. We stood there, 3 generations of a family, and as we were posing for a picture I thought “Where did all of this come from!?”. We stood there for the picture, my parents in front and Dominic and Gina and I behind them, Dom and I on the sides with Gina in the middle, just like when we were kids in the backseat, and my parents were in the front seat driving us on one of the thousands of car trips we went on; singing songs as we headed to A&W for root beer floats, or a visit with cousins, or camping. And now, here we are, in that same formation… with a few additions!
It’s amazing how quickly that seems to have happened. And how MUCH seems to have happened. And yet, there are the constants: family stories that never fail to make us laugh, the same jokes about the same topics, the one-liner that will only make sense to my brother and sister and I, but send us into hysterics about a moment from 30 years ago.
I know all of this will pass. It will, it’ll pass into family lore as we all fade away… and the thing I hope most of all is that we, Jeanne and I, can give to our kids enough laughter, love, memories and stories to last a few generations past us – the way our parents have – so that even if our stories don’t last forever, the impact of them will.
Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted. ~Paul Pearshall