On February 19th, 2014 I had my first baby! Raymond Ezra Harper came kicking and screaming into the world at 1:37p and it has added a completely new layer to this long, strange trip that I call my life. When people ask me how it is to have a baby I like to say, "it's exactly the same, except there's a baby."
Two weeks after our little boy was born I went to an audition. I had to slap a little extra concealer onto my under eye circles, and if you looked closely enough I was also concealing a slight limp from the pain, but I went, I sang, I felt good about it. My friends all greeted me with admiration for getting back out there so fast, but I wonder if some of the other people at the audition didn't judge me just a little. Maybe they thought it was selfish of me to start looking for a gig so soon. That I was somehow ranking my career over my family. Maybe they thought I was crazy when I had responsibilities at home. Was I really going to leave my kid in daycare so that I could do a show? Obviously, I asked my self those questions before I even thought about strapping on the old character shoes. OF COURSE I DID!
Moving back to California from New York has shone a spotlight on the fact that most of my closest friends are, in fact, not performers. They may have been at one time or another, but they have since pursued other passions and careers and are happier for it. When my best friend, the French Teacher, had her baby she was back in the classroom six weeks later. Putting her entire career on hold indefinitely was not an option. Why would it be any different for me? Looking for gigs and creating my own product is what I do. Wether I am hitting up auditions or not, I put a little time into being an artist every single day. I am only accountable to myself, and it is a full time job. And I love it. I had doubts about being able to get back to it after my baby arrived, so when his Dad offered to ride along and hang out with baby in the car there was no option to say no.
Fortunately, my husband and I discuss everything ad nauseum. We then conclude what will be best for us as individuals and as a family. After all, we are simultaneously both. When he sits around playing computer games, I have to remind myself that this is a hobby that he enjoys and it is a release of all the stresses in his life. If he didn't get to pursue that hobby what kind of a partner would he be? No matter how much I want him to spend all of his evening paying attention to me, he deserves his down time and he is responsible enough to decide how to spend that down time. I am responsible enough to know that I am not fulfilled unless I am looking for the next opportunity to entertain. Telling stories and making people laugh is part of what feeds my soul. How can i bea good wife or mom if I am not feeling fulfilled?
As far as the logistics of starting a band or booking a show- my hubs works days and band gigs would be at night, and my Mother asks me every day if I have any leads on a gig so that she can finally have an excuse to retire. It's adorable, and they both want to be the champion in either scenario. And they would be.
The bottom line is- I haven't stopped being me, Brooke Aston Sings, since this little dude came along. if anything, I'm even better!
Since the age of sixteen my adventures in musical theater have taken me all over the country. For the next six months I will be coast hopping between New York and LA. Here are my stories.