Friday, July 10, 2015

Community theater.

A couple weeks ago, I took Liam and Finn to see Girls Up Loud, a singing group for middle and high school girls that was wrapping up their first week of summer camp with a performance. This was not our first time seeing Girls Up Loud perform so the boys knew what they were in for.

"You're going to cry, aren't you Mama?"

Yes. Yes I am.

Because Girls Up Loud is incredible! It's middle school and high school girls coming together, backing each other up, letting each other shine, and collaborating in a way that can't help but make you see how amazing we can be when we come together.

It's so inspiring.

But it's also just a really great show. These girls are so crazy talented and they're singing all the right songs. Heartstrings pulled? Check! (Last year when they sang True Colors by Cyndi Lauper I thought I might never stop crying.) They are led by two incredible women we would all be lucky to have as mentors and supported by a band of dads playing instruments.

So, yeah. I cry. A LOT. And I almost think that if I could have another crack at adolescence I might just get it right.

From the Girls Up Loud website:
"When you hear the girls sing the Christina Aguilera song, 'Beautiful,' or 'Brave' by Sara Bareilles, the songs take on a whole new meaning," says Fleming McWilliams, co-creator of GUL. "It takes you right back there again, back to your own middle school experience and how different it might have been if you had been a part of a group like Girls Up Loud."

We had a few friends in the show who I wanted to support so afterwards I was doing a lot of hugging and chatting in the lobby. When I was finally ready to go, Liam said, "There were a lot of people in there who looked familiar."

"Yeah, you're right," I said. "Did you know a lot of them?"

"No, not really. But they looked familiar."

"That's because this is our community," I said.

"You mean all these people homeschool?"

"No," I said. "Not our homeschool community, just our community. These are...our people."

As I said it, I knew how true it was. And it felt pretty amazing.

Tomorrow Liam will audition for a play at Theater Bug (the children's theater where we saw Girls Up Loud perform). The play was written by a high school student (who's in our community!) and I'm so excited for Liam to have this experience I can hardly stand it.

He's not so sure.

He's nervous and doesn't understand why I'm making him do something he doesn't want to do. I reminded him that I make him do things he doesn't want to do ALL THE TIME. But I think this is different. I don't think he's worried that he won't get a part (he actually really likes stuff like this); I think he's afraid that he will get a part and make a mistake during a performance and let everyone down.

And that's where having a community comes in really handy.

Because your community is kind of like your family - they don't care if you're perfect, they just want to see you shine! And if you don't, guess what? They've still got your back! No matter what.

To have an opportunity to explore in such a supportive environment is a gift. I mean, can you even imagine? It's one of the reasons I cry at these performances - I'm just so happy for these kids! Being in a play in high school was one of the most fun things I ever got to do. And it was just a school play - nothing like Theater Bug or Girls Up Loud.

I would love for Liam to have this kind of creative, collaborative, fun experience. And to possibly discover something something else he enjoys is always a good thing. Of course, he might really not like it. Or he might not get a part. Which is fine. Once I know for sure, I can stop pushing. And as for me, don't worry. There are plenty of kids I can live vicariously through. It takes a village, you know.

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