Day…. something or other

Henry.

Before Henry was born Maury and I lived the free and crazy life of artists. This just means that we didn’t know when our next work would be coming or when our next pay cheque might appear. We lived from show to show or from tour to tour. We had no schedule. (which is great unless you want to buy a car, get a mortgage, a visa or even a large tea. Then it’s not so great.) We had no schedule at all until…. Henry. He needed routine and so we gave him that… from 8am-8pm. Before and after that we were back to our bare feet and chives. (I’m sure that’s a saying.)

Henry. Henry is 5 years old and on tour with the Monkey Bunch.

Life on the road is scheduled but in strange ways. We follow the festival programs, the shuttle pick-ups, the pool hours and the baggage check-ins. After that it is the life of the artist. For real as Henry would say. Henry is getting tired of being on the road. He is mostly a wonderful guy but I guess there were one too many mornings without his parents and one too many days living in one room with three people and just too many things that were out of his control. The other day Henry woke up to find his babysitter, Brooke, in his hotel room. Again. We had told Brooke that he could watch a little TV and then the day must begin. Now Brooke is mostly a wonderful woman but I guess waking up and dealing with an angry Henry is stressful on day 7 or something. Henry had a full on temper tantrum and he isn’t one to do this usually. He kicked and screamed and locked himself in the bathroom. Poor Henry. Poor Brooke.

All the way across town at the venue we had just finished our 2nd show of the day and I was tired and hungry and at the end of my rope. I had a temper tantrum. Poor Me. Poor Lyle, Graham and Maury. Mostly, poor Maury. So both Henry and I had a temper tantrum at the same time and we both survived.

And then things got much better. We gave Henry a schedule. He woke up at his regular time and came to the theatre with us but instead of going to day care or school he went to shows at the festival. Now Henry’s schedule is that he wakes up and eats a strange hotel breakfast with a bunch of performers, he takes a shuttle with us to the theatre and then goes to “school” until we have finished our shows and then we go back to the hotel, eat lunch and swim. Then video games with Bubba G for a bit and then bed. (our hotel room only has a shower so he just goes to the hot tub on bath nights.) It’s a strange life.

When we are sitting in our dressing room Henry has a different kind of education. He talks to his giant frog friends from Mortal Coil, he gives a big hello to his favourite clowns from AGA-BOOM, he stares at the silver man, the stilt walking fairies and he stays out of the way of the Trolls.

Kids Henry’s age go to school and learn about letters, numbers, history, nature, etc. Henry has seen The Dinosaur Petting Zoo, Alice in Wonderland, The Ugly Ducking, AGA-BOOM, Breakdance for Solo Cello and Metamorphosis. Instead of gym class he just goes swimming or to the many jumping castles. No, I’m not Paul McCartney and we aren’t WINGS but I think this will still make some pretty special memories.

Thanks to all the wonderful performers, volunteers, stage hands, hotel maids, shuttle drivers, Lyle, Graham, wonderful patient Brooke and of course the frogs that all have been schooling our boy.  I hope we aren’t messing him up too badly…. I suppose there’s always therapy.

As I put Henry to bed tonight we talked about flying to the next festival. Henry said, “Can I sit with Brooke on the airplane, mama? Pleeeaassse???” When I asked him why he answered, “Because she’s not very good at flying the plane but she’s VERY good at holding the map while I fly the plane.” I suppose it won’t be too much therapy then.

One more show in St. Albert tomorrow then it’s off to Saskatoon. And our man Lyle is off to play with Kathleen Edwards now. We’ll miss you, Lyle. You were wonderful to play with and great to hang with too. Bye Lyle! Hello Mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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