Today I went to see the Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen it five times. The last time I was with my parents and I was probably about 13 or so and I was an aspiring actress/singer… My biggest champion was my Dad, more on that at another time.
My Dad was a lover of the arts, music and musical theater and is responsible for instilling and encouraging my love of theater–a love that has brought me much joy even though my theatrical aspirations have long been abandoned. We would listen to a number of scores on our two-hour drives upstate (we had a country house in Columbia County). The primary ones were Les Miserables, Into The Woods and — of course — Phantom of the Opera. I know all of them by heart, seriously. I haven’t listened to them in a very long time though and had forgotten some of the nuances of the story (or book) and honestly had thought that this trip to Phantom was going to be more for my daughter than for me. I thought I would find it hokey… I’ve seen other shows in the decades since my last trip and wrote it off as a tourist trap (ok, I’m a jaded New Yorker… I’m copping to it).
Weddings still get to me. I imagine they always will. Every kind of wedding from a small family affair to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It’s not because of the joy or anticipation of watching two people join lives–although that is also lovely. Seeing a father walk his daughter down the aisle, lovingly give her over to an officiant and her betrothed and kiss her for the last time as his little girl. Then watching a father/daughter dance is another tear-jerker… Ok, its more of a sob fest.
Last night as I was tucking Sean into bed, he asked me to tell him a story that had “Papa K” in it. Even though he’s never met you he’s fascinated by stories about you–maybe because he carries your name as his middle name or because he’s always told how much he looks just like you or because he has to wear glasses like you did (he even tried your old ones on).
Like today, we were in a cab and he wanted to know about when you tried to do stand-up comedy and what were some of your jokes.
When I was 14 or 15, my Dad and I settled into one of many “serious conversations.” this occurred when I had really screwed up and/or refused his advice on some critical topic…so it happened a lot.
This particular conversation took place after having discussed and revisited one of my not-so-smart decisions and now looking back on it as a parent myself, I think he had decided a course correction was in order.
“You know 99% of everything there is to know…” he started and my ears perked up.
“But there’s still this 1% that you don’t know… I know the 1%… And remember you know NOTHING of this at all.” I was slightly deflated but intrigued.