By nature, I am not impulsive, but when my youngest daughter’s college lecture was cancelled last Wednesday and I had no urgent deadlines to meet, we hit the half-price ticket booth in Times Square. A few hours later, we were ensconced in fantastic seats watching the Broadway show, Wicked.
The last Broadway show I can remember seeing was right after my wedding when my husband and I saw Angela Lansbury perform in Sweeney Todd. Though we come to New York relatively frequently, we are usually busy with work and family. Despite the activity’s benign nature, last Wednesday has an aura of illicit, stolen pleasure.
There was a special fillip of fun in enjoying Tamara’s exclusive company. After the show, when we grabbed a bite to eat, Tamara and I had similar reactions. The show was amazing with talented actors and a clever plot. However, most of all, we were both struck by the energy level. Wicked is in its eighth year and many of the actors have repeated this performance thousands of times. Yet, it all seemed fresh and exciting.
That, of course, is one of the things which separates a professional cast from an amateur one. An actor who can’t continually play a role as if it was the first time won’t make it to Broadway. Neither will one who can’t leave personal difficulties, minor illnesses or tiredness at the stage door.
Ideally, isn’t that true for all of us? Whether we are surgeons or secretaries, parents or postal workers, we should demand a level of professionalism for ourselves. I was once at the playground with my children where I noticed the extreme patience and level of fun a young woman was exhibiting with two young children. She pushed them on the swings and wiped noses with such good nature, that it made me feel ashamed of my own, less enthusiastic, playground demeanor.
We struck up a conversation where I commented on her behavior. To this day, I remind myself of her answer. “I am their nanny,” she said. “I am getting paid to be cheerful and involved.” My children weren’t with a nanny, but with me. Surely, my responsibility as their mother and my payment in the form of the relationships I was building were greater than hers. Yet, not reporting to my Boss on a face to face basis made it easier for me to forget that I too needed to take my job seriously.
Being at the performance of Wicked reminded me of this long-ago encounter. Sometimes time with my children is an unadulterated pleasure, as was last Wednesday. Other times when the phone rings after I want to be asleep, or when they are grouchily recuperating from having their wisdom teeth removed or when being together means hours upon hours of cooking and dishes, the time is less enjoyable. Nonetheless, they are a treasure entrusted to my care and deserve every degree of the best attention and affection possible.