My Starring Role

1:26:00 PM

Years ago, I was Marcia Brady and I had two younger sisters, Jan and Cindy. It was the seventies and we were children and we all pretended we were Brady Bunch girls.

Every afternoon we’d turn on the TV eager to watch the latest Brady Bunch episode or the latest repeat. We must have watched each one a hundred times. We soaked them all up and we longed to be child stars.

Occasionally, I thought I might prefer to be a famous singer rather than a TV child actress. When I wasn’t watching The Brady Bunch I was absorbed in Johnny Young’s Young Talent Time. I wanted to be in his troop of child performers. I wanted to be Tina Arena, Jane Scali or Sally Boyden.

Some of my friends shared my Young Talent Time ambition. We decided to form a girl band and practice our talents. A roaming TV producer might hear about us and come looking. We performed every school lunch-time on the concrete slab behind the girls’ toilet block. There were three or four of us. In those days, I was one of the cool kids. We sang and twirled and smiled. We were sensational and life was fun.

Every day, I practiced singing like a star. With half-closed eyes, I stared into the depths of the gold-framed mirror in our family's lounge room as I warbled my way through all the latest pop love songs. Clutching my hair brush microphone tightly, I swayed from side to side. I was fabulous. Such talent. I could hardly wait until I was discovered. One day, someone did discover me. My father. And that was the end of me singing to the mirror.

We had a fabulous teacher. “Can we sing a song for the class, Miss D?” Of course, we could. We lined up at the front of the room and sang, and the rest of the class was envious. They all wished they could be part of our girl band.

One day Miss D listened a little closer than usual. She asked all the girls to stop singing except for Leslie. We looked at Leslie. She looked at us. Then she opened her mouth and sang solo. Suddenly I realised something. Leslie could sing. And I couldn’t. I’ve often wondered what became of Leslie. Did she actually become famous?

The girl band broke up. The Brady Bunch once again became the centre of our conversation. One day, someone announced, “I heard Cindy died.” Our eyes grew wide. How? "She was in a car accident.” Could it be possible? No more Brady Bunch? Of course, our source of information was unreliable and Cindy lived on and so did the Brady Bunch. And so did our dreams.

I never did become a famous child star. Instead I grew up. I forgot all about the Brady Bunch until Thomas was born.

Seconds after his birth, our sixth child was whisked away to the NICU. I didn’t get a chance to see him. I was transferred to the maternity ward while my baby was hooked up to a life support system. I waited anxiously for news. Did he have enough lung tissue to live? When would I be able to visit my new son? Pierre, the junior doctor, came to give me an update. He walked in and smiled gently, saying, “Congratulations! You have your very own Brady Bunch!” Yes, I had three girls and three boys.

I had my very own Brady Bunch for twenty-eight and a quarter hours. And then Thomas died.

So I ended up being Mrs Brady instead of Marcia Brady, and our first season lasted for just over a day. But what a run we had. A star-studded cast including talented newcomer Thomas Augustine Joseph. Twenty-eight hours on stage. He was nominated for the highest award and he won it: Saint.

Funny how things work out. That skinny-legged, freckle-faced girl grew up and she didn’t find fame and fortune. She couldn’t sing. She couldn’t dance. No one discovered her. That’s not quite right. The love of her life found her.

Together Andy and I took centre stage where God gave me a starring role: Mother. He gave me a very special moment under the spotlight. He didn't ask me to audition for this part. I didn't have to line up and prove my worth. No. He just chose me. He knew I could do it.

God made me the mother of a saint.

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  1. Tingles, I've got tingles. This is hands down the best blog post of yours I've read Sue, I just love it.

    1. Kelly,

      I got tingles too as I wrote the last few paragraphs. I've made some small changes to the earlier parts of this post since I wrote it, but I haven't changed the ending. I didn't know how the story was going to end when I started it. And then the words just appeared. I think God was telling me something.

      Thank you so much for reading this post and for your kind words. I'm glad I was able to share this story with you.

  2. Oh my, Sue...this is beyond beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Just beautiful. xoxoxoxo

    1. Chris,

      Being the mother of a saint is beautiful. I'm glad I was able to find the right words to share that with everyone. Thank you so much for reading my Thomas' story and for your kind comment. Sending you love xxx



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