Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

The Mover and Shaker

A snapshot into the Borden household:

I’m in the kitchen, putting together something to eat. It doesn’t matter what it was, as long as it went in our mouths and stayed down it was utterly unremarkable that first 6 months of parenting.

I’m in the kitchen, and I hear Mac saying in a very low, serious voice “They say you should never, EVER shake a baby.” I stick my head around the corner, at least mildly curious as to what’s going to follow. This is when Mac continues:

“…but they didn’t say anything about….shimmying! Shimmy shimmy shimmy. Shimmy shimmy shimmy.”

He’s gently shimmying Baby around, letting the rolls of fat sway effortlessly in the breeze as the baby laughs hysterically, making the world’s chubbiest jazz hands with his little sausage fingers.

Our child will grow up in the theatre. He’ll start attending rehearsals as soon as he’s old enough to toddle onto the stage. His first stage combat lesson will be the day he can grip a rubber knife. He’ll know your monologue needs to be strong if you can’t sing, and if you can sing then you need to bring shoes for the dance call. He’s going to hear his parents debate the merits of trying to re-create Sophocles’ Oedipus and he’ll know all the words to The Book of Mormon as well as The Importance of Being Earnest. He doesn’t even know what the world of theatre is yet, meanwhile I break into a cold sweat imagining his first foray into our world. I’m terrified of his first audition, what if like me he’s a total mess (I sang “Frosty the Snowman” and cried the whole time. I was six)? Or worse he gets a lead role and becomes a superstar with an ego to match? WORST– what if, what if, well, dear god…

What if he’s utterly uninterested in the stage? Not being an actor, he should run away if at all possible. I refer to the entire enterprise. What if he thinks everything we do is just pointless? That film and TV are already dinosaurs, if it’s not a four second Vine it’s already too wordy and irrelevant? Can two parents and their burning passion for an ancient art form be enough to convince a kid there is life outside of an X-box? Conversely, could we turn him away from it simply because we’re part of it and he’d rather be anyplace we’re not?

The funny thing is, I understand that it ultimately won’t define who we are as a family. We’ll love a soccer player, a scientist, an engineer, a nurse, a diplomat, an oboist. In time we could even love a conservative politician although we believe his dual Canadian citizenship is a prophylaxis against such an outcome. I never doubt we’ll be proud of him.  Perhaps my larger fear is “In a world where screens are the primary form of communication and entertainment, will he be proud of us?”

For now, I’m going to shimmy him as long as he will allow. As anyone from our tribe will tell you, it’s never too early to start thinking about the dance call. Shimmy shimmy shimmy.

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One thought on “The Mover and Shaker

  1. Lana Imes on said:

    I love all of your blogs, but this one hit home. Over the years, I’ve been a silent cheerleader for you during and after all those auditions. After putting yourself out there, it’s so hard waiting to hear if your “best” was good enough, or your look was going to be advantageous for the 5’3″ leading man. Because you and Mac have held and gone through these gut wrenching theatre practices, you have a special place in your heart for students, friends, and family members who participate in theatre. You can empathize with them all over the emotional fallout that follows auditions. It doesn’t matter what your child does with his life, you and Mac will find yourselves supporting and cheering him on after each and every attempt.


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