I bet you thought I'd dropped off the face of the earth. At times over the course of the past couple weeks, it has certainly felt that way. For the past several weeks, I've pretty much lived at work. After spending a full day teaching America's youth to love literature (or at least fake it well enough on the test), I would then turn around and spend several more hours directing our spring musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. To say that it was an incredible experience would be an understatement.
The show is a bit of a monster to launch. We had a cast of roughly 25 kids (and ended up with another 20 or so more working backstage in some capacity), a beast of a set that included building working elevator doors (thank God for my amazing student technical director who designed the doors, put in countless hours to make them work, and, oh, yeah, also played the freakin' lead in the show -- a part that, more than once, I feared might be the end of this poor kid), tons of music and dance, and pushed a lot of my kids to their absolute limits. There were many nights driving home at 10 or 11 where I thought to myself, "What the heck have I done?" There were times when I worried I was asking too much of all of us. There were times when I thought maybe the time had finally come when it WOULDN'T all come together.
But you know what? It did. As we went into tech week, I found myself sitting in our auditorium watching magic happen and thinking, once again, that I have the best damn job in the world. I get to spend hours with these amazing kids who are so funny and smart and passionate, kids who repeatedly go above and beyond in their dedication. I get a front row seat to see them find a confidence and poise that elude others their age. I get to know these kids in a way their other teachers never do. I see them at their best and, yes, I see them at their worst. We laugh together, cry together, even every now and then yell at each other, but it all comes together in the service of this art form that unifies us all. As happy as I am when a show comes to an end (those 15-hour days take their toll on you when you hit 40!), there is also a depression that sets in as I yearn for those late nights, those "a-ha" moments, and those times working with these kids who, for some reason, seem to respect me even after seeing me in the throes of exhaustion so extreme that it takes me five minutes to answer a simple question.
And so forgive me for letting my Idol commentary lapse. I've been dealing with my OWN idols -- kids who are in it NOT for the fame or the glory or the chance to bask in a little Glow by J.Lo, and the transition to post-show life has taken a little longer than I thought. Fear not, friends. I'll be back in the saddle again this week, ready to roll my eyes and make snarky comments, but a part of me will wish I was still at World Wide Wickets if only for a little while longer.