The summers of my youth were spent under the stars performing at our local outdoor amphitheater. How I loved it! The smell of grass, the cool balmy evenings; folks stretched out on the sprawling lawn with their blankets all cuddled up and enjoying "Music Man," "South Pacific," or "Oklahoma!" as only Jerry Elison could direct.
Two summers ago realized my children were growing up at an alarming rate. My oldest was already 16! None of them had ever been in a Scera Summer production. I was completely ripping them off! And, they would never understand this one place in my heart, this one love of soul without having that experience. ("What about your husband?" you say? no worries, I made him be in a play with me there while I was 5 months pregnant with our oldest. I wisely realized it would be our last chance! He got a bigger part than me, the stinker!).
Anyhoo, I decided to persuade my eldest son to try out for "West Side Story" to be performed in June of that summer. He finally agreed. He made it! Yes, he was ok talented at that time, but let's just face it, he's also a guy. and they always need guys. Or so I thought. Wow! He was amazing! He was one of the Jets (can't think of his really hilarious name at this moment, but hopefully he can remind me!). Anyway, I couldn't believe how much dancing he learned and he was really quite good!
Well, it has gone on from there. He has had several lead roles at the high school, just recently appearing as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls this last week. He was fantastic! To top it all off, he was named the Orem High School Sterling Scholar for Speech and Drama just yesterday!
That summer in West Side Story he came to me on opening night and said, "Um, mom, do you have any mascara I can borrow? They said I'm supposed to bring it." I handed him some and smiled. "Hmm" I thought for a moment, "is this a good thing?" but then I thought about many of his peers. It seems to me that the average american teenager spends hours in front of the computer or TV each day. Many are overweight and unhealthy in many ways. I thought, "This IS a good thing! He's out there, exercising, learning, growing, sharing his talent, telling an important story, making people remember things, feel things; and best of all, smelling the grass and seeing those stars."
He's such a wonderful kid. Just turned 18. Wow. I'm having a hard time with that. But he's grown up so great that I can hardly grumble. In less than one year he'll be out of my home. You always hope you've done enough. I have faith that the Lord will make up the difference. So, this is my little belated birthday tribute to him. Love you sweetheart!
Jacob: Drama Sterling Scholar, 4.0, Senior Class President, Choir student director, obedient, loving son and brother. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
"Every son and every daughter of God has received some talent, and each will be held to strict account for the use or misuse to which it is put."
Joseph F. Smith
(Check out video clips from Guys and Dolls on my Facebook page!)