Lately I’ve been performing again. Singing and acting. Something I used to do with more regularity years ago but had not pursued very much after Finn was born.
Rehearsals have required me to be in the city away from Finn and Erin for a couple of long stretches. It’s the first time Finn and I have been away from each other for extended periods since he was born.
Facetime has made it more bearable, but I think the most challenging thing is explaining to him what I’m doing. I don’t think he fully comprehends the acting thing yet. He has attended some live performances, but none where Erin or I have played a character.
On one of my days off we spent the day together and he wanted to know more.
“It’s just pretending,” I said, “like when you and I play pretend, but I’m doing it in front of an audience. I’m actually pretending to be someone’s Dad.”
“WHAT!!?” he said, followed by a dramatic pause. “That’s silly.”
At night we Facetime before bed. Being able to see each other’s faces when we talk seems to lessen the blow of the physical absence. At least it does for me.
But it also makes that link of communication feel more precious. A few days ago, the morning after performing in a concert on Long Beach Island, Erin and I were enjoying a rare and all too brief time on the beach. I had just snapped a few pictures with my phone when a sudden wave forced us to grab our blanket and belongings and run farther from the water.
Once we were settled back down, I discovered my phone was missing. With it being practically brand new, I was frantically digging in the sand. I immediately began thinking how stupid I was for not buying the insurance that the pushy cell phone salesman had urged me to get.
We used the phone finder app from Erin’s phone to see if it was still showing a signal. It was, but the blue dot it showed on the map covered a large area. For what seemed like an eternity I combed through the sand with my fingers trying to skim the whole circle.
Then Erin found a way to turn on a ping through the phone finder app. The sound was just loud enough to hear above the ocean waves. Thankfully it was a few feet away buried in the dry sand. I couldn’t believe how completely covered the phone had gotten in that instant.
Of course it would have been ok if we hadn’t found it. It would have been a pain, but I would have survived, gotten a new phone, and bought the insurance.
But it made me think about the importance of connection and the fear of disconnection.
How essential it is for Finn to have these opportunities to learn to deal with separation. And maybe through the process, his Father will learn to deal with it as well.
David Dewitt is an artist, blogger, and painter who lives with his family in the Rondout Valley. For more, visit daviddewitt.com.