“Oh It’s Such a Perfect Day! I’m Glad I Spent it with You.”
Pressed snooze twice again. Now I have t-minus 37 minutes to caffeinate and get out the door. These are the only minutes I will share today with my daughter.
A quick snuggle on the couch and then we eschew a proper seated breakfast for a floor picnic of handheld frozen waffles and a game of Connect 4. I’m teaching her strategy and she will beat me soon.
Then BAM! Down to t-minus 15 minutes to dress, brush teeth, braid hair, argue over weather-appropriate footwear, put blankie to sleep in her cozy nook, and COME ON COME ON COME ON get out that door.
We walk the 10 minutes to school while carrying on a steady banter about school and Harry Potter. And she asks with some little fear, “Mommy, do you have a show tonight?”
This is one of those days where I will not be able to come home between rehearsal and performance, so the next time I see Olivia she will be snoring lightly with her face craned toward the door of her room as if in anticipation of my arrival.
The worst hours of such days for me are between 5-7 PM, when there is enough time for me to leave the theater for dinner, errands, and some fresh air, but not enough time to go home. So I emerge onto Broadway to be confronted with Upper West Side parents walking with their children, talking about school and Harry Potter. And I fight the urge to join their conversation. “My daughter likes Hermione too! She pronounces it ‘Ah-Miley’ and loved it when she danced with that boy at the ball in Harry Potter 4.” Ugh. Get it together, Weber. You don’t know these people and they don’t care that your daughter is in aftercare in Hoboken right now.
I love what I do - well, mostly - I mean every workplace has it’s politics and annoying bureaucracies, right? But I do love performing and being surrounded by a company of world class artists. Even the late nights suit my temperament. And this job has sustained our family. But the truth is, that sustenance consists of a tenuous hold on middle class comforts in a really expensive city. And when I see those UWS parents between the hours of 5 and 7, the classist chip on my shoulder gains another ounce.
Sorry Olivia. Your mom is a dancer and your dad is a playwright. Not only do we work long odd hours, but we habitually take on other time-consuming projects for the sake of making art. We make dances and give readings and sometimes we sing for our suppers, as the saying goes. And we probably can’t send you to camp this summer.
But our lives are filled with experiences of value, and tomorrow is Saturday! And although I have a 2 show day, we can definitely steal a few more hours. Maybe you can even come with me for the matinee.