Yesterday afternoon we FINALLY got to see Dear Evan Hansen at Playhouse Square. It. Was. AMAZING.
I will even go so far as to say it has taken the top spot on my favorite stage productions. What a powerful story. I don't want to give too much away and spoil it for anyone, but I do want to talk about how modern this was. It dealt with teens, parents, social media, suicide, loneliness, anxiety, outcasts, and everything we, as families are going through on a daily basis. My husband and I took all three of our kids, our soon to be 16 and 14 years olds and our newly turned 12 year old. To share a story as dynamic as Dear Evan Hansen with our children added to how powerful the message of the musical was. The relationship between Evan and his mother mimics that of my son & I. The Murphy's family dynamics struck true to us as well. The distance with each other we have at times, the denial, the going through the motions of it all, and even the cruelness siblings can sometimes inflict on each other. Evan's mom is a single, working mom just trying her best to keep it all in tact. She wants to do the best she can for her son, get him the help he needs to boost his confidence and deal with his anxiety. The Murphy's are so busy living in their own realities (and denying them as well). Mrs. Murphy is the optimistic, trying to hold the pieces of her family together mom. She knows there are problems, but she's trying. Mr. Murphy has stopped trying. It's time for tough love, which turns to shutting it all out. Their son Connor has lost his way, and their daughter Zoe wants nothing to do with him. As a parent I can relate to it all.
Talking to my kids after the performance added another layer to it. They were watching the musical from the teens' perspective. They related to the stupid "mom pep talks" that they just don't want to hear. The cancelled plans because mom has to work tonight. The sibling acting like a jerk to them, the pressure to fit in at school and make friends. The constant worry about what is going to be shared about them on social media.
I was crying a steady stream of tears as voices filled the room during "You Will Be Found" as my husband was trying to not break down sobbing. I looked down the row as the lights came at intermission and my son was trying to collect himself at the end of the aisle. By the end of the second half, as Evan's mom held him on the couch, I was a hot, eyeliner running down my face mess. All three of my kids got it. We got it. This is real life.
We had to drop my son off at Boy Scout Camp after the musical. He hasn't hugged me that hard in a long time.
Wait, July is MONDAY?? I don't know how it happened, but it is. With it comes Fourth of July and Akron's Rib, White & Blue Festival on Main Street (AKA King James Way) in downtown Akron. This year's fest kicks off just in time for the lunch crowd on Wednesday, July 3rd and runs through Saturday, July 6th. Admission is free and it runs from 11am-11pm each day. It features 11 rib vendors from 5 different states along with plenty of friend food temptations (don't forget The Perogi Lady) and ROCK & ROLL!
We'll kick the music off Wednesday evening at 7pm with local faves, Ravenwood, with Bruce In The U.S.A. headlining. I will probably bump into you on the lawn. I LOVE me some Bruce! Please try to ignore the rib sauce on my face and the cinnamon sugar that's sure to be on my shirt from the elephant ear... Thanks.
Thursday, on the Fourth of July, The City of Akron welcomes The 122nd Army National Guard Band at 8pm followed by Fourth of July Fireworks at 9:45pm.
Friday night it's Rock The Lock at Rib, White & Blue with The Prince Experience - A Tribute To Prince headlining. B-Side will take stage to open up at 7pm.
The festival will wrap up on Saturday night with Turn It Up: The Lynyrd Skynyrd Experience with openers, Denzon.
Whether you join us for all, some or one night, it's going to be a great (extended) weekend in downtown Akron. WONE will be there for all of it with prizes, Treat Me Like A Rock Star t-shirts & Plinko!
I spent a lot of my vacation last week hiking all around Kentucky's Natural Bridge State Park & Daniel Boone National Park. They were amazingly beautiful and it felt good to be out in nature. My husband and I both commented about how we haven't been out hiking way too long. It's something our family used to do all the time & we really enjoy it. I guess we just got busy running kids and it fell to the wayside without us realizing it. These things happen, but we have decided to take back our outdoor happiness!
The kids had mentioned that one of their favorite hiking spots is The Gorge. They love climbing on the rocks, watching the water, and stopping at Mary Campbell Cave. Oh, you don't know about Mary Campbell Cave? Local history is one of my geeky obsessions. The cave was once known as Old Maid's Kitchen because it is cold, like most caves, and food was stored there. Eventually renamed the site Mary Campbell Cave after a young girl who was held there for many years after being captured and adopted by the Delaware (Lenape) Indians. Mary was taken from her home in Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War and was help captive at Chief Newcomer's village along the Cuyahoga River for seven years before letting her go back home to her family.
We have so many beautiful trails to hike along here in NEO, and there are plenty more history lessons (I'm sure I will be sharing more of them with you). I invite you to take advantage of everything we have here in our own backyard. Hiking, boating, kayaking, biking... whatever it is you enjoy, we've got a spot (probably several) for that! Not sure where to start? The Metro Parks do hiking sprees each season to encourage people to see the different parks and trails. I would love to hear about your favorite trail!
Today's Joke of the Day is from Paul Huchok.
Today's joke is from Dr. C.
Another school year has come to a close and my kids are excited to be sleeping in! Like most parents, I get a little sentimental when the school year ends. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, tells you all the cliches about how fast the time goes when you kids are babies. "Don't blink", "Enjoy them while they're little because it goes fast", you've heard them all and all of ithem are 100% true.
My son, Coen, just completed his freshman year of high school and will soon be driving himself to school. I'm looking forward to him shuttling himself around, but honestly, YIKES! My daughter, Ravenna, will be in 8th grade in the fall - then she heads to high school and my Lily baby is right on her heels. There is a point when you start to count the years. Mine was this past year. I have about 3 years before my son could potentially head out on his own, and the other two will shortly follow. WHERE DID THE TIME GO??? Why didn't anyone warn me???? Oh, wait....
I guess, I'll just hug them every time they get within 3 feet - even though they roll their eyes a grunt at me. I will make them answer my nosy questions about their day, their plans and their friends. I will take them out to have ice cream for lunch and agree to drive all over the city to pick up their friends and chauffeur them all around. I will read all those sappy "I didn't realize this would be the last time for... " things on Facebook and get all weepy. I will do all these things and I will be grateful, and know that I am blessed with these babies.