|I love this picture so much. This IS Sam.|
One of the really cool things about being married is that you get to become a sort of appendage to all the cool things your spouse is, and does. I thought a lot about this while I accompanied Sam to a workshop he was doing in Toronto, because I really was just tagging along: since I didn't know anyone there, nor they me, I basically existed in terms of being "Sam's wife" (or possibly "that cute baby's mother"). There were lots of cool women there; smart, talented, well-known, each amazing in her own right—and it made me realize how lucky I am that I so enjoy being "Sam's wife."
I did wonder, briefly, as I watched those women, if I should be more anxious to be known and respected on my own merits? But it's not that I've given up on doing and being interesting things myself—it's just that I find so much personal fulfillment in watching Sam excel. I love to hear his students talk about how he has changed their lives. I love to see people laugh at his jokes or enjoy his conversation. It feels just as good as—better than—when I excel at something. If he's doing something I can help him with directly, like writing a talk, I love that; and if he's doing something I can help him with indirectly, like keeping the baby quiet so he can work, I love that; and if he's doing something I can only just watch and marvel at, like—well, like almost everything art-related—then I love that too.
People sometimes kind of snicker at the whole "behind every successful man is a good woman" thing, and I understand that it might be said condescendingly or dismissively, but to me, it's a welcome challenge. I love being a good team. I want to be the one who helps Sam succeed in what he does. And I like the idea that when he's doing cool things and being humble and happy while doing it, other people might not even know what's making him so happy, but I'll know: that it's ME. Or, you know, at least partly me. And even though I know I can't actually take that much credit for him because he'd be an amazing person anyway—as I always say, I did have the good sense to marry him (twice), so that's got to count for something!
All that to say, I always love being with Sam when he's working, and I had a great time on this quick trip to Toronto. My mom was awesome enough to watch the rest of our kids at home ("behind every successful man and the good woman behind him, is a helpful grandmother"), and Teddy, who came with us, was sleepy and sweet and snuggle-y and probably responsible for a Baby Boom in Ontario about nine months hence. There wasn't time for much sight-seeing, but what there was was lovely, and when Sam wasn't working we got to play with Teddy, and I thoroughly enjoyed just being in a new place around a bunch of interesting new people.
The other five presenters at the workshop were impressive people. Sam was practically in raptures as he described to me how famous and inspirational and genre-defining they all were: comic book artists and painters and animators he'd looked up to for years. I didn't know all of their work (though I knew some: the director of "Tarzan" and the director of "Brave" were both there), but I was impressed with how down-to-earth and humble they all were. We spent a lot of time talking and driving and eating together as a group, and everyone seemed just as friendly and interested in me as they were in anybody else. It was very affirming.
Keith, the photographer, took so many awesome pictures (there are more here). I think he made everything seem even better than reality. He caught all these personal, warm, surprising little glimpses of interactions between people. I loved seeing Sam, and the whole weekend really, through Keith's lens.
|Sam's class. Theo and I enjoyed it from the back row.|
|There was a big line of people wanting to talk to Sam, and get autographs, after his talk. I do still find that kind of funny. :)|
|He has lots of adoring fans.|
|Of course, Sam is used to that: he gets it from us too.|
|Sam and Theo were a veritable mutual admiration society!|
Well, to sum up: we had such a nice time. I loved seeing Sam in his element, and being a small part of it all!