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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

To Everything, A Purpose

To Everything; A Purpose

I'm one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason. I once believed in an omniscient and omnipotent creator. But that just didn't work for me. I found too many reasons to question the way things were run, and that just runs against the grain of faith. And it depressed me even more. But I do believe there's a reason why things are the way they are. I still have questions, but it's easier for me to grab hold of that concept than the other.

In that light, while yesterday I was worried, frazzled, and frustrated; today I find comfort. On Monday, Caris's casting management called. The casting director of a feature film in production picture-picked her. She was his first choice for a role in a movie called "Crazy", based on the life of legendary session guitarist Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland. The fact that she was first choice was a huge honor. The fact that it was a period piece (1956) would rock Caris's boat...she LOVES period pieces. They said she'd be needed on set on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and possibly next week. They also wanted to know if she was willing to cut her hair. I knew that Tuesday and Wednesday were doable. I also knew that next week wouldn't be a problem. But Thursday was opening night for the renaissance play that she's in. I told her manager. He said to call and find out if she had an understudy. I already knew the answer to that, but I didn't say. I wanted Caris to be able to make the decision for herself. I told him I'd get back to him within the hour.

Whenever her agent or casting manager calls, I ALWAYS talk to Caris before I accept a project. I never just assume that she's going to want to do it. This is HER choice in life, HER dream. Not mine. I'm just her facilitator. I get her to where she needs to be. Over the last year, we've learned the process together. I did my homework, she did hers. We made a deal; we'd give it a year and after that time, she'd let us know if it was really what she wanted to pursue. But I'd be with her all the way, to protect her and make sure she was safe wherever she was. She said she wouldn't have it any other way. She brought the information home about showcases and agents, and we got her there. She landed an agent on her very first showcase. She brought us the information about Central and LA Casting, and we got her there. Her first project was a movie, "Mrs. Harris", with Annette Bening and Sir Ben Kingsley, apparantly to be released AFTER the Oscars. Just in case Miss Bening receives the award. It's a year later, and Caris still loves the work, which doesn't pay much ($118.00 scale, of which she gets around $84), and isn't really that glamorous. She still says she's a theater girl at heart, but this is a fun experience for now.

So, I call Caris at the Lyceum where she is in dress rehearsal for the play and relay the exciting news to her. Of course, she was thrilled, excited, and asked for the details. I could hear her sharing the news with her girlfriend Taryn, the ONLY one who really knows that Caris does this "extra-curricular" work. Caris keeps it on the downlow. She doesn't want people to know because she's afraid they will treat her differently. I have to admire that. I know a lot of kids who would let it go to their heads. Then I tell her about the days of her call time. I heard the air go out of her balloon instantly:

Caris: Thursday? They want me Thursday too?

Me: Yes, Honey. Thursday too.

Caris: But, Thursday is ope...

Me: I know Caris. It's opening night.

Caris: It's opening night for Averie too. If you went with me, you would miss the opening night of Averie's play too. (Averie is starring in a play, "Who Am I Now?" at her college and Charlie and I were going to "split" the night; me at Ave's and he at Caris', so that one of us would be there for each opening.)

Me: I know Honey. It's a tough decision.

Caris: No it's not. I can't let the kids down. I can't let the director down. You can't let Averie down. People are counting on us.

Me: You understand what you're giving up, don't you?

Caris: I've given up stuff before, and something always comes and takes it's place.
Tell them I'm honored and grateful, but I have no understudy and I can't leave my team hanging.

Me: I will Honey. I'm proud of you. Something else WILL come. Because you deserve it.

So I get off the phone with her and I call Casting. I tell them "no understudy", which they seem to understand. He tells me not to worry, they'll get Caris a new project soon. That was that.

Cut to Tuesday morning and our very sick dog who I rush to the animal hospital, as you know. I go home and wait like they tell me to and throughout the course of the day, there are phone calls going back and forth with updates on her condition. The doctor tells me at some point that had no one been home with her on Tuesday and hours had passed before she got treatment, it's very possible that we would have come home to an unsaveable dog. She might have died in quiet pain. I think on that as I wonder how to tell the kids when they all get home from school about where their puppy is. I took her in so quick yesterday that they didn't even know what was going on.

I told them about Shanny when they got home, and calmed their fears, reassuring them that she would be okay. And then I told Caris that just for THIS reason, it was a good thing she made the very adult, and responsible decision that she did. Because of her sense of priorty and fidelity to her team, Shanny is going to be okay. Had she decided to be selfish and take the project, we might be a puppyless family today. She smiled.

Caris: You know, I felt bad ALL day today because I kept thinking that I could be working on that movie right now instead of sitting in stupid class. But now, I don't feel the least bit bad. I won't even feel bad when the movie comes out and I know I gave it up like I did with "Fat Albert". I'd rather have Shanny alive and healthy and home.

Me: Me too Honey. Me too.

To everything; a time and purpose. I wish I knew this when I was 17.


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