The very first trip I took Sam on was to Detroit when he was 7 weeks old. (Yep. I was one of those people who took their babies out of the house early on. Didn’t believe in all that isolate them for months from the germ stuff. Still don’t.) The airport shuttle bus driver looked at him and said “He’s been here before.” “Nope,” I said. “First time in Michigan.” And he said, “No. He’s been HERE before. I see it in his eyes. He’s an old soul.”
As he grew, I started to see it too. Who he was on the outside did not match the inside. And now, at age 12, it is even more interesting. Sam is about 5 foot 4. He officially towers over me. His voice has gotten deeper and he looks about 14. But he’s still 12, getting ready for what I call his “alleged bar mitzvah” in May (I really just can’t see it happening) and he still wants to play the young boy roles onstage. It’s a challenging time for him as an actor because although he can start playing teenage roles, he still thinks of himself as a younger actor. His new headshot is what I call his “come hither/Justin Beiber look.” He still sings great an octive lower, but he’s always stunned when those high notes don’t come as easily as they used to.
Aidan, too, is experiencing this outside not matching the inside problem. He has tested out of the Kindergarten reading and spelling that is available at his school. His principal told me he doesn’t want him to go to 1st grade for reading, because “then what would we teach him in 1st grade?” This statement is so many levels of wrong I cannot even begin, but it does summarize the problem with our school district. There are no gifted services until 3 rd grade. Their goal is to get all the kids on the same level, not to foster each child’s own development.
So, tomorrow he starts a new public school at a different district with classes aimed at higher learners that allow Kindergarteners to learn and grow with other similar kids. It will be a huge challenge for us with 3 kids at different schools, but its necessary. Doing the right thing for your child is not always easy.
On a side note, he also told me that at his current school there’s a boy in his class named Achmed who doesn’t speak English and draws pictures of airplanes all day. So, um, US government : you might wanna check this out.
I, on the other hand feel like I’m ready to join a retirement village. I’m so tired at age 41 and am losing my desire to socialize and make small talk. I just wanna be in my bed at night. And frankly in the day too. But I know I’m still young-ish and should be bubbly on the outside and need to start feeling it again. Which is why I feel justified in buying some Lululemon clothes, which, lets face it, ladies, always makes you feel better on the outside AND inside.
And so, we soldier on, trying to match who we are on the outside with what we feel on the inside. It’s confusing and frustrating as a child and just annoying as we get older. This was clear to me on tour when I tried to stay out late and party with the cast and realized I just couldn’t make it past one drink and needed to be in my jammies by 11 p m.
One day all this unevenness will even out. But until then, I’ll help my kids navigate their confusion by helping them find their way. I’ll help Sam
find parts in shows that will utilize all of his best qualitiies. I’ll shlep 20 minutes extra a day so Aidan can do Kindergarten microbiology class (yep. they have that there!)
And I will buy myself new clothes. To, you know, help with the cause. It’s the really the least I can do.