Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mary's Peeps

Everything is catawampus (yes, that’s the correct spelling, I checked) in our family these days, what with Mary suddenly off and away every afternoon at play practice. The girl who normally requires hours of door-closed quiet time is staying up past ten on schoolnights to work as an assistant stage manager for a local youth theatre group’s production of her favorite book of all time, Surviving the Applewhites. The plot has everything Mary loves: a wonderfully weird family, a mystic/saint, the Musical Theater and everyone working together in love and harmony. Plus, they put on a show in a barn. (I had to get her on You Tube clips of Rooney & Garland to see that this was an oft-told joke, not a new inspiration). If the cast called for a wry, well-dressed gay boy who burst frequently into song, the show would be perfect, in Mary’s view.

She’s doing much more than just helping to put on a play, though. Every night she comes home with a new story. Some boy laid himself across a table and sang “Roxie.” The boy dressed like Kurt in “Sound of Music” launched into “Springtime for Hitler.” Everyone, all the time, sang all the songs from last week’s episode of “Glee.” And Mary, who spends days at school where no one ever has the slightest idea what she’s talking about, found that every line of dialogue or flutter of song lyric was immediately understood and appreciated.

Mary has found her peeps.

As great as this is, and as happy as it makes me, I find special delight not in Mary’s happiness, but in Emma’s confusion. During the nightly recounting of the cast’s antics, Emma narrows her eyes and asks repeated questions like, “and when they did that, nobody made fun of them?” It’s become clear that Emma saw Mary as a one-of-a-kind crazie, her own beloved and uniquely bizarre sister. That there are Other People just like that, well, it’s a little much for my big, very sensible girl to bear.

But she’s holding steady to this new, slightly tilted, planet, and she loves Mary just as much.

As always, these girls, together, are a beautiful thing.

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