Who would have thought, a year ago, that we’d be having this conversation right now. David and I sit in Atlanta, Bex is in LA, and her sense of where she feels most “at home” has shifted from one coast to another. Bex is now at home in Hollywood.
Since the Entertainment Weekly article, there hasn’t been a great deal of action on the acting front. There were some auditions, even a few call backs in Atlanta, but summer schedules being as they are, we chose to focus on getting Bex ready for the move to LA. After months of anticipation, and untold numbers of hours of purging through the ‘stuff’ in her childhood room, Bex left Atlanta on a trial run on July 4 — her Independence Day — heading for an Outward Bound course in Utah.
Now, some might not see this little jaunt as necessary, but we beg to differ. We’re about to send our not-quite-18-year-old daughter to live on her own (albeit with a loving family, thank God!), 3000 miles away from home, to finish High School, begin her career, and immerse herself in a world as foreign to us as Ava Gabor was to Green Acres. To our way of thinking, for Bex to spend 2 weeks Kayaking, rafting and climbing, getting a sense of just HOW capable she is, was absolutely essential. And while she wasn’t so sure before she went, she came home utterly fulfilled, and maybe even a little suspicious that her parents might not be such idiots after all! Outward Bound is an ideal kind of experience for a kid like Bex: it is empowering, and grounding, and altogether inspiring. What better way to get herself ready for action.
Of course, the timing could have been better. Bex returned home from OB with only 35 hours of turn around time. We stayed up WAYYYY too late Friday night talking and laughing — the OB stories are hysterical. And then we got up relatively early Saturday morning so that Bex could go to the dentist.
The dentist? On Sat morning? Are we making this up? Of course not! This is Bex we’re talking about. Here’s the back-story: Thursday afternoon, at the end of a float, on a quiet stretch of river, on the last day of her Outward Bound excursion — a member of the group picked up a paddle just as Bex was leaning forward. Had she been 1/8 in to the left or right, there would have been no problem. But no. Bex has a chipped tooth (an old Junior High softball injury), and the tip was knocked off.
Imagine the phone call. It’s 6 p.m. on a Thursday. David and I are at an Intensive training in Charlotte. The phone rings, and it’s Outward Bound (note: NOT a good sign! Also note: this was not the first call we got during this short 2 week course). Bex has chipped her tooth and wants to know if there is any way to get it fixed before she goes to LA on Sunday. Right. After a few deep breaths, we call the only person we know who could make something crazy like that happen: Grammie!
We go to dinner, and I can only laugh when I get a call from LA telling me that Bex has an audition the next day. We respectfully decline, as Bex will be boarding the first of 2 planes to take her back to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Grammie is working her magic. By the time Bex calls at 1:00 on Friday, I get to tell her that Grammie has arranged for her to get her tooth fixed on Saturday, and still have time to get her hair cut in the afternoon. Bex hung up immediately to call her Grammie. NOT SURE who was happier!
Our 35 hours together in Atlanta was precious, albeit brief. By Saturday evening all was basically done. Bex was able to enjoy some hang-out time with Jess and Lil, and David and I joined them with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. These three girls (and El — you were missed!) have spent a life-time together. It was only fitting that they sat, and laughed, and told stories, and brought the chapter of their childhood to a close, together. It was an absolute joy.
Sunday morning was relatively uneventful as we ushered Bex into the airport and off onto her adventure. As we drove out of the airport, I turned to David, the tears welling up, and captured it simply: “how the hell was that 18 years?”
Bex has been in Hollywood, now, for about 10 days. True to form, she called the first night asking to change programs. Buoyed by our OB success, we held firm — and, of course, she is LOVING this program, filming “her actors” on real Hollywood sets, calling only when she needs something, and posting silliness on FB and twitter. I am amazed by the childishness of this young woman, and the maturity of this child. The two sides reside in tandem — I suspect it’s what makes her as talented as she is.
She has a bit more time in this structured program before she is released to the wilds of Hollywood. But the curtain has been lifted, and the first script came in tonight — for an audition at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow. It doesn’t seem to phase Bex in the least –I’m sorta glad I’m not there to stress the pace.
Bex will be at the NY Film Academy through August 11. On August 12, she turns 18 and moves into an apartment at Oakwood. I will be there to celebrate her independence, and attend an orientation at her new school. And then I’ll get on a plane and come home, and Bex will continue her journey.