Leaving Home

images UnknownI feel like a ten year old kid packing up one pair of underwear, toys and Cap’n Crunch and running away from home. But I’m not, its nearly four decades after my tenth birthday, I packed several pair of underpants, I’m not running and I haven’t had Cap’n Crunch since big fatties left my life lo those many years ago. The feeling isn’t remarkably different however, I hit that driveway with my well packed suitcase and a destination planned and then the wave of loneliness grabs hold.

Recently the show I work on, Motown, The Musical opened it’s National Tour and I got to be a part of it. Working with the creative team and the road company in beautiful Chi-town to put it all together. It was an amazing opportunity and experience but it takes this Mid-Western girl out of her home body comfort zone. Now the tour is officially touring making a big first jump to San Francisco and I am on an airplane to do my part to help blend all of these creative efforts together. Work that you strive for in my profession so you soak up every minute and invest yourself in the work. I know, it’s a pretty cool job right? I come to it from being the dutiful assistant for years so I am trying to roll all of those past experiences into this one moment in time because who knows when it will come along again. In our business you go where the work is so it could be Production Supervisor or Substitute Assistant you never really know. 

Here’s the thing, that feeling of loneliness is because I have so much to be home for; my kids and my partner and my furry children, aka pets, depend on our routines to round out the mornings. Doreen and I are the absolute worst at long distance communication, hell we get so busy we often go the entire day without a phone call. I feel fractured and separate from my family knowing that I am missing the regular every day things: Cooper getting out of his morning bath and draping his warm towel wrapped body over me. I mean he’s a sizable kid so you miss that pressure on a full bladder in the morning. Trying to wake up Olivia by playing with her ears and nose and singing bad musical theatre tunes (yep, I’m that mom). Shouting at Ruby in concert with Doreen, “get dressed now Ruby” or “Ruby brush your teeth”, “breakfast before candy!” I work a lot of hours in NYC but I go home every night and I wake up with that love every morning.  

I guess I had this same feeling of loneliness as a kid, the idea of not having my Mom and my siblings was unbearable and so I never got far past Wirthlin’s woods, but now I know that I will return to my beautifully chaotic life at home when my work is done in San Francisco. Come to think of it maybe I never made it past Wirthlin’s woods because I didn’t know I had the opportunity for adventure while still having everything waiting at home! 

Being a black man, what I’ll never know…



I worry about my son. Will he ever get to know his gifts in a world that feels fear in an elevator with a black man?

He’s autistic, he sees the world through a different filter, but do you think for even a hot minute that the woman clutching her purse is going to consider that when he walks past uber focused on achieving his goal?

“Please” and “thank you” drilled from day one. Will it help when he is the one walking down the street at night after a crime has been committed?

How do I strengthen this beautiful soul?

He asks walking down the street if we can take the homeless man with us? He shouts out loud passing a man in a wheel chair with a sign that reads “I need help.” “Help him!” How? I’ve got to help you. I think.

I worry about my daughter who has standards of beauty that start from the outside in. I worry about her value in a world who may never see her beyond her illness. She is so fragile as she she’s friends unwittingly betray her on the street corner gathered celebrating their sameness. How will I give her the strength to understand pride when I’ll never truly understand what it is like to have a societal limitation because of race and mental illness.

I worry about my baby who marches to her own drummer and is beloved for her leadership by her teachers in her primary years but may well be viewed as an anarchist by a society unwilling to listen to different ideas from their own.

I have a strong resolve to love, guide and protect my children as they grow into adults but I need to believe that as my children grow our society can grow. Grow and stretch your minds to realize the differences, yes the vast differences, between the man with dark skin or the woman who’s beauty is foreign to you. Grow to understand those differences are what make up the whole. We cannot be leaders without followers and we should not have followers that we don’t try to understand. Diversity  should be what we strive for not what is a mandate from a quota.