While on a walk, Ellison climbed the stairs to the entrance of a church.
We are still in the period where he explores every set of stairs, store front, or tree stump. Why can’t I plan accordingly and let him explore? Instead, I’m too often I bark, “Come on, Ellison! We need to get home to…(fill in the blank)…eat, let Daddy potty, crochet an Afghan.”
But this once, I wasn’t in a hurry.
He peered inside the candlelit glass doors and whirled around to shout excitedly, “A show! A show!”
The previous year, I’d left Ellison eight times a week with a babysitter and said, “Daddy needs to go do the show.”
I was in ANNIE on Broadway, at the time.
In the last week of ANNIE’s run, one of our sitters brought him to a performance. For days before that, we coached him, “You’re going to go see the show,” hoping to prepare him for sitting quietly in a theatre.
I expected them to leave 20 minutes in, after the orphans sang, “It’s a Hard Knock Life”. But Ellison sat enraptured through act 1.
(I was always unrecognizably costumed: miserable hobo, tap-dancing Santa, miserable beggar.)
When the second act began, he was still there, totally engaged. Well, engaged in songs and dances, not long book scenes. (I don’t blame him.) Luckily the sitter took him to a box seat, so Ellison could sit on the floor and eat puffs and play with his program without disturbing others.
In the second act, Annie goes to Washington to sing “Tomorrow” with President Roosevelt. In that scene I wore a suit and, despite my fake glasses, was recognizable.
When I entered the stage, I heard Ellison shout “Daddy!” I started sweating for fear he’d shout more. Really, I was afraid I’d start laughing uncontrollably. (That happens easily, especially on stage.)
But he watched the entire scene in silence. By the time we bureaucrats sang “Tomorrow” with Annie and FDR, I was overcome with emotion that my little boy was watching ME on a Broadway stage. I couldn’t help thinking, “this might never happen again,” (there’s no guarantee Broadway will call again) and that my deceased mother never got to see me do this show, but my son is watching and it’s the next-best-thing, in fact, Mom’s probably sitting with him and excited through him and, and…”
Oh, God. Keep singing. Keep singing. I couldn’t. I just lip-synced the last few bars of “You’re only a daaaaaaaay, ahhhhhh-waaaaaaaay.”
Ellison stayed for the entire show. During the bows, he clapped his hands high over his head (with his stocking feet propped up on the box seat railing.)
I was more thrilled than he.
So back to when he recently climbed the stairs of the church, the drama struck him as familiar. There was a dark room full of people facing a stage with dramatic lighting.
Church or theatre, Ellison saw, “A show! A show!
Kiddo, you have no idea how right you are.