I went to Cal Poly yesterday and saw Peter Pan with my daughter. It was the same show she’d played the “grown up” Wendy in almost a decade earlier. It was the last show she was in here at home, before she left for school to attend AADA, The American Acadermy of Dramatic Arts, a drama school that has been around for over a century. Ahhh how I remember those last days. They were so fragile and they’d hit me like a Mack Truck.
I wasn’t prepared for the whole “Empty Nest” thing. In fact, it really kind of creeped up on me. It all started with her driving, and then curfews changing and slowly, me figuring out how to let go. I’d done it almost a decade earlier with her brother and that was hard enough, but there is something about the last one. Anyway, I’d remembered this line in the play at the end and searched all over to try to find it again and couldn’t. I kept wondering… What was that line that had me sobbing in my seat all of those years ago?! So silly.
NOW I KNOW, it was a combination of things that caused it to have had such a strong impact on me, but I was sure that line was so much more than what it was. Maybe it was because my baby was playing the older Wendy and I related to that character so much right then, but it was the scene when Peter came back to find Wendy and was mad at her for growing up. She’d told Jane, her own little girl, all her stories about Peter Pan and was letting her go with him. The line was simply: “I wish I could go too.” At the moment I heard the line back then all those years ago, I guess I felt that I was saying goodbye to my youth as well. NOW, I realize that it hadn’t been the words, but the time in my life.that made everything more meaningful. Not only was I letting my daughter go, but I was giving her wings, letting her fly, to go find her way, to go realize her dreams, to embrace her youth and find her way. It was time for me to stay home. I’d had my chance. It was her turn. Today I’ve realized how stuck I’ve been. But it has been my fault. I am in this time of my life where I am in deep reflection. My parents are getting older. I am having to face realities that I haven’t had to until now. Even my friends are dying, two in two weeks. But I have to realize that, THAT is not the norm. They died too early! “All” my friends are NOT just dying. Sadly, two of our closest friends who’d both fought different illnesses for around twenty years went home to be with the Lord. I knew it was happening, I expected it. But when it did, my world kind of crashed for a minute or two or… well, I’ve been kind of stuck since, in a depression. Focusing on everything negative. This also happened when I turned forty. I wasted my whole 39th year focusing on the next. Funny, but it took the very same play to kind of make me think about it. Lately, I’ve realized that the weeks seem to whip by, as if my life is going in fast motion. I think I got lost for a while. I think that I felt as if I’d missed my chance. My art room is packed away in tubs in the garage, my book is in the archives of my “saved documents” and I’ve kind of felt like Wendy when she knows she has to let her daughter go and live her life saying “I wish I could go too.” But yesterday I realized that it probably wasn’t that line that bothered me… it was the line after Wendy’s wish to go too when Peter said… “Well, you can’t.” “You wanna bet Peter?” Watch me!”
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