Imagine being paid for time away in the Carribbean, receiving outstanding treatment, beautiful accommodation and picturesque scenery. Sounds too good to be true right? Especially for a very busy bad-mum of 6!
During my pregnancy with child #6, I honestly believed that my life would come to a standstill with 5 other children and a severely disabled baby on the way. I just couldn’t fathom that, life would go on and my disabled son would become very much an integral part of our family rather than a burdensome addition.
The most recent and exciting motherhood venture is the result of child #4’s natural acting ability.
We received an email from her agency stating that she had an audition in central London, Friday 20th April 2018 and that she needed to have a valid passport (which she did not have although it was in the process of being renewed and had been submitted a few days beforehand).
I found the description of the role to be very intriguing, some of the words used were…a story of hope, passion and determination, full of insight and humour. I was quietly excited about the prospects and entertained the thought of Child #4 getting the job for a split second. However, I wasn’t overly confident or expectant but knew we had to attend the audition anyway as it was a commitment and agreement between us and her agency. Irrespective of how I feel, I always ensure that she attends auditions and we maintain our professionalism.
Preparing for the audition was straight forward, child #4 is very independent and learned the script and immersed herself into the role of the character without support or guidance form me. I am no expert in acting and so I always think it best to allow her to do what comes naturally rather than me adding my inexperienced input.
The day of the audition was VERY challenging. In addition to there being a demonstration in central London at the time, I also had to bring baby J-Lee Moses with me, Child #6.
Travelling with a typical baby is difficult enough and travelling with a baby who is NG tube fed and on an apnea monitor is a daily trial. The journey to the studio was okay, we arrived in good time only to find that the parking bays nearby had all been suspended. Unfortunately for me, I was not familiar with the area at all and so I had no idea where to find alternative available parking in close proximity to the studio. We drove around for about 20 minutes searching for parking whilst the time was ticking away fast. Before I knew it, child #4’s agency was on the phone wanting to know where we were and informed me that she had missed her audition time and they’d try to slot her in at the end.
Eventually, we found a VERY expensive car park and managed to rush like crazy to find the venue of the audition. When we arrived we were faced with a heavy door and lots of steps. Fortunately, a kind and lovely lady volunteered to help us.
By this time we were now 30 minutes late and I was very flustered and embarrassed, we had never been late for an audition before and it was very overwhelming. I apologised profusely; thankfully they were very understanding and gentle with me.
Once composed I looked around the waiting room and saw a fine selection of incredibly beautiful little girls, all were mixed race or very fair in complexion. I thought about child #4 and how different in appearance she was to all the other children and I became very frustrated. I mean, why would her agent have called us to audition for a role where it appeared that they wanted a mixed raced looking child.
We waited quite a while for child #4 to be seen which was understandable considering our lateness. Child #6 decided that he was going to make a scene and started crying and demanding attention. It was a small and intimate waiting room and again I felt very flustered.
Child #4 was eventually called in to audition. Whilst she was auditioning her agent called me and shouted angrily at me for our lack of professionalism and poor time keeping. He reminded me that we represented the agency and that sort of behaviour was unacceptable and if it happened again there would be serious consequences. I came off the phone and burst into uncontrollable tears. I tried to compose myself but I just couldn’t. It had already been a stressful and emotional time and her agents phone call led me to breaking point.
When child #4 eventually came out from the audition all I could think about was putting this day behind me and getting home.
It was a couple of days later that her agent called and said that she had a recall audition the following week. He emphasised the importance of time-keeping and I once again explained that it was a one off situation which wouldn’t happen again.
The recall audition was a lot easier for us, I arranged for hubby to leave work a bit earlier and keep child #6 at home. We were of course early and child #4 was very confident and had again rehearsed the script. When she had finished auditioning she was brought out by a lovely lady who complimented her saying that she did very well and that I should be very proud of her. I did think; what a lovely compliment and at the same time assumed all the children would have received the same accolade.
The very next day we received a call from her agent. My brain immediately started to race and I wondered what did I had done now? He asked me how I thought child #4 had done in the audition and I said that they were pleased with her and said they liked her. He interjected and said “well, they did like her, well done, she got the part”. I actually couldn’t believe what I was hearing, it was totally unexpected as I hadn’t thought for a moment that she would have gotten it, it wasn’t because I doubted her talent at all but rather because I didn’t think she was what they were looking for.
The news that she had the job was mind blowing and exciting. I thought about filming in the Caribbean and then, it hit me…oops, oh my goodness, she still didn’t have her passport back. I started to panic a little but decided to trust God, after-all, if He had blessed her with job then he would definitely take care of everything that needed to happen for her to fulfil the role.The following weeks were crazy, with emails, introductions, fittings, rehearsals, and ensuring that child #4 was well acquainted with the script. It was always in my head that my mum would be her chaperone but her agent dropped the bombshell that it had to be someone with parental responsibility. Everything seemed to just get complicated in that moment. It meant that realistically, I would have to be the one to take her.
This meant that an intensive and intricate care plan for J-Lee Moses child #6 had to be put in place. It also meant relying on family, friends and medical professionals to keep J-Lee safe in my absence. I had to ensure that my mum, his primary carer in my absence, was fully trained to feed him. His feeding regime takes up to two hours and is a compartmentalised process.
It also meant ensuring that the other 3 children were also going to be taken care of in my absence. There were times when things seemed as though they just wouldn’t come together, but little by little everything fell into place, divinely ordered by God above.
Child #4’s passport arrived in good time for me to send off the details to the agency and production team. My mum and aunt had acquired enough experience and confidence to feed child #6 and hubby was fully onboard to do his part and support the cause. The trips to the Caribbean had been arranged over two weeks with a weeks break in between.
Being able to support this opportunity for my daughter has taken an entire village in some respects. Parents, grandparents, gran aunts, siblings, church members and professionals all came together to make it happen. At the time of writing this post we have just returned from the first trip and currently at home for the week in-between break.
I desperately missed my family whilst we were away, yet I know I needed to use the time as an opportunity to get refreshed, have a break, change of scenery and be ready to embark upon my bad-mum journey all over again. I am quietly looking forward to going back next week. It’s been such a beautiful and amazing experience. The other actors and actresses are amazing and have welcomed me (the only non-actor) in the most warm and enveloping way.
My daughter; child #4 has made some very special friendships; particularly with some members of the cast as well as her amazing tutor; yes she still has school whilst filming.
The time away in the Caribbean was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t affected by chest pains and exhaustion. It was a well deserved break if I must say so myself and an opportunity that I believe God directed me and my special baby girl towards.
The fact that everything came together so perfectly was as though it was intentionally aligned and purposed by the creator. I am thankful, so thankful to God, my daughter the production team, her tutor, the actors and actresses, the professionals involved in my sons care and of course my amazing family and friends for their support and continual help. This just wouldn’t have happened without them all.
Admittedly, I did want my mum to go with child #4 because I really believe she deserves a break being super mum, so hopefully child #4 can keep progressing and perhaps land another role in another exotic location where parental responsibility isn’t an issue. 😊
If you have any questions about my daughters journey and how she got into acting then please feel free to contact me using any of the available networking platforms.