Our baby woke us at 4:30 this Monday morning, which meant that I had to wake up to feed her and carefully rock her back to sleep for however much more sleeping time she would give us before waking again. I was grateful for this waking, because it came after a night of not waking, at all. Not even once.
Even though it meant that I was woken the only way our baby wakes us - with cries of increasing terror over...the lack of light? Some incredibly developed one-year-old nightmare? Ennui? Even though its timing means that I've been up since 4:30 am, because I have to set my alarm for 5:00 now-a-days to get everything ready, eat, shower and get out the door to take the baby to daycare before getting to work. Even though I was sleeping SO WELL when it happened, and in my dream I had just rescued a hardcore, tightrope-walking Daryl Hannah from a gorge into which she had fallen, and was in the midst of helping her with her grieving process over a fellow walker I hadn't been able to save; helping - mind you - from the very peripheral edge of her social circle, with no real personal access to the woman herself.
Even thus, I was grateful.
I miss the feel of a rehearsal room so badly. I remind myself over and over again about all the things I do NOT miss about that process. There is plenty not-to-be-missed. Nevertheless, I was reminded at our recent first birthday party for the baby of what it is I miss most about the rehearsal room. Namely, people.
People are SO GREAT in a rehearsal room. They're alive, exploring, open, humble, exuberant, daring, strange, proud. They embarrass themselves, over and over, and acknowledge it with a knowing smile. "I'm going to get this soon, and then you'll see something..." Actors rehearsing are aware of everyone, narcissistic as ever (and we are, guys) but with tremendous focus on other people, which makes the room just BOUNCE with attractive energy. Those rooms are noisy, truly silent, empty spaces crammed full of life. God. Damn it.
This is not every rehearsal room. One bad egg...well, you know. It's a delicate balance.
The baby's first birthday party (and she'll have a second first birthday party, in our hometown, but this was truly the first) felt this way to me. It may be because I have been sequestered for the past year, only around larger groups when visiting family or at work. Still, not every party is so delicately balanced. The thing I believe these two spaces have in common is something fun, unknown, present and full of potential, on which everyone there is singularly focused.
One of the benefits, the little natural synchronicities, of a child's first year of existence is that the whole family is on the same aging clock. The baby grows alarming quickly. And the parents age at the same rate, via sleep-deprivation, anxiety, and liberal application of another human's body fluids in tremendous variety. I am not kidding you: I found a prominent gray hair right in the thick of my bangs this morning. We have been through a lot, all three of us, together. What better reason to celebrate?
And that's the nice thing about a party. And that's the nice thing about a play. It makes NO SENSE. It's expensive, exhausting, laborious, frenetic, potentially disastrous in an intentionally high-stakes environment, an invitation to awkward encounters, and overall just a terrible idea on paper. And somehow, that's just wonderful. That's just the best of what being human's all about. And you can lose sight of that when you're running around, trying to survive, dodging cars and lunatics and lunatics with cars, guns, bombs or even soda cups and a propensity for camel-like emanations. I'm glad parties and friends, plays and actors, are around to remind me.
Because at suddenly 4:30 in the morning, in the noisy dark, reason has no say in the matter. Right there and then, it's love with all your heart, or get out.