Aside from requiring that I make sure to get out of work on time, the task was relatively simple--order 10 pizzas, meet the delivery person at the rehearsal location, set up the food and plates, and leave the space as I had found it, after the forty-something kids and adults had finished their very brief dinner break. I had counted on glitches in the process--getting stuck at work, ending up on a delayed train, the delivery happening too late for the scheduled dinner break, the kids wanting or needing something other than what I'd brought. What I hadn't counted on was what I experienced as the cast and crew flew through the pizza. I saw kids so wrapped up in what they were doing before dinner and would be doing after that they hardly even saw what they were eating. I saw appreciation for what was for me a fairly small contribution, but for them was one that made their evening infinitely easier. I saw kids who were a part of everything and kids still trying to find their way. I saw just a bit of the process that was creating the show I'll be seeing this weekend.
Quite often, I am a parent spectator, remaining comfortably on the outside, looking in. In taking the evening's dinner, I was suddenly, at least for a half hour, inside, seeing just a little more, understanding just a little more. It was a nice view. We can't always be on the inside--at least for me, there are too many "insides" to have time to explore them all. But when we allow ourselves to take a step inside, we see, and hear, what we can't really understand through a window or from after-the-fact descriptions. When we step inside, we come out, even after just a half hour, with a head full of pictures and experiences that will stay with us, even when we return to being spectators.
Today, I took a step inside with some pizza. And I'm really glad for what I saw on the inside.