inter alia: I wonder how far Richard Armitage fell from the tree?

No need to be concerned…I’m not responding to a breaking news report about Richard Armitage climbing trees in Central Park or anything.  I was just thinking about something my mother used to…and that I now… say often:  “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Turns out that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" version of this idiom is much more widely illustrated!

Turns out that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” version of this idiom is much more widely illustrated!

It is a very common adage around here referring to the fact that children are often very similar to their parents.  I suppose that this is true to a certain extent.  My own children are like me in a lot of ways.

This is the book my daughter came home from school with on Friday...with no input from me BTW!

This is the book my daughter came home from school with on Friday…with no input from me BTW!

They are both bright, articulate (to the point of being maddening), polite (to everyone but me), and I’m told, they look quite a bit like me.  I take it as a backhanded compliment when people say, “Oh Mini Me is sooo cute…she looks just like you.” (I’ll take compliments where I find them thank you very much!)     🙂   

In other ways though, it seems like the apple took a bit of a detour.  A friend on my RL Facebook feed was joking this weekend about being sportsmom.  My mom was a sportsmom.   Athletics was an interest that I inherited from my parents, both of whom were outstanding prep athletes.  It was a special connection between my mother and me though, because when she was in school, there were no official teams and no official honors for female athletes.  My mom was my biggest supporter as I earned  varsity letters and regional all conference honors in volleyball and softball during my high school athletic career.  She has two artificial hips to testify to the amount of time that she sat in bleachers watching me play.  She also sat in the surgical waiting room while an orthopedic surgeon pinned my fingers back together after I broke them playing softball my senior season.  (I don’t have full range of motion in them to this day…but I made the all conference team!  Let me hear a heavily ironic *U-RA-RA*!!).  I don’t think I’m destined to be a sportsmom though.

Hmmm, I wonder if there was any pressure on this kid to be athletic?

Hmmm, I wonder if there was any pressure on this kid to be athletic?

I was determined, with both of my kids, to give them as much room to choose their path as is reasonably possible.  I tried really hard to be gender neutral with most stuff…to let them choose if/when they wanted to.  My daughter?  Despite my attempts, every time she’s been given the choice, she opts for pinks and purples…the more bling the better.  At four, she showed a passing interest in softball, so we signed her up for summer T-ball (I can’t recommend this enough…it is endlessly entertaining to watch a crowd of four year olds try and shag balls!).  She didn’t like it.  “My hand sweats in the glove Mommy” she explained.  (!#@!$#!$????)  OK…fair enough – dance class it is.

My son has always broken the mold to a certain extent.  He was an only child until he was 7, and is very independent – to the point of being a bit of a loner from time to time.  In the interest of finding some physical activities of interest, I made any number of athletic options available to him…he went, he tried, he disliked.  Well, actually, he rather liked gymnastics class, but I had a feeling (which has been proven correct now that he is 15 and six feet tall) that he wasn’t going to have the right body type to do that for long.

Despite the fact that he looks like an inside linebacker, it turns out that he is much more inclined towards drama and music – especially vocal music, so we foster that.  Last year, thanks to the Grandma and Grandpa Scholarship Fund, he started working with a vocal coach from a local university for the arts.

The effects have been pretty dramatic.   I am the back up band (in that I play the accompaniment CD) when he sings in church…which he’s been doing since he was ten.  Last year, he sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and I almost had a merry little mommy meltdown…WTH?!  When did my little soprano become freaking Michael Bublé?! One of the “church ladies” (are you getting the mental picture?)  came up to me after and sighed…”Oh, there were notes in there that were just like honey!”   Vaguely awkward…

So, instead of being a sportsmom, I guess I’m destined to be a stage mom…but not of the Honey Boo Boo variety!  (if you’re not familiar, Google it, I dare you!)

stage mom tee

My SIL, whose sons are huge into baseball and football was aghast…”aren’t you devastated that he doesn’t want to play sports!?!” she asked.   Ah, no…for one, concussive head trauma does not often play a major role in the long term health of singers.  Plus, when I go watch my kid “play” (appearing soon as Piragua Guy in a school production of In the Heights) instead of an icy cold metal bleacher in the freezing wind, I get to sit in a nice warm theater with a comfy seat.

Had to be a proud moment... Royal Premiere of "The Hobbit:  The Unexpected Journey"  2012. Source

Had to be a proud moment…
Royal Premiere of “The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey” 2012.

All of this made me wonder how far from the family apple tree Richard Armitage’s career pursuits have taken him, and what adjustments his own “stage mom” made to help him achieve all that he has…

18 comments on “inter alia: I wonder how far Richard Armitage fell from the tree?

