My Great Aunt Lois loved the theater. Lois, and her husband, my Uncle Ben, did not have children of their own so they served as a bonus set of pseudo-grandparents for my sister and I. Growing up in the Midwest gave us full immersion in rural, practical, middle class life, but Lois was our fancier relative with a closet full of pumps (still in the boxes, sooo classy) an ice maker on the fridge (oooohhh) a Lincoln with keyless entry (it was the late 80’s my friends, this was creeping up on Jetson living at its finest in my 11 year old mind.)
Lois loved to take us shopping, often steering us to scratchy-material dresses (often plaid) but then could always be easily persuaded towards the newest and trendy fashions of the moment. She spoiled us. We loved it. Our parents were painfully practical at times, cautious of both the family budget but also of the message and the spending vs. saving values they were teaching us… “Is it a want or a need?” BOTH MOM. I both WANT and NEED this. Hello!
With Lois, needs didn’t matter so much. Want? Good enough. Yes, put it int the cart right now, we should buy it.
Lois loves the theater, and must have felt it was of value to hand this appreciation down to my sister and I. Chicago was within driving distance, as was Milwaukee, so we learned how to dress for the show, how to unwrap our candy quietly, to hold it until intermission, and to appreciate the incredible hard work and dedication that these talented souls pour into their craft. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat was the first show I saw in Chicago and I vividly remember feeling embarrassed that I was crying. Today I still cry at about 80% of the shows I see and I always have a tissue in my pocket because Lois.
Last week I could feel myself fighting a wave of sadness, hitting a low. This is normal for me come Fall. The kids go back to school, we pack up all the lake house gear, pull out missing partnered gloves and mittens and too-small boots and snowpants, rip out the flower and garden beds, and prepare for Fall and Winter. I’m basic. I love Fall, but a heavy sadness always falls on me and I get into ridiculous regret mode. “We didn’t do enough! We should have gone to the x-y-z with a, b and c!” Impending Wisconsin Winter can feel like a looming prison sentence and makes even the most balanced and optimistic person feel like the end is near.
So on a whim I decided to do something completely out of my normal daily routine. At 9 am I purchased a single seat to Hamilton, got in my car an hour later and drove to Chicago to take myself to the theater. It was just what I needed to snap out of my comfort zone and my slump.
Lois taught me to love the theater. Norwex gave me the financial ability to buy one of the best seats in the house and even better, the confidence to take myself there alone, enjoying my own company….secure in my self.
Last Wednesday Hamilton reminded me to “look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
I definitely used the tissue.