Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Teenage Drama Queens

My second daughter (fourth child) is into drama. I mean at school, onstage. She has been in every musical, dramatic performance, dinner theatre and young playwrights show since elementary school and she is now going into her senior year of high school. By her own count, that adds up to some 35 or so performances.

All her friends are part of this same thespianic circle. Her boyfriend too. They sing at my table and dance in my living room. Our four dogs include themselves in the mix, barking and circling the vertical players. Needless to say, my house is seldom quiet and we are often out of food but never bereft of dirty dishes. It is not uncommon to enter the kitchen in my pajamas and find someone - who I may or may not know - with their face in my refrigerator. "Hi, Mrs. L!", they say with cheerful ease. "I'm Maggie. Is this the last of the milk?"

This hot August morning, when I got up and went downstairs, I found sleeping bodies sprawled all over the living room. Three on the couch. One in the Lazy Boy. One on the floor in a sleeping bag. As I tiptoed around, taking stock of who was who, I saw that I had the entire core drama club right there. They had just come off a successful weekend run of 42nd Street in which they sang, tapped and snappy one-lined their way into the hearts of a large portion of the townspeople. They greeted adoring younger fans in the lobby afterward, signing autographs and taking pictures. As the mom of one of the stars, I also got to bask in her peripheral light, accepting lauds and praise for her talents with feigned humility.

Most of the time they are regular healthy teenagers. They complain too much, clean up too little and often treat their mothers like pariahs. But they are good active kids, serious about school and loyal to friends of whom I am lucky to say I unanimously approve.

"These are the days to remember, though they will not last forever," is a line from a Billy Joel song. As Billy's voice reverberates in my head, I attempt to make the day stand still for a moment. Savor the noise. The mess. The living, breathing, scattered organism that is the healthy, happy teenager, God bless 'em, every one.

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