For the longest time, I was convinced that my mom was actually Julie Andrews. It only took one viewing of The Sound of Music to convince me that my multi-talented mother had obviously snuck off at some point before I’d been born, dyed her hair blond, and taken a few short months to sing and dance her way through an entire film shoot. Totally plausible….
It took me awhile to figure out that my mom is in fact not Julie Andrews but she is still one of the finest actresses I know. She held plenty of promise as a Drama major at Ithaca College back in the late 60’s when a tall ambitious Music major named Keith Ripka was wise enough to cast her as the lead in his senior thesis musical. The rest, they say, is history.
And then she had kids.
While her career took the backseat to the three of us kids, my dad continued to try to blaze a trail for himself as a creative professional while bringing us all along – casting us as singers and actors in his regular stage plays. They were plays that never seemed to end, though – either on stage and off. I can’t speak for her but I don’t think my mom’s acting days never died. The truth is, sometimes you spend so much time performing that you don’t know when the performance actually ends. Sometimes the toughest audience is the family you love and sometimes it’s difficult to discern whether they love you for who you are or who you are trying desperately to be.
So, no – my mom is not Julie Andrews. She is the finest mom a girl could ask for, though, and a damn fine performer who could certainly give Ms. Andrews a run for her money. This mother’s day – and every day – I hope she knows that she will never have to audition for a lead role in my life. She has always had that and always will.