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February 14, 2020

Motherhood Explored – The Blue Hour @ SkirtsAfire

The “blue hour” is the shade of blue we see in the sky for a short time after the sun has set (or just before the sun rises) and the colours of the sunset fade, leaving behind a deep, rich blue. The tagline for The Blue Hour is, “The Moments Between Darkness and Light”. For me, these are the moments we all move back and forth from…

A major subject explored in The Blue Hour, is motherhood. The difficulties and the challenges. Being a single mother, having an unwanted pregnancy and dealing with infertility. For me, as a non-biological parent, one of the most important parental relationships explored in The Blue Hour is the one between 13-year-old Jonah and 54-year-old Hank Moffat. We find out that Jonah’s beloved Grampa has died and his father is not in the picture. That Hank and his wife lost a 4-month-old child in a tragic accident. Jonah craves a father figure and Hank has a deep, gnawing need to be a father. Through loss, these two people find each other and develop a close familial bond. 

But the reality is, that the bittersweet sadness of these kinds of relationships, is that they come together through some kind of heartbreak. That our joy in this other person in our life is through someone else’s grief and loss. 

I knew that at a certain point being a parent meant more to me than just a biological connection. But, it wasn’t an easy journey. We had to grieve our own losses and know that we would be part of someone’s else’s.

I’ve found over the years that my writing often explores some of the same themes… infertility, death and motherhood. Obviously, I’m writing through my own experiences. But I find writing it out as the true story it is, very difficult. Let me tell you part of my story. After 9 years of wanting to be a mom, it was finally going to be a reality. My husband and I got the phone call that our newborn son had been born in Fort McMurray. But, because it’s very expensive to fly there on short notice, my husband called the airlines and explained our situation. They charged us the price it would’ve cost if we had been able to pay ahead. We got to the airport with our empty baby carrier and every person we talked to at the airport would look up our information, look up at us and smile. Our story was in their computer. When we got to Fort McMurray, it was a whirlwind of people and emotions. Our joy in becoming parents was very real, but so was the grief and sadness our son’s birth family was feeling because of their loss. 

In writing about Hank and Jonah’s relationship and the reasons for that relationship, it allowed me to write down some of the feelings I have about the heartache of being a parent. And there is always heartbreak of some sort involved. Our love for our children binds us to the world, brings out our best (and worst) sides, makes us questions our abilities and face our own mortality. 

Remembering stepping off of that plane all those years ago, and my husband and I on either side of the carrier with our newborn son inside and seeing some of the smiles of the people at the airport, makes me remember all the joy. It brings me back, for a moment to the light. 

Michele Vance Hehir is the playwright of The Blue Hour , premiering at SkirtsAfire Festival February 27 – March 8.

Join us for “Her Night Out” on February 29 (Leap Year!), sponsored by Alberta Mamas. Use the code “abmamasbogo” to buy one, get one free. Along with your ticket to The Blue Hour, the night will include special lobby entertainment, food, silent auction and an exciting raffle.

Tickets on sale now – use code albertamamas15 to get 15% off any other performance of The Blue Hour. Purchase tickets here.

Featured photo by BB Collective Photography

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