Many years ago I was on a staff retreat in the mountains. The topic of the retreat had to do with developing your personal mission statement. For one of the activities, we were required to find a place and sit, in total silence, alone for an hour. All we could do was think.
For an extrovert and someone who is a bit hyperactive, that was quite a challenge.
I went out on the front porch of this old inn where we were staying and plopped myself in a most comfortable rocking chair. I do like to rock – sort of puts me in a trance. As I looked out toward the enormous purple mountain in front of me, thoughts seemed to easily swim in and out of my head.
At one point, I had a fairly vivid vision – it was that I would have a son.
My vision must have been a bit too many brussel sprouts ’cause it did not come true……until last week.
When we returned to the car after our first fitting for costumes in A Christmas Carol, Stephanie was snickering and Michelle was pouting.
“I didn’t get a long cape this year nor did I get a top hat. Quite disappointing. I’m the bobby.”
“Yeah dad, but you get to carry the night stick! That’s pretty cool.”
“You’re right about that, plus I have a badge on my helmet! Did you guys like your costumes?”
Stephanie quickly chirped in, “I looove mine! Michelle, tell dad about your costume…”
“You just love it don’t you?” Michelle replied. “I’m a boy. A stinkin’ boy. All they do is burp and fart.” Her voice was getting louder, like Ralph Kramden in the Honeymooners, “What do I know about being a boy?”
“Just embrace it Michelle. The mark of a true actor is being able to play any part, especially one of the opposite sex.”
My argument wasn’t helping.
Two days later I made a huge mistake.
Michelle came down to breakfast about to jump out of her skin.
“Why are you so excited?”
“Today is the day we find out who gets to play Mary in the Christmas pageant at school! I mean, I don’t really care if I get it or not, I just want to know.”
“Ahh, I’m a little worried honey.”
“About what dad?”
“Well, I’m afraid Mr. Farmer may have found out about the part you’re playing in A Christmas Carol. I think he might cast you as Joseph.”
As Stephanie nearly choked on her cereal in laughter, Michelle reared her fist back and smacked me in the stomach.
“How’s that for a boy?”
The punch was delivered in jest – well, sort of – it had some gass. But I guess I deserved it.
Michelle has actually accepted her new role. One of her good friends is also a boy so they’ve created a secret boy handshake, and they hit each other in the shoulder and stuff.
I will say when the photographer took her picture for the play poster, he found me after the shooting. “You may want to toughen that boy up a bit! He sits just like a girl!”
I think I have my work cut out for me.