Sunday, January 15, 2017
"Rowan, show me how to do this..."
One of Rowan's favorite places to be was on stage. He did 9 plays, and one short film. Six of those plays were at Woodlawn Theater...Honk Jr, Aladdin Jr, Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr, Shrek Jr, Peter Pan Jr, and Hairspray Jr. He LOVED acting, singing, dancing, and hanging out in the dance studio or backstage with his theater buddies, especially with his best theater buddy David.
When Rowan first left for Seattle, he knew he was going to have to miss being in one play at Woodlawn, but he hoped he would at least be back in time to see his buddy David perform in it. The play was Willy Wonka Jr and the shows were set for January. Unfortunately, when Rowan's first transplant failed, he realized that he would be in Seattle a lot longer than expected, and would certainly miss seeing David and his other friends perform in Willy Wonka Jr. I remember trying to cheer him up, and told him that maybe he would be back in time to see the next show though. Rowan looked forward to that.
You just never know what the future holds though. Rowan passed away in Seattle on December 15th, in the middle of his second transplant. This meant that Rowan would never be in, or see, another show at The Woodlawn Theater. But it also meant that I would be back in Texas by the end of December...in time to see Willy Wonka Jr myself, if I wanted to.
At first, I didn't think there was a chance I would be able to do so. Rowan and I spent many hours and many nights at the Woodlawn Theater over the past 4 years. I always stayed and helped work backstage, so I know the kids and the space so well. I love the Woodlawn Theater as much as Rowan did, but to walk in there without him...sounded terrifying. Too many memories. Too hard to do without him.
But, God. God, and Rowan, and Ian, gave me the strength to go see David perform in his role as "Charlie Bucket" in Willy Wonka Jr. at Woodlawn Theater tonight.
I felt a tug at my heart earlier this week, telling me that I should go to the show. I knew how bad Rowan wanted to be there, so part of me wanted me to do it for him. I also love David so much, and wanted to go support him as well. I contacted David's mom and asked if it would be too much for David to see me there. He and I had a good long hard cry at the memorial service, and I didn't want to cause him more emotional stress, or to distract him from his acting. David's mom told me that she was actually about to text me because David had asked if I could go. That sealed the deal. If David wanted me to come, and I already knew that Rowan would have been there if he could, then I knew I needed to go.
Ian immediately said, "I'll go with you Mom", and I'm so glad he did.
I cried most of the way there, and in the parking lot, and in the bathroom when I got there. It was just so overwhelming, to be there without Rowan. I got to see Chris Rodriguez, the Executive and Artistic Director who taught and directed Rowan there all these years. It was nice to get a hug from him, but it made me cry even harder.
Ian held my hand as we got our seats.
David's Mom Maureen spoke just before the curtain opened, and dedicated the show to Rowan. She talked about how much he loved being at The Woodlawn, and how it made him feel like a normal kid. She talked about his larger than life personality on stage, and his life motto's "Love your life" and "If you can't see the good, make the good". It was such a sweet honor. Thank you Maureen. Thank you Mr. Chris. Thank you Woodlawn Theater. For many years of great memories, not just for Rowan, but for everyone in our family as well.
The show was fantastic! David did a terrific job as Charlie Bucket, and his brother Nico did a fantastic job as Willy Wonka.
Ian and I smiled and laughed and clapped, often. Not something I have felt like doing much lately. It was nice for a change. And I knew that Rowan was there with us in spirit, cheering on his friends, enjoying the show. (Which we were reminded of when we saw all the bubbles drifting down from the balcony during the fizzy lifting drink scene:)
After the show, I gave David a hug, orange flowers (Rowan's favorite) and a framed picture of he and Rowan...one of my all time favorites.
Such a sweet boy. I told him that he made me smile today, and I thanked him for that.
David, I'm glad you wanted me to come, and I'm glad I did. Ian thank you for coming with me.
Rowan, I hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did. Oh how I wish you could have been there with us in person, but thank you for being there in spirit. When I first got in the car to drive to San Antonio today, I said out loud, "Rowan, show me how to do this. Show me how to live without you here with me". I feel like you gave me a glimpse today. I feel like you showed me, that doing things that I know you would love to be doing down here yourself, will be one way for me to feel joy again. It worked today. And I will keep trying.
And Maureen, I love you, David, and your entire family. And the boys did an amazing job! You must be so proud.
Ian, thanks again, for your strength, for your love, and for your moral support.
And thank you Rowan. I love you and I miss you.