His last show ended a few hours ago and Parker is already hanging clouds in our basement. While most of the cast waited for pizza and stalked the dessert table, Parker circled the stage as set pieces were taken down. A few minutes later he came out for food, a gigantic cloud tucked under one arm.
This is the first show one of my kids has been in where I haven’t helped at most of the rehearsals. I guess that’s what happens when they get older and decide on different activities and cloning yourself isn’t casually done for evening activities.
I was excited to see a show that was a complete surprise. Opening night would be my first time hearing all the songs and seeing the show come together. Instead of shushing kids backstage and touching up stage make up I was in the audience to watch Parker in his biggest role yet.
My heart thought about bursting as he sang his first solo and it was really hard for me to pretend we do this sort of thing all the time. This child of mine who’s always quiet and content to be a tree or a blade of grass as long as he’s on stage, was finally handed his chance to shine.
We had seen James and the Giant Peach when he was young and Grasshopper was his absolute favorite character. When he found out he had landed that very role our whole house lost its mind with happiness.
As I sat in the audience trying to keep the pieces of my heart together after his solo in the first act, the second act unwound me completely. My little guy knelt besides James and sang a beautiful song with the talented little girl who played Ladybug and was ultimately joined in song by the other three insects.
Someone leaves, who knows why and you never say goodbye.
Once we go, we’re not gone, we keep living on and on.
She whispers in the breeze. He’s waving from a star.
They are with you, everywhere that you are.
but Parker’s lines, his lines that came next:
Left your world all too soon. Look his face in the moon.
There she smiles, beaming proud.
See her laughing in that cloud.
And when you feel alone, love is never far.
They are with you everywhere that you are.
I was a puddle, just a puddle. All my heart pieces rolling off my feet and down to that stage. If there was a word to describe being hollowed out and filled up at the same time I would use it here.
No one at this new theater knew my son was a triplet or that his sister had died. The director had no idea that on the car ride home Opening Night I would tell my son I cried during his performance and he would answer back that he knew, because of the song about his sister.
I’ve always looked for “signs” from Hadley. Some way to know she is close to me, around her siblings, watching over her dad. I don’t see them as much as I would like to. I’ve come to not believe in signs as I once did because butterflies and rainbows don’t circle us as much as I need them to.
When your child is gone there is never enough of what you need. There can never be enough signs. Signs won’t bring her back. She will never come down the stairs tangle-haired in the morning or drive me crazy trying to talk her way out of bedtime. I’ve become content as I can be with knowing her presence is just here somehow.
She’s not grand gestures or flickering lights. She is her brother getting up on a stage, singing lines that swirl around me and let me know she’s in a sky that’s everywhere.
I don’t have to wait until there is a rainbow over our house or a butterfly landing on our porch. What she should be, what she could be, has settled into the crooks of our family. Not in the way we wanted but in the best way we could hope for with what we were left.
She’s a whisper of sky everywhere we go.
She’s impossibly perfect lyrics sang from her brother’s sweet voice and the occasional curl in her sister’s hair that I thought would be hers.
She’s the funny things her littlest brother says when my mood is heading south and that space in photos at her daddy’s empty hand.
She’s nowhere because she’s everywhere I didn’t know she would be. I just needed to stop looking.
In the music of the forest,
in the waves against the sand,
from the heavens, to the freckles on your hands.
Nothing’s lost, once you’ve found that in every breath and sound
When you’re brave, when you’re true, that’s the part of them in you.
If you can just believe it’s beautifully bizarre,
how they’re with you in everything that you are.
Feel them there and everywhere,
in everything that you are.
Here’s the full version of another casts’ recording of “Everywhere That You Are” from James and the Giant Peach. I wish I could share Parker’s version but we weren’t allowed to record.
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