The Greatest Gift of All

Allison, as Tiny Tim, thanks in large part to her wonderful mother, Becky.

She didn’t need to be there. She just wanted to be.

The actors and actresses, 19 of which were children, usually weren’t dismissed until the very moment the schedule called for. But a smattering of parents of the child actors and actresses would show up a few minutes before the deadline, anxious to get the child home and in bed early enough that the morning rise for the next day’s school session wouldn’t be too dramatic and taxing.

My lovely wife, though, would often arrive to the theatre an hour or so before dismissal, her anxiety and fervor born of a different brand.

Becky is the kind of mother every child wishes for. She is kind, gentle, loving, and even when discipline is needed, firm but fair. (These traits double as a wife, though I’m rather sure the discipline part gets frustrating when dealing with a man in his mid-30s who apparently is already losing his hearing, his memory and many of the other faculties that would make a husband useful around the house — though he does clean a mean bathroom.)

What Becky does every day as a wife and mother goes beyond simple words. She organizes every week, who needs to be picked up, when, where from and the destinations for delivery. She manages the house, and the chores, keeping our lives neat and orderly while the myriad pressures of day-to-day life swirl in her head, each compartmentalized, but usually done at the cost of precious hours of sleep at night. She does all of this — and so much more — while working full-time in a profession that carries only the pressures of new life and, some days sadly, premature death.

But what Becky did throughout this November and December deserves canonization. Finding ways around school, around work, around her husband’s job responsibilities, just to make Allison’s dream of performing in “A Christmas Carol” at The Temple Theatre not only a reality but a huge success, was nothing short of amazing — a word, it becomes clear, is so often misused when compared to Becky’s triumphs. Becky was a coach, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a volunteer, a…a…a…an EVERYTHING. All for Allison. All for me. All for us.

The beauty of Becky is she does all these things, many of them in her everyday life, without seeking reward or acknowledgement. All that she does is because it’s all that needs to be done. To her, nothing less is acceptable.

And so Becky would show up an hour or so before rehearsal would end, hopeful for a glimpse into what her daughter was going to do on that day, and what it would mean for the future production. Maybe there was a cue Becky could pick up on to help Allison down the road. And sometimes, it was just to be there, to enjoy her little girl as she grew up before Becky’s eyes.

And so when Allison was on stage, in the spotlight and hardly recognizable to some when dressed as Tiny Tim, and she could find her mother in the audience (Row F, Seat 101), the smile that broke through her facade was unmistakable.

It was Love, in its purest form.

I can only hope our gifts to Becky can somehow match the ones she gives to us every day.

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Filed under Alex Podlogar, Temple Theatre

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