Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mamma Mia!

For the first time all six Ironside women joined forces last Thursday evening to celebrate Bronwyn's birthday at a Calgary performance of the musical Mamma Mia!

From the opening notes of I have a dream to the joyful singing and dancing that formed the curtain calls, we were - all six of us - entranced.

Together with everyone else we hummed along to the songs that were part of the music of our growing up, laughing at certain moments and tearful at others. The particular scene that touched each of us was the one where the about-to-be-married daughter wanted her mother to help her get ready. Earlier, when they had sung Does your Mother Know? I had wondered if Mum would perhaps have got a kick out of the whole evening, out of being with her girls even though she wouldn't necessarily have loved the music. And now, at the secene where the mother was helping her daughter into her wedding dress I was overwhelmed with the realization that if any of my sisters says I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, she won't have an opportunity for those kinds of funny, tender memories with Mum. I wanted to grab the 21-year-old stage bride and say to her, treasure this time. Look deep into your mother's eyes. See what dreams she's willingly sacrificed to get you to this place. Engrave this moment on your heart.

Indeed, Mamma Mia!'s story tells how one person can dream both big dreams and small and be forced to watch them disintegrate before her eyes; and how someone else can try to act out the dreams she believes she should be dreaming, only to find herself adrift in her own life. The mother had a dream of falling in love, marrying and settling on a Greek island. Her beloved had a dream of designing the inn they would build and run together. Through bad timing, they lost touch with each other. But life had to keep going, so they stoically jettisoned their hopes and worked individually toward what was in their power to accomplish.

And the daughter dreamt of finding her father and planned on having a "traditional" life, something that had eluded her in her unconventional upbringing. But by the end of the story she realizes that those dreams are quite at odds with her own philosophy of life, so she courageously releases them and starts exploring what it is she really wants to accomplish.

After the show we went out for tapas and we talked about our own dreams: between us we had wanted to be a teacher, an artist, an Olympian, a veterinarian, a doctor, a wife, a mother, a writer, a dancer ... but in many cases we were too timid, too unaware of what we could accomplish if we had set our mind and our resources on our goal. Most of those dreams were not destined to come true; and even the ones that were fulfilled took different shapes than what was anticipated in the dreamer's mind so long ago.

However, the amazing thing, we realized, is that our dreams still have life in the background of our consciousness, giving us a landmark of who we were and a milestone on the journey to who we are becoming. They have the ability to move us still; and on evenings like this they allow us to unwrap them carefully and peek at them once again, reminding ourselves of their beauty and innocence and power. Reminding us of our power. 

And so this evening we celebrated mothers and daughters, and life, and music, and the bittersweet gift of dreaming.

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

("Thank you for the music" - ABBA)

1 comment:

  1. . . . and I'm still dreaming about that unbaked basil and strawberry cheesecake with pinenut crust and balsamic reduction!! what an evening to satisfy the senses! thanks to you for dreaming and scheming and composing songs and bringing them to life with the instruments of our lives. i love you, sweet maesistero! xo


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