The Goddess Speaks
Mom juggles roles so show can go on
IT WAS 4:30 on a recent Monday afternoon when I ducked under the brim of my 8-year-old son's baseball cap to give him a kiss.
"I love you," I said.
"I love you, too," he replied, slinging his bat bag over his shoulder. As he walked away he added, "See you tomorrow."
At that moment in the evolution of my mom guilt, a new species was spawned: theater guilt.
I am many things. Wife of Whit. Mom of Christianne, Ryan and Chelsea. Communications coordinator at Maryknoll School.
I am also currently performing in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at Army Community Theatre. I've done a smattering of community theater in my lifetime, always in the ensemble. That's me in the back row -- something of a lyrical soprano hitting mostly the right notes, smiling brightly as I fake the choreography. The more I'm faking it, the more dazzling the smile.
"Joseph" involved a six-week rehearsal schedule, weeknights from 7 to 10 p.m. Sometimes we met early for extra dance practice. On baseball days, I was gone before my son came home from practice.
The kicker is that I was embroiled in an even more grueling rehearsal schedule for a production of "Annie" at the same theater, starting last September with shows through the first week of December.
Hence, theater guilt.
THAT AFTERNOON as I drove away from the baseball field -- and, more pointedly, my son -- I thought, "What am I doing? Maybe I should quit the show." That was immediately followed by, "Easy there, drama queen, no one's quitting anything."
I have plenty of guilt to go around, beginning with the standards: working-mom guilt, Catholic guilt, cheesecake guilt.
Then, like the newly crystallized theater guilt, come my specialties: shower mold guilt, thank-you note guilt, I've been dodging the blood bank's phone calls guilt.
Someone once told me that praying is not about asking for what you want, but voicing what is meaningful to your spirit. Maybe guilt works in a similar way. Being in rehearsal and doing a show, I love the singing, most of the dancing and the camaraderie of a fun-loving, hard-working cast. It's something I do for me, which is important.
But I'm always aware that my husband and children are doing dinner, bath time and bedtime kisses without me. My theater guilt is a reminder that the show is not my life. When it's over, I'll resume my more important role at home.
I'll be smiling and sometimes faking the choreography there, too. My family treats me like a star anyway. For that I'm incredibly grateful -- and sometimes even guilt-free.
Camille Domaloan Michel treks to Army Community Theatre at Fort Shafter from Hawaii Kai. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" runs through Saturday. Call 438-4480 for tickets.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
Honolulu 96813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.