My two oldest nieces, ages 8 and 10, recently appeared in a local theater production of Into the Woods. I saw it on Broadway 20 years ago, loved it, but had forgotten that the central story is about the Baker and his Wife and their search for items to break a curse…their curse of not being able to conceive a child. Yeah. A musical about infertility. Good times.
As we waited for the show to start, the gentleman sitting next to me asked which cast members I had come to see. I pointed to the girls’ names in the program, and he pointed to the name of his niece. But it wasn’t until after curtain calls, when he congratulated me on having such talented daughters, that I realized he thought I was the proud momma, not the proud aunt.
And this got me thinking…. Growing up, my siblings and I took turns performing on stage and in sporting events, then sitting in the audience or the bleachers to cheer for each other. My parents attended almost every event, so naturally I assumed I would one day be the mom handing out programs, running the box office, or yelling my lungs out as my kid kicked the winning goal. I was sure I would have much to be proud of. It never occurred to me that I would be denied the pleasure of hearing someone say, “She must get it from you.”
“I wish…,” the characters sing in the play, and I know it would be so easy to dwell on my curse. Instead, I choose to create my own version of happily ever after.
Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in AAA’s Westways, GRIT, Real Simple, and 805 Living magazines. Read “How to Be the World’s Best Aunt Ever” on eHow.com.