Wednesday, September 22, 2010
A Bit of Magic
I am getting very excited. Thursday evening, I am taking Teagan to see Disney's "Mary Poppins" at The Murat Theatre. I've written before about my previous love of and involvement in theatre. I've been watching video clips of Mary Poppins and... I've already been in tears. I just know that when the lights go down and that curtain goes up for the first time, I will have tears in my eyes. I will cry tears of joy and excitement during dance numbers and tender moments. I have great hope that I will look over to see my daughter looking up as Mary Poppins flies away and see that magic in her eye and on her face- that theatre magic that can truly captivate. As I watch Mary Poppins in the video clips, I'm totally taken in by the complete escapism of all of it. This magical nanny who comes along and brings this broken family back together again by teaching and demonstrating hope, fun, playfulness, and loyalty... don't we all wish we'd had a Mary Poppins in our lives when we were little? While I didn't have an actual Mary Poppins, I did have some special people who passed through my childhood- staying for as long as they were needed. Growing up was hard for me. I'm open about my childhodd. My mom was a single parent, working her way through dental school in order to give us a better life. That choice and plan meant a lot of hard times and sacrifice for both of us. And my deep, dark secret was that I was being sexually abused by a cousin 8 years older than me. That went on for most of my elementary school years until we moved away from Kentucky to Cincinnati, OH- away from my abuser, away from hunger, away from the financial struggles I'd grown up with. We moved away and I had a Daddy, my mom, a home, and safety. But during those dark years, there were highlights. I have tons of very positive memories with my mom and with the man who became my dad and with friends from school and in our apartment complex and with my grandparents. There were some special people who were my Mary Poppins, though. First, there was a family from our church that stepped up and provided before and after school care for me. I assume it was at no cost to my mom. Being a mom and knowing many single moms, I look back and realize what an amazing blessing this family was. They truly lived their faith, at least through the eyes of my childhood memories. I got to witness a "normal" family. They had a comfortable home, married parents, a daughter close to my age, a little dog, a backyard to play in. Dad worked, mom stayed home. It was with this family that I had a lot of normal childhood memories- jumprope contests, learning to hula hoop, tasting dog kibble just to know why that dog liked it so much. I remember showing up at their house to wait for the bus and I'd come in while they were having breakfast and I always asked to have some, too. My mom would be embarassed- she'd fed me before we left. But I think I wanted to just be part of that family normalcy, you know? So that mom, that family, was definitely a taste of Mary Poppins for me. A window to what a normal family looked like, how they functioned and leaned on each other. It took Mary Poppins to bring that out in the Banks family, right? And Mary Poppins is, of course, about a little bit of magic. I was very fortunate to have a woman I sometimes consider an angel to pass through my childhood. She definitely brought a touch of magic to my life. She was single and I remember her being a business woman. She was fashionable and I was in awe of her. She lived next door to us for a brief period of time. She was always friendly with me. Sometimes, she would invite me over. I thought it was amazing that her apartment, which was identical to ours, could be so classy! One day, she invited me to go shopping with her. I'm sure my mom appreciated the break. I don't remember all of the details but I do remember her taking me into this little gift shop that I recall being part of a hotel or somewhere that she had to run an errand. She had taken me out to lunch and treated me like I was a grown up. We went into this gift shop and there was a display of stuffed animals. I was so taken with every single one of them- everything from tiny things that could fit into your pocket to a giraffe that looked life sized to my young eyes. She knelt beside me and said that I could pick out any animal I wanted and she would buy it for me. I still have the unicorn I picked. She moved away not long after- flying into the air, holding on to the black umbrella with parrot head handle. Have you had any Mary Poppins moments in your life?