Day 586: WTF

I saw this, on my walk to my car yesterday, after a particularly challenging day at work:


I thought, WTF! Does the owner/driver of the car mean what I think she means, with that bumper sticker? I was taken aback and surprised, because, as she drove by me, she did NOT look like the kind of person that would put WTF on her car. To me, she looked like a shy, quiet person who would never swear — much less shout out the F-word on her car.

Of course, I was making snap judgments and assumptions about her, which couldn’t possibly give credit or understanding to all the different parts, shadings, and depths of the driver of that car.

Later that evening, I saw someone I’ve known  for over 16 years — a quiet, sometimes shy-seeming soul, who avoids saying WTF or any other “bad” words — showing new things about himself, on stage. I saw him singing, acting, and throwing himself into character. I saw his commitment to inhabiting and delivering difficult music and the portrait of a dark soul (which included a word he worried about putting out there, even in character, because he understood how hurtful it could be).

I’m probably not communicating this all that well, right now. Allow me to provide a few details.  Last night, I saw my son Aaron play John Wilkes Booth, in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, in Aaron’s first time acting on a stage.

At risk of

  1.  sounding like a stage mother and
  2. making a bad pun,

he killed it.

I don’t have photos or video of last night, but here’s “The Ballad of Booth” from Assassins, performed by cast members Victor Garber and  Patrick Cassidy, from a 1992 tribute concert to Stephen Sondheim  at Carnegie Hall.

(YouTube video found here)

When I saw my son Aaron, on stage last night, acting and singing the way he did — in that number and others — I thought


And after the show was over, when nobody could see it, I cried a little.


Why would I cry, even just a little, when I was feeling so much pride and joy in my only child?

I’m not sure if I completely understand WTF was going on there, for me. And I’m not sure I could deliver my thoughts and feelings well enough here,  since it’s time for me to get ready for the day (which includes another performance, this afternoon).

Do you have some idea, based on your own experience?

Heartfelt and happy thanks to the woman driving that car, to my son Aaron, to all the amazing cast members in last night’s production of Assassins, to Arlington Children’s Theater, to Stephen Sondheim, to Patrick Cassidy and Victor Garber, to people everywhere who take risks to show different parts of themselves, and to you, — of course! — especially if you thought “WTF!?” during your visit here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 34 Comments

Post navigation

34 thoughts on “Day 586: WTF

  1. laurajfairbanks

    He was beyond amazing. What a show!

  2. Ray Stevens

    Great review, Ann! Sounds like you’re a very proud parent, and rightfully so. I can’t wait to see Aaron and his cast mates in the show later today!

  3. Mr. T has been performing since elementary school, but after his first high school performance, I saw him and cried – it was so amazing to see all of it come together and watch him really perform. And yes, since he’s been in HS for 2 years now, I’ve seen plenty of performances and just about every time my heart fills with such love, joy and pride that I tear up.

    Great, I’m tearing up now!

    Happy Saturday Ann!

    • Your tearing up (and revealing that vulnerability here), helped me amazingly, Kate. WTF! And Happy Saturdays to you, too.

  4. I am so glad to hear that Aaron killed it with his song voice and words, Ann, and I don’t care that the evaluation comes from his proud stage mom. Yay, Aaron!

    As for WTF, I look at is as an acronym that’s entered our world no longer carrying the baggage of the true identity of the last word. It simply stands for puzzlement, astonishment, amazement, all with a raised eyebrow of irony or concern or some extra level of, well, something. If need be, I can think of it as What The Frig? But WTF does just fine. Hey, when I see NCAA, my brain need not say National Collegiate Athletic Association …

    • When you see NCAA, your brain could say “National Communists Against Athletes,” “No Class At All,” “No Clue At All,” NATO Civil Air Augmentation,” “National Conspiracy Against Alabama,” “No Clue About Anything,” “Not Caring About Anything, ” No Classes At All,” “National Conspiracy Against Athletes,” “No Cojones At All,” and others, according to Google. WTF?

