Family of Fakers

Today is Thanksgiving Day--What’s that? It’s only Sunday you say? Oh yeah. That’s right. It’s Thanksgiving for only MY family today. Why are we faking that today is Thanksgiving? Well, first of all, we missed the Canadian’s Thanksgiving which was on October 11th this year, which also happened to be the Canadian’s birthday. Also, another reason why we’re celebrating it today is this year we won’t be home on Thursday to celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving Day. We will be weathering the crowds in Manhattan to catch a glimpse of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every decade I try to get to New York to see it. Sure, it’s a sacrifice to not have the traditional turkey dinner with all the fixins’, and then being able to take the traditional had-too-much-food-I-need-to-change-into-my-sweat-pants-and-take-a-nap tradition. But Rachel is only going to be young once and she doesn’t remember the first time I took her to the parade. She was three years old then.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - 2003

So, this year we’re going again. But this time we are not staying in Times Square as in years past. Typically we would stay at the Marriott Marquis right in Times Square. We would stumble out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and go stand on the streets of New York and wait for 6 hours for the parade. But this year we will be going in the RV! Oh, the adventures and stories to come! I can hardly wait!

Staying in NY for the Thanksgiving holiday takes planning way ahead of time. You can’t call the week before Thanksgiving and expect to get a room anywhere. So in January-March, you need to make your reservations, which is what I did. I found an RV park in Jersey City, NJ that is right across the river from Manhattan. I will go into more detail in my next blog about this when I have pictures to share. But for now, you just need to know that our lodging accommodations will be in NJ.

I have to admit that when I was booking this trip back in March that I hadn’t taken everything into consideration. Like standing on a cold winter street for possibly 6 hours without being able to use facilities anywhere. Restaurants and hotels in NY are real funny about that. They won’t let you in just to use the restrooms. So I thought we could all get some Depends and wear them, just in case. What do you all think about that idea? (I’ll let you know next week if that’s what we resorted to. Fun to picture, isn’t it? I haven’t mentioned this to Rachel yet but I can’t wait to see the horror on her face.)

Getting back to today, we are celebrating the traditional stay at home and cook turkey Thanksgiving today, even though it’s Sunday and nobody else in the world is doing the same thing. So far, it’s been a typical fake Thanksgiving day. I woke up, slightly groggy from partying the night before with friends. We went to the Hatfield/Spendolini’s house for dinner and ended up staying into the wee hours of the night, chatting and laughing the night away, sipping dessert wine through straws from shot glass-sized mugs. Good times…until you have to get up the next day and cook!

Back in my younger days, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was THE party night because we had the next day off from work and had no responsibilities other than to show up at the parents’ house for dinner. I spent many a Thanksgiving dinner being totally hungover back then. But actually at times it helped with having to deal with the relatives. Who has the energy to fight when you have a headache and feel like throwing up? So you fake the holiday spirit and when it’s time for you to state what you were thankful for, you come up with the most immediate thing you are thankful for. “I’m thankful for toilets. And for aspirin. But mostly for toilets. Mom, do I have to eat?”

Then you get older and you have your own family and it’s you that has to cook the meal. You learn not to party the night before.

When I woke up on this Sunday Thanksgiving morning, after getting home at 1:30a.m., it felt just like Thanksgivings past. Me, dragging my butt out of bed, remembering nobody is going to cook unless I go do it. Ugh! So since it’s a fake holiday, I pretended to be someone else, like Julia Child, and got myself to the kitchen and started cooking.


Speaking of pretending to be someone else, my Rachel has chops for acting. Back in the summer, I signed her up for Performance Arts Camp. For one week, she worked with acting coaches, and at the end of the week, performed a monologue on stage. I was shocked at how relaxed she was; how she had remembered all her lines; her comedic timing was impeccable. I found myself asking, “Who is that child?” At the end of the week, the coaches told me that she was very talented and told me of auditions that were happening at The Bushnell. I looked into it and marked the audition date on the calendar.

This would be Rachel’s first real audition. And mine, for that matter. I had no idea what to expect, but knew that she had to have a monologue and a song to sing a cappella. She practiced the monologue that she had done on stage during the summer. And she chose to sing a song that she had written herself called, “Having a Bad Day”. It’s a great song and she performs it wonderfully.

It just so happened that the audition was the day before school started. Most people were home preparing for school the next day, or maybe just relaxing before school started. But not us. We had to go to school and give an in-service to Rachel’s new teachers. An in-service is teaching her teachers how to use the equipment that helps Rachel be able to hear. This can be quite draining, covering everything that has to be covered and answering questions about her hearing loss. If that was the only thing I had to do that day, it would have been enough. But after the in-service at the school, we had an hour to get to The Bushnell for her audition for the Performing Arts Youth Collective (PAYC). We jumped in the car and hightailed it to Hartford. When we got there, there were no signs of where to go for the audition. Did we get the date wrong? Nope. We finally figured it out and ended up being 5th in line out of what turned out to be hundreds of kids that showed up for the audition. 5th? Score!

