A version of this article appeared in Volume 1, Number 1 of Family 1st, Greater Moncton’s Family Guide, of which Pickle Planet Moncton’s Jenna Morton is the Contributing Editor and Senior Writer. Family 1st is published four times a year, with issues in Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John.
“It’s kind of like when you have an inside joke with your friends,” Kelly Tynan explains. “You’ve been through something together and it’s made you closer.”
Kelly took the stage this past Christmas as part of the School of Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada’s production of A Christmas Carol – alongside her son, Rowan Babstock.
“Rowan has been at it twice as long as I have. He’s a veteran, I’m still a rookie,” jokes Kelly. “This year’s Christmas Carol was our fourth show together and was especially fun because we got to appear in the same scenes and interact. We ended up next to each other for the finale, which just made my heart happy.”
Rowan began attending the ballet’s Arts After School program several years ago. “I had been looking for an outlet for his creativity and dramatic tendencies, and a way to build his confidence in front of people,” says Kelly. “The program has been so great for him. They do acting, singing, dance, art, musical theatre, all that amazing, fun stuff. Because the kids get to take part in a big production twice a year, they get a glimpse of what it’s like getting ready for a show, rehearsing and getting costumes and props and sets ready.”
After a few shows backstage, enjoying the atmosphere and the welcoming nature of the group, Kelly stepped forward to participate.
“I knew they usually looked for community members to take part in the shows, so I thought … why not?,” explains Kelly. “I’m not a performer, but I figured I could do ensemble work, and Rowan thought it would be really fun to be onstage together.”
“He was, and still is, at an age where he actually likes doing stuff with his mom, so I thought I should take advantage before he realizes how uncool I really am,” she jokes.
“It’s given us a common experience,” Kelly comments, becoming more introspective. “When you’re in a show together, the cast really ends up bonding. You end up spending so much time together, and going through so many emotions – the frustrations and the exhilaration of it all – that you just become incredibly fond of all these weird, wonderful, dramatic people, big and small, that you share the stage with, not to mention the folks putting the show together. So for Rowan and I to go through that together, it’s an even deeper bond. We can talk about the same events or refer to the same people and we can have our own performances where we dramatically sing every part of the show together, and my husband just shakes his head at us and says ‘Oh, the two of you!’”
“So I hope Rowan feels that, even if maybe he can’t articulate it,” she continues. “There are other parents who appear in the shows and I know they feel the same. I’ve even overheard other kids in the cast asking their parents to be in the show next year!”
The Klein family in Salisbury also knows the bonds created when parents take part in an activity alongside their children. In 2015, Lance and Kelly Klein signed up for taekwondo alongside their two sons, 11-year-old Trey and seven-year-old Gavin.
“I was surprised that breaking boards is fun,” jokes Kelly, reflecting on what she’s learned taking part in the sport. She also notes the deeper lessons learned as a family.
“All four of us keep learning how much we accomplish by working hard.”
Lance, Kelly, Trey, and Gavin earned their green belts together and tested together this winter for their blue stripe.
For Kelly Klein, she hopes her children realize that this physical time spent together will encourage their children to lean on her and her husband for emotional support, too.
“We decided to go together because we, as parents, wanted to keep up with the kids and get fit,” says Kelly. “But I hope when the kids look back on this they remember that Mom and Dad were involved every step of the way and encouraged them 100 percent.”
Kelly Tynan loves the different perspective both she and her son gain from performing together.
“I think it’s good for Rowan to see me, as his mother, doing things like this, not just “mom-ing” or running errands or going to work, but having interests and pursuing an activity that makes me happy,” she says. “It’s wonderful to have spent all this time with him, but more than that, it’s given me a chance to see a side of him I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. I’ve been able to watch his confidence grow, to see him becoming more responsible and mature and patient, and to see how supportive and caring he can be: helping his friends remember their cues, giving them—and me!—compliments after a good scene, things like that.”