      Nobody Comments About Ann like you do, Mark.

      • I have a lifelong aversion to one of those sayings, Ann, because 30 years ago, a good friend in our close knit group married a woman despite the fact that she told him “all your friends are NCAA — No Class At All.” And he told us this. We went to the wedding and smiled and tried to welcome her to our world.

        Six months later she dumped him, and he was back with us as down as a man could be, and we were classy enough to not bring up that phrase.

  5. WTF Ann? I wish you had recorded a bit of Aaron’s performance. 🙂 Love this post and your beautiful mother’s heart. ❤
    Diana xo

    • I was too busy being in the moment to capture it that way, Diana. That was true at the second performance, also, today. My friend Kathy, the photographer, did get some shots, but I will need to clear those with Aaron first, before I show any here.

      All in all, though, I think we all did quite well. Love this comment, from your beautiful heart.

  6. Not really crying. Kvelling. Well, kvelling and crying, but the kind of crying that comes from a very deep place, a place of wonder, vulnerability and awe.

    Mazel tov on your wonderful son and your joint success, and on the opportunity to see him from the audience.

  7. I’m with Diana here. WTF Ann …
    Can you slip out the cell phone tonight?
    Or would that be too much WTF?!
    Great job Aaron for bringing tears of happiness 🙂
    Val x

    • Actually, slipping out the cell phone tonight wouldn’t have the effect you request, since the second performance was today at 2 PM. And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but nothing to see here, again, on my cell phone.

      Great job in this comment, Val. xo

  8. I really do have some idea. My daughter is now a theatre director, but back in school she would be acting in plays. She had the lead role on Cabaret (age 15, I think), she’d never sung any kind of solo before. I was totally overwhelmed with what she was doing and with the story itself. The funny side of it was that the religious studies teacher was doing most of the costumes, (I did some of my daughter’s) and just before the dress rehearsal she looked at me in horror as she realised that she was dressing up all these 13/14/15 year old girls as convincing ladies of the night in old Berlin and what would their parents think!! It was a fantastic and very moving performance.

  9. Pingback: Day 587: It’s Been Real | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  10. LOL on WTF…
    I use that all the time with my hubby…Here is why:

    As for your emotions. They were overwhelmed with joy. Poor emotions – didn’t even know how to react – they were just all over the place.

  11. Pingback: Day 588: How to reduce anxiety | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  12. I think the declarative nature of the expression makes it funny when it stands alone, and particularly when it’s used by a usually non-overly-assertive person.

    • I’m all for funny expressions, and for usually non-overly-assertive people showing their assertiveness. WTF! It’s always great to see you here.

      • I’m not sure– is passively assertive, temporarily assertive, and non overly assertive the same thing? I think we need an expensive comprehensive study on this issue before some of this whole thing gets out of semi-control. 😀

      • I think you’re right, but I won’t be doing that this week.

        Now, am I being passively assertive, temporarily assertive, or non overly assertive?

      • I’m thinking more like discerningly perspicacious. 😀

      • Now I’m thinking about a high school English lesson when we learned the difference between perspicacious and perspicuous. I am (1) amazed that I remember that and (2) non-amazed that I don’t remember the difference.

      • Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have slept through THAT class. 😀

  13. Linda Lintz

    It was wonderful to see Aaron loving what he was doing acting-emoting, and singing-stretching himself , transforming himself, telling us John Wilkes Booth’s story with his red/auburn hair dyed brown…

    I was excited for him, with him, touched by him, inspired by him, wowed by him, proud of him….

    He’s growing up … and fully expressing himself in new and different mediums.
    My hat is off to Aaron!!!!


  14. Pingback: Day 600: Scary things | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  15. Pingback: Day 615: Voices | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  16. Pingback: Day 2324: WTF? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  17. Pingback: Day 2701: WTF??! | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: