"Life . . . is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." ~Macbeth
When our daughter Josephine was eight, our family spent a month in New York City. For my wife, it was a long business trip, but for Josephine and me it was a vacation and so we spent our days riding the subway, checking out the sites, and eating in restaurants. One weekend we got out of the city and caught a magnificent production of Macbeth at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, one of the bard's darkest tragedies. A few weeks later we were back in the city, exploring, when we were hit with a deluge which drove us into the lobby of a movie theater. When it became apparent that the rain wasn't going to end soon, we contemplated the screen offerings, only to find that they all bore an R-rating. She pointed at a poster for a movie called King Arthur, saying, "What about that one?"
I answered, "I don't know, it looks pretty violent. It might give you bad dreams."
Without missing a beat she answered with a line that has become family legend, "Papa, I've seen Macbeth."
On the weekend, my wife and I helped Josephine move into her dorm at NYU located just a couple blocks from that theater. She's enrolled in the Tisch School of Dramatic Arts and aspires to become a professional Shakespearean actress, a dream that she connects back to that trip and that production of Macbeth. It's hard not to see destiny at work.
In a couple days, her mother and I are flying home to Seattle, leaving our girl here. The mixed emotions, of course, are a topic so clichéd as to be not worthy of discussion. It's something built into being a parent; the job is not to raise a child, but rather to raise an adult. In a very real sense, that job is now done. It doesn't mean we stop being her parents, but the simple fact of geography now makes it a different thing. I'm proud of our girl, our woman, apprehensive, but mostly excited, which is, I think, a feeling she shares. We've done everything we knew how as parents, teaching her, loving her, and letting her see Macbeth.
Beginnings and ends are all the same and destiny is a myth. We're here to make memories, to create stories to tell to one another, and this is the chapter we've now come to. It is a tale told by idiots with all our sound and fury, but I'm here today to say that Macbeth is wrong, it signifies everything.