Cast Spotlight on Patti Minglin

by Tracey on April 6, 2015

When we met Patti Minglin, we were completely charmed by her personality and absolutely blown away by her audition. We can’t wait for you to see her on stage on May 3rd. Until then, here’s another essay that showcases her perspective on life and parenting.

~~~~

The Importance of Getting Away from It All

by Patti Minglin

I just came off of two weeks in a row where I was gone from my family from Thursday through Sunday evening.  I must admit, when I looked at my March schedule and realized I would be away from my family for 8 days in one month, I was terrified.  I wasn’t terrified they couldn’t handle life without me I was more terrified of how I would handle life without them.

You see, as much as I complain about not having enough time to think or do things on my own, I really wasn’t sure how I would handle so many days of doing just that—being on my own.  Who am I when the “mom hat” is left hanging nicely in the coat closet?  Will I want to put the hat back on after experiencing life on the other side of parenthood?

The beauty of getting away from it all—even if “getting away” means you are away for a work-related event—is that you get to discover some really amazing things about yourself as a person.  Here are 4 things I discovered about myself while being away from the family:

I Can Still Make Friends

As with most moms, many of the adult friendships I have cultivated are centered on my kids.  Parents from the neighborhood, parents from school, parents from sport teams—do you see a trend?  Having young kids makes you a magnet for new friendships, but as my kids have gotten older, those new friend opportunities are few and far between.  I wasn’t so sure I knew how to make friends when the conversation didn’t start out with “Where did you buy those cleats?” To my surprise, I can still make a new friend or two.  I can find a common denominator with others that isn’t necessarily children.  And while many of my new friendships ended up in conversations about our children and lives back at home, they started with interesting dialogue focused on everything from politics to social issues to pop culture.

I Have Taught Them Well

The house didn’t burn down, homework was completed, people were fed and the dog was walked.  My family not only survived on their own they sort of thrived.  They did things they never seem to do when I’m around (Laundry! Dusting!), and when I came home, they did whatever they could to make my first few hours of family re-entry smooth and pleasant. It appears that I have not only taught them how to do things for themselves, but I taught them to think about others.  I guess they really are paying attention to me.

I Like to Learn New Things

In the 19 years I have been a parent, the only new thing I have learned is how to be a parent.  Oh, yes, even after your children leave the infant and toddler stages you’re still learning—learning how to do second grade math, learning how to mend a broken middle school heart, learning how to navigate the financial aid program at your child’s college.  You never stop learning, but you never seem to be learning things you enjoy.  Spending time away from my family gave me the opportunity to not only learn new things of global importance (“More girls were killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century”*), but learn things that would bring me personal joy (learning to play golf).  This kind of learning didn’t just make me feel accomplished, it made me feel inspired—something I never felt while trying to master second grade math.

I Need Silence

I don’t think we are much of a TV family—meaning, we don’t really have must-see shows or sit around discussing characters and plots.  However, our TV is always on.  Always.  And usually no one is even watching it.  It has become a standard background noise in our home and it’s distracting me.  I didn’t have a TV on for pretty much the entire time I was away and it was great.  It allowed me to think more clearly, invest in other activities such as reading and sleep—yes, one afternoon, I took a NAP!  I’ve never been so refreshed.  Spending time in silence lets me focus on just being—not always doing.

The very best thing I discovered while being gone:  absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.  I couldn’t wait to get home to my family–to listen to everyone talk over each other during dinner, to smell the sweet stench of a lacrosse bag filled with old wet socks, to hold a sixth grade boys hand as he drifted off to sleep as we read a book together.  All these wonderful things I learned about myself while away not only helped me appreciate who I am as a person, but appreciate who I am in the parenthood.

*quote from Dr. Richard Lapchick during the Generation W conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  It is from the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

~~~

I am loving these spotlight posts! I feel like I learn a little more about our cast members through them. You can learn more about each of our amazingly talented cast members too! All you need to do is purchase your tickets for the May 3rd show! Go to the Athenaeum website NOW, before it’s too late!!

Previous post:

Next post: