All in the Family
Originally published in May during Operagasm’s focus on family, this article by Bridgette Cooper reminds us how important family is and how we can have a powerful influence on the ones we love most.
by Bridgette Cooper
As I hung up the phone I shouted “Awesome”….then reality hit me as my five year old came running out of her room yelling “what happened?” It dawned on me; I mean how could I forget? Things had been so different since the last time I was offered the possibility of going on a tour. At that time, it was just me. This time, it was me…the single mom and a five year old. It was serious head scratching time. I could be happy for myself later after I figured things out. Not only am I a single mom, but I have no family in the immediate area to call on, her father lives in Texas, and there was NO way I would ever put her into a situation that I was unsure of. It led me back to my original question what do I do now?
I have always been good at brainstorming. I sat down and wrote a list of things that HAD to happen for me to even consider taking a tour. I came up with four things that were a must. One, I knew she must come with me. Two, she must continue with her education. Three, I had to find a way to care for her during the hours I was rehearsing and performing and four; I had to make it work. A while ago I heard about a friend of mine I toured with several years ago who raised her family while on the road with her husband. They have three adorable kids. She would be the perfect person to speak with, I happened to catch up with her on Facebook one evening by chance. I told her about my dilemma. She told me that it can be done, and she and her husband did it. They decided to home school the kids while on tour, which they decided to continue with to this day. They also realized that they did need a nanny. Things worked out well for them with that situation.
The flip side of the coin is what if you are in my situation? I am a single parent, with a young child. People called me crazy for even considering it. One friend even told me that I knew when I got married, I gave up that part of my life…..she almost had me for a minute. After thinking and praying on it, I thought why not? I started looking for other single parents who also made things work for them while on the road. I soon realized that the biggest concern was finding quality care….well I found the solution (I think). In every state and city, there is a College or University. I called upon the Education Department. What better resource to use while you are out on the road? These students had a focus (to teach and work with children) PLUS they were college students….remember the days of wanting to earn a few dollars to buy groceries or pay for some books, or just a bit of “fun” money? It took a bit of planning, but it worked! I was able to contact an advisor, she suggested a few students to interview. I called and interviewed the students. They were MORE than happy to not only “watch” my child, but they worked with her on school work, took the time to go on walks, even sat with her backstage. I always paid way more that minimum wage and gave them a recommendation. My other friend who suggested that I take my child was none other than Sandra Bullock, yes, “the” Sandra Bullock, my fellow ECU Alum. Remembering her mother was an opera singer as well, what better person to ask? Her words were pure and simple……”what better way to show your child that the world is her oyster?” She reassured me that it would be a wonderful experience for her. She was right!
Next Feature: “Sex, Opera Singers…….and DATING!”
Bridgette Cooper – Mezzo Soprano
Opera singer, radio personality, actress, recording artist and music educator, Bridgette Cooper is the recipient of several national and international awards for her vocal artistry. Her debut CD Heavenly Grass: Great American Art Songs brought her critical acclaim as well a guest artist on Fox 45 Morning Show. Visit Bridgette at www.jazzyoperagirl.com