We handed in her head shot and resumé which was required.

I would have to say that I was more nervous for her than she was. She was all set. She had practiced her lines and sang her song and felt confident about what she was going to do. I wasn’t sure if she was going to have to audition on stage or what. So we practiced projecting her voice. But as it turned out, the audition was held in a room. A room that we, the parents, couldn’t see. I was uncomfortable about that but decided that God put us there so it had to be alright. The other parents and their hopeful children sat in a waiting area waiting for their numbers to be called. Some parents were visually nervous for their kids. Inside I admit was nervous, to let her go into a room with just a complete stranger doing the interviews while I waited outside. But I never let on that I was nervous. I hid it from Rachel and pretended that it was no big deal. "No biggie. Knock ‘em dead, Kiddo.” Hey, maybe she gets her acting abilities from me!?

Okay, so they call her number and off she goes, my confident 9 year old daughter to her first audition. “Good luck, Rachel! Have fun with it!” I say to her as my heart pounds out of my chest, hiding any apprehension I had, and praying that whoever interviews her, gingerly walks her through it and spares her of any obvious rejection. Nobody, or at least not this parent, wants to set their child up for failure. As she walked away, I tried to remember what brought us to that moment. Why am I doing this to this poor child? Then I remembered her performance on the stage during the summer and remembered the laughs she elicited from the audience, and knew she would be alright.

But that didn’t stop me from wanting to know how she was doing. So I stood up and put my ear to the wall to see if I could hear what was going on. Of course I couldn’t. Drats! But it was worth a try.

Five minutes went by, which felt like an hour, and Rachel came out. I asked how it went. She said, “Good. He liked me.” I said, “How do you know?” She said, “He smiled at me a lot and laughed at my responses to his questions. He was impressed that I had written the song and said I should get it recorded. Yeah, he liked me.”

We never got to meet the interviewer that night to find out how she did. When we left, they told us they would contact us via email to let us know if she made it. The week that followed, we checked her email account every night. The waiting to find out if she was in or not was exciting in itself.

Sure enough, we found out that week that Rachel was right. Although she was slightly wrong. The man that runs the PAYC that interviewed her didn’t just like her; he loved her! She got an email that stated that she was accepted. We all did a little happy dance as if she just got nominated for an Oscar. Unlike other parents, I had to contact the man to find out if he noticed that she wears hearing aids and to find out if wearing the fm microphone would be an issue for him or any of the acting coaches. He made me feel that it wouldn’t be a problem which is what I wanted to hear. In that conversation, he told me that he had a choice between putting her in a beginner’s group or the more experienced group. He chose the experienced group, which meant that she would be in a class with other kids that have actually been in performances, some from Broadway. How exciting!

Once a month I take her now to Hartford to hone her craft. She had to come up with a monologue, which yours truly wrote for her. She performed it for a few of the kids and for Michael Lamb, who runs the PAYC. He said it was funny, which made me feel good. So Rachel and I will be going on the road together as a mother and daughter act. Like the Judds, only funny, and not as fake as the two of them are. She will most likely be performing the monologue I wrote for her at the performance that is scheduled in March. If anyone would like to come and support Rachel’s efforts, or if you just want to come see a show at The Bushnell, let me know and I will get you tickets to the show.

To give you an idea of what the PAYC is, last week, she worked with Andrew Shipman who is playing in “Mary Poppins” on Broadway right now. At the end of the night, the kids got to ask him questions, and Mr. Lamb said don’t ask him silly questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” when it came time to ask him a question, Rachel was the first with her hand up. “Yes, Rachel?” “What’s your favorite color?” Everyone laughed she said. My daughter, the comedienne. Where does she get this stuff?

Who knows where this will all lead? Maybe she’ll end up on Broadway someday, and maybe she’ll just do this this year and be done with it. Either way, I want her to have fun. And so far, she’s loving it. No faking.

My Kaneclusion: So, today is Thursday (Not really, it’s Sunday.) In keeping with the faking theme of the day, I will be making fake turkey, tofurkey. (Not really, I’m cooking real turkey.) Rachel is acting - unhappy to be setting the table. (Not really, the kid loves carrying out all the traditions. She helped me yesterday making the stuffing and did the cranberry sauce. She’s happy to do it! And somehow she manages to do it all.) Dianne is faking her excitement of having to drive the RV to New Jersey. Actually, I’m not sure she’s doing that good a job of faking that. But I know that once we all get there, we’re going to have a blast! We have non-stop fun planned and all we need is the weather to cooperate.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Whenever and wherever you are celebrating the holiday this year, I hope you are spending time with the people you love, who love you back, and hope that in your circles of people that surround you, everyone is healthy! But this sentiment is coming from someone that is a faker.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

That might have been the best Fakesgiving Day dinner ever!

RNK is such a natural on the stage. I'm not sure if her forte is comedy, song or dance but I think that you should start shopping for red carpet attire now.