It's a happy sad day, for a lot of reasons.
Millie graduates today (Saturday, June 1) and begins pursuing her life in the very difficult career she's chosen. At 11 this morning she goes through commencement at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and then she begins chasing her dream. We couldn't be more proud of her and know great things are coming her way.
We're sad mostly because we couldn't be there. It just wasn't in the cards (or in the wallet) for us to make it to New York to share the day with her. She knows we're thinking of her and pulling for her, but it's not the same as being there. Right now we're hoping to make a trip to New York for her birthday in August. I'm not sure why she'd want to spend her 21st birthday with her parents, but it was her idea.
She and three friends already have their apartment, which they'll be moving into in the next few days. It's almost like an early episode of "Friends" or "How I Met Your Mother," young cool kids move to Manhattan and start their lives. As I recall, the parents occassionally show up in episodes as hoplessly clueless comic relief. That's certainly the part I'm planning to play. I, of course, am also worried and will be – well – forever. It's part of the job description.
As a parent you always remember the silly, funny things, and the times they were scared or had problems and they needed you to be there and make things all right. And we're still there for her and all our kids, but of course now they're grown up and don't need or want us as the first line of defense, the buffer against the world. All you can hope when they grow up is that you've raised them with the energy and smarts and resilience to answer life's challenges and remember what's important – remember to always be true to themselves. But you still watch them walk out into the world everyday with the same trepidation you felt when they took their first steps.
And we couldn't be prouder of her. She's always loved theater, always loved performing and she's good – really good. She was on stage before she was born – in a musical no less, one that her mother was in and her father directed. She's always been one of those people on stage that you looked at even when she didn't have a line or a bit of business to do. There's just this energy, this spirit about her that grabs your eyeballs and demands you watch her, because of what might be coming.
It's a hard field she's chosen. And she's not the first. Her older brother, Ben, graduated from AMDA several years ago and is making his way in show business, starting to get some traction. They both know the odds and they haven't let it scare them away. We've known lots of young people drawn to the theater who allowed themselves to be talked into the safe route to a sensible job or career. "You can always do theater as a hobby." Not Ben. Not Millie. Neither one is going to have to look back years later and say, "Gee, if only I had tried ..."
Today is Millie's day. And there will be many more to come.
We are so thankful to all the people along the way who supported her and shaped her – especially her drunken bastard Uncle Mark, and Pat, and Christie, Robyn and the Coopers, Cate Cafarella, and Julie Buchert and all her friends and family at Albany Civic Theater who helped make her the incredible young woman she is.
This is just the start, Millie. We can't wait to see what comes next. We can't be there today, but you know we're with you every step of the way.
Love – Mom and Dad