When I was in high school, I would set my alarm to wake me up to music. Whatever song I woke up to that day would tell me what type of day I would have. If it was a Milli Vannilli song, I knew I was in for a bad day. Beastie Boys: awesome day (this also applied if it was Run DMC). Good hair, good day. If I couldn’t get my hair in the Dorothy Hamil ‘do, the day was going to suck.
I always look for signs to tell me if I’m doing the right thing. When I go to a store and I see a shirt I like, I always wait to buy it. I leave the store, go home, and come back to the store the next day. If they have it in my size, it was meant to be. Or if I have a dream about it, it confirms that I should really really have it. It’s crazy, I know. But this is how I operate.
When we moved to our new house two years ago, I wasn’t sure we were doing the right thing. We lived in a wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors and a house we built, but it was too far away from the theaters I was driving to late at night. So, I left it in the hands of fate. We knew where we wanted to move to, but we couldn’t really afford to live there.
One week before school started, my wonderful friend and realtor (yes, you really can stay friends after you do business with a friend!), found us a house in the area we wanted. It had been on the market for a long time and the seller needed to move. We made an offer that was really low, just for the heck of it. And she took it. And even though we brought down the house values of all of Paradise Valley forever, I decided it was meant to be. (Also, we were told we would not be able to sell our current home any time soon: we sold it in two days in a bidding war.)
When Sam got the call that he had gotten the part in The Addams Family, I was torn. I didn’t know what to do or what we were doing. So, one day, I got in my car and said to myself, whatever song is on the radio will tell me what to do. I turned it on, and what song was playing? The theme from The Addams Family Musical! (I should point out that we have XM radio and the Broadway station is ALWAYS on!)
We were also worried about how Sam could do his Bar Mitzvah training while gone for 6 months. Then, a few months later, we found out who the other boy who had gotten Pugsley was. He is a very sweet boy from New Jersey, who is a 10 year old Jewish boy whose mother, drumroll please, is a Rabbi! She has offered to tutor both boys in Hebrew and help with their Bar Mitzvahs! I know, right??
And the the issue of the nanny. Where was I going to find one for only 6 months. We made a call to an agency and they said they only had nannys to place for one year. But then they later called me back and said they have one nanny who can only do 6 months because her Visa expires in June, and her only preference is that she work in a state like Arizona since she had never been out west. Crazy, right? (Even when I saw the picture of the beautiful blonde twirling and dancing on a farm in Austria like a scene out of Sound of Music, I still knew it was meant to be. Also, I know that there’s no way she will find that old man Craig attractive.)
Also, I had no one to help me figure out the legal details. I do not have an agent for Sam because I don’t want to have to give 10% of every paycheck to someone. Plus I got him this far on his own. But, through the magic of Facebook (don’t knock it, haters), an old dear friend of mine from high school who I had not spoken to in over 10 years, saw pictures of what was going on with Sam on FB and she privately contacted me and told me she is now an entertainment lawyer in NY. She had us come by one day and she took care of all our legal questions and issues and contract negotiations: for free. That is not only the power of Facebook, but the power of long lasting childhood friendships. And for sure a good sign.
I recently met the man playing one of the main roles on the current Addams Family tour. We talked for a long time about life on the road and he gave Sam and I advice for a long time while we hung out backstage. The next day, I googled him, and discovered he was from my hometown in Michigan. Then I saw his parents names and realized they owned the Mall where my parents owned their shoe store for 20 years. His parents were my parents landlords. That has to be sign, right? (By the way, he still manages that Mall while on the road as a Broadway actor!)
We recently went to Friday night services at my Temple and I totally copied down portions of the book they use in temple because I loved what they said (not sure if that is illegal). My favorite quote was “Pray as if everything depended upon God. Act as if everything depended on you.”
If we pray for answers to whether or not we are doing the right thing, and act in a way that we think we are supposed to, there should be a sign that what we are doing is the right thing.
We were very torn on where to send Sam to middle school. Elementary school was rough for him socially and we went all over the map trying to figure it out; charter school, private, online? Finally we decided to send him to the public middle school Cocopah because the bus stop was our lawn (and that is TOTALLY a sign, right)?
Still we weren’t really sure all year if what we were doing was best. Up until today. Sam’s last day there for the year. Today, The Principal, Susan Thomas, came over on the morning announcements playing the Addams Family theme song and singing along to it. Then she gave a 10 minute speech to all the 6,7 and 8 graders telling them about who Sam is and what he is about to do. His language arts teacher made him dog tags engraved with words like Cocopah says Go Pugsley, Sam is Cocopah’s Pugsley and put it in a box that said keep Cocopah near your heart while you are on the road. His social studies teacher gathered the entire 6th grade all week and put together a special book that said Cocopah Loves Pugsley Addams. She had every student sign the 10 page book that was filled with inspirational messages from kids throughout the grade. There was a surprise party with treats and the teacher showed the class a clip from the musical and showed the class his travel itinerary. They turned Sam into a celebrity, but what they did that was most important, that no one in any school we have gone to has ever done before, is they gave him a reason to be cool and normal in the eyes of the other kids. We hope against hope that this feeling will still be there when he returns.
One last thing; when I found out I was pregnant with Sam, I was really nervous. I woke Craig up at 2 a.m. to tell him the news and he smiled and said that’s great honey and went back to snoring loudly. I needed some reassurance that everything was going to be ok. So, I decided that I would turn on the t.v. and whatever movie was going to be on right then would tell me if the pregnancy would be ok, if the baby would be ok. Lot of pressure on a movie which very well could have been “Cujo.” But, when I turned on the t.v, the movie that was on that night, at 2 a.m. was “A Star Is Born.”
Today was my sign that we did the right thing sending him there. They have always been behind him, cheering him on the way, even when he missed some school to do other local shows during the year. I hope I am reading all the signs that the Addams Family experience will turn out ok. We have so many family members and friends that are coming to take different weeks to share with Sam so that I can go home to be with my family. We have frequent flier miles that can get us where we need to go. We have amazing teachers at Cherokee Elementary where Lauren and Aidan go who have their backs. We have friends in our neighborhood that are more than willing to help if we need anything. We have family in AZ that will help in a heartbeat. These are the signs telling us that it will be ok.
Sometimes God sends us signs in big ways or small ways about what to do. There are people watching over us hoping that we read these signs and understand what to do with them. Would you know what to do? What are your signs telling you? Look for them. They are there.