Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"I've Seen Macbeth"


"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.

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1 comment:

Emily said...

How exciting for your daughter! And thank you for this reminder of what parenting is all about. As someone still very close to the beginning of the journey, it's easy to forget the big picture in the midst of the day to day ups and downs.