  1. I always did love those images of Mamma Armitage. (Did you ever see how beautiful and graceful her hands are?) And I have wondered too, about the “adjustments”. He has mentioned in interviews regarding that of the occasional shedding of clothing for shows. I’m sure hearing that your son is going hundreds of miles a way to work in a circus, ride a horse and practice swordplay, or visit a cold war country, might have taken adjusting to also.

    And In The Heights is great! That is a really fun play for your son to be in and the music is fantastic. Momma, you are going to have a good time and so is he. 🙂

    • obscura says:

      I love them too…it had to have been challenging at times. Probably still is, given the distance, etc.

      I’m really looking forward to the production. I just looked at the rehearsal schedule…it is pretty intense, but this school takes their arts program as seriously as their sports program, and it show in the end results.

      • Then it sounds like you are in for a real treat, and your son will be asked to work very hard. Hopefully it will be really satisfying hard work for him. To me, I think the best pay-off is just in the accomplishment alone – which I can certainly appreciate because I can’t sing, I can’t retain what I read off a menu five minutes ago, and I’ll just skip the stage fright. 🙂

  2. Marie Astra says:

    Everything I’ve read shows Mama Armitage as being supportive and nurturing of her son’s performance ambitions. Not being a parent myself, I’m careful of saying too much about how to raise children, but one of my mantras has been that each child has their own path. Good for you to recognize that in your kids!! My mom was very nurturing as well – she went to work part-time to afford to send me to a summer acting workshop that I was dying to go to. Yay Moms!! 😀

    • obscura says:

      You might be one of a handful of people I know without kids who AREN’T a font of unsolicited child rearing advice, so thanks!! I can only suggest and try to guide them and prepare them. Ultimately, the choice is theirs to make. I think they’ll recognize one day that the nagging to do homework and practice whatever was all part of the nurture 🙂

  3. guylty says:

    Had to LOL several times during this piece. A little look behind the scenes of the Obscura household. Whether we want it or not, our kids are extensions of ourselves to some degree. It is exciting to see them develop their own personalities and interests. Personally, I am shamelessly and ruthlessly pushing them into my direction *evil laugh*. I want someone to fangirl with and to take me to the best rock concerts. And to always reserve a VIP box for mommy dearest who was the rock and foundation on the way to rock superstardom.
    Seriously – it must be great, seeing the success of one’s offspring, especially when it is so visible i.e. on national TV or the big screen, respectively. Yeah, some bits may make you cringe – but overall it must be comforting to know they have made it and that all the investment in their training was worth while.

    • obscura says:

      Oh yeah, never a dull moment. As we’ve talked about, I’m a far cry from a candidate for mother of the year…The words, “your voice is a gift, now get off your a– and practice your solo!” may have left my lips in the past. I also may have “subtly” influenced my daughter…she sent me this today:

      And she has one of these:

      All that aside, they are definitely their own people. I really can’t imagine what a thrill it must be to see a child reach a career high…whatever their career.

    • Leigh says:

      To quote my daughter: “You just had me so you would have someone to go to the opera with you.” I don’t believe I ever pushed, though. She is now at the top of her profession and loves her work. They do grow up to be individuals, regardless of whether they fall far from the tree or not.

  4. katie70 says:

    One of son1’s classmates told him that he was just like his dad, to which he told her no. They maybe like us but don’t ever tell that. I am not like my parents ( more like my aunt) but there are a couple things that I am like my mom on. This is not me just saying that either, most my family would say the same.

    I would say most parents would be proud of a child doing well no matter what, or doing something that they had a hard time doing. Son3 has autism, being in a room full of people was to much for him, so during his kindergarten winter sing he was able to stand up in front of all those people and sing was a big deal. He bounced the whole program but didn’t run, I was in tears. That was big for him as it was for me.

  5. […] Obscura was wondering about this question yesterday in the context of her own children’s paths: what happens when your child’s interests diverge from your own hobbies and strengths? Do you encourage a child against his inclination? Or do you support your child’s desires over your own judgment about what might be more practical or useful? And, by extension, how did Richard Armitage’s parents deal with this question, considering that, as Armitage has commented, there were one “singing granny” and no thespians in his family? CDoart asked that question — how did he get his parents to follow his desires — last fall. […]

  6. […] Richard and apples (ps. did I mention Richard’s mum looks eerily just like mine…) […]

  7. […] talked here about my new role as a “stage mom”.  I have found that I am a minor player at best. […]

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