By: Tanya Ward Goodman
A couple of weeks ago, I saw Nederlands Dans Theater perform at the Dorothy Chandler. It was a delightful night of grown up fun (I dressed up, had adult conversation and sat in a hushed, dark room without having just read a bedtime story.) Still, I thought of my children.
In a piece called “The Second Person,” the whole troupe of dancers worked together to move a small jointed puppet. With over twenty people wielding rods connected to its limbs, the puppet seemed to walk and dance and wander around the stage as a live thing. There were moments when the puppet moved so independently and with such purpose it was easy to forget all the people helping it along the way. At other times, I found myself watching in awe as the troupe of dancers worked in unison to move this little person through space. I thought of all the kind souls who help move my little people through space.
I cannot be everything to my kids. No one can. There are days when I am so mean and cranky, it feels like I’ve been written by Roald Dahl and on those days I am grateful that my kids have a level and calm father and a cheery babysitter who actually skips up our walk. I’m not great at math, but our friend, Jason finds it delightful. My dear friend, Brad sang Ella Fitzgerald with my daughter a few nights ago and my stepmother has encouraged her to ride horses. My son’s teacher asked him to interview a relative and we spent an hour on the phone with my mother learning about life in a small town. We are all moving together: soccer coaches, adopted uncles, visiting grandparents, friends, caretakers. Sometimes it takes all of us just to move the kids one tiny step forward and other days, they race ahead, leaving us to wonder at how quickly they’ve grown.