In theatrical circles it is apparently the done thing to invite performers to "break a leg!" before they take to the stage.
I have never been able to bring myself to exhort
my grandchildren thus - mainly, I imagine, because I have spent most of their childhood urging them to stay safe, not to climb too high, not to jump over impossible hurdles, not to take that ridiculous leap off the very top of the climbing frame - in other
words, not to get hurt. None of them have, of course, listened to me, which is just as it should be, but the mere mouthing of the Words of Caution reassures me that I have carried out my grandmotherly duty. Though another part of me altogether feels I should
be egging them on, daring them to seek out the dangers and to learn from the Breaking of Limbs.
There's a wonderful poem by Evangeline Paterson which perfectly sums up that desire to keep your children (and
grandchildren) safe, while knowing they must be allowed to fly free, whatever the perils ahead. It's called For My Children and it reads:
On this doorstep I stand
and watch you leaving
and think: may you not
skin your knees. May you
catch your fingers
in car doors. May
your hearts not break.
May tide and weather
for your coming
and may you grow strong
all the webs of my weaving.
It's one of many poems I wish I had written. Anyway, Jack and Hazel are taking to the stage this weekend, both with starring roles in their theatre group's production of "Grease", I posted messages wishing them well without actually saying the words
"Good Luck" which I gather means bad luck in Luvvie Land, but also refraining from suggesting they break any of their limbs. I gather the Opening Night last night was a triumph with civic dignitaries in the audience to cheer them on. This evening Mr B and
I have been reserved front row seats on account of the fact that I have to sing for my supper by writing reviews for the local papers.
Before that, we have been invited to the local Parkinson's Society meeting
where I am to give a talk on the Great War Project. Bless them, they are making it quite an event dressing up in costumes from the period, and laying on a lunch of stew and rice pudding as might have been enjoyed by our ancestors. There will be a rendition
of World War One songs by their own small choir, and a round-up of poems and readings. I have checked that my laptop and the projector are talking to each other and removed a line from my talk which bewailed the fact that I couldn't be part of the digital
photography team on account of suffering from serious camera shake. Think about it.
I am pretty confident that I am all prepared but, just for good measure, I have told myself not to break a leg....