Their turn

February 18 2013

I'm dragging myself through my first post-show morning with a baby so you'll have to bear with me. Man, how my life has changed. Let me explain. I've been involved with a local community theatre group, Shakespeare in the Park, for several years now. We put on one show a year, in summertime, at our beautiful Queen's Park here in Invercargill, a little wind-and-rain swept town at the bottom of the world. In past seasons I've been an actor, and a party person. Mainly a party person. After rehearsals and every show I would have been back at the pub with the cast and crew, laughing over things that went wrong, being triumphant over things that went right, dragging my sorry ass in to work at the local newspaper the next day.

This year it's all so different. I've got a wee boy, a rambunctious little guy who doesn't like sleeping or sitting still. I'm a stay-at-home mum, spending my time reading "The Mole who Knew It Wasn't Any Of His Business" and "Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose", changing nappies and walking around and around the garden with my boy and his best friend, a yellow plastic trolley. And instead of acting in Shakespeare, I was assistant producer, abridging the play (The Merry Wives of Windsor - I took out all the boring bits and just left in the dirty jokes) looking after the cast, front of house, and helping keep things running smoothly. And you know, for the first wee while I was a bit unhappy with my lot. I missed the socialising, resented the young cast members who'd swan in, demolish the food I'd organised, swan out again and never say thank you. I would come home exhausted but still have to get up in the night to feed my ratbag boy.

But then I realised. It's their turn now, those young kids. And I get to sit back, exhausted and happy, watch the show, hear the little bits of gossip about who likes who, and have the kind of satisfaction you only get when you've worked really hard without needing or expecting any kind of reward. And so the season went by, we battled wind and rain and an escaped parrot who sat in a tree and screeched "What you doing?" for most of Julius Caesar on our last night. It was great.

To be honest, a lot of the Listserve emails I've gotten I've skipped because everyone seemed so bloody nice and full of positive life advice and I would sit and scowl while my kid dismantled anything he could get his hands on. Whatever, hipsters, I'd think, exhausted. But on this golden morning, with aching feet still and work still to do, I'm a bit full of hippie sentiment myself. Working hard as part of a group for the benefit of the community, hell it's good. And coming home after a quiet wine with the other oldies last night to my beautiful boy, asleep for once, and my wonderful husband who is so supportive of my decision to stay home, yet eager for me to do more things like this, well. There aren't any words, really. I'll leave it to the master:

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."

Behave yourselves,


Sarah McCarthy
[email protected]
New Zealand


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