November 16, 2018

Introducing my Son and The Father Complex

I have been writing Keeping the Faith for almost a decade. During that time, I have shared my life, including and most importantly, I have written about being the mother of a wonderful human being. Over thousands of blogs and columns, I have never once mentioned my son’s name. He has approved every word I wrote about him, but there have been no photos or words to say who he was. I have always been careful to protect his privacy because writing about me has been my job and my choice.

My son was 13 when I started to write for the Jewish Journal. He was a big part of why I started this blog, and the reason I am fearless with my sharing. It has been a love letter to him, and a documentation of my life as a single mom. It is a window into my heart, soul, world view, fear, hope, joy, and sorrow. It is a never ending search for things to help me keep the faith. My son doesn’t read every post, but one day he will, and he will understand the profound love I have for him.

My son is remarkable. Even if he were not my son, I would still think he is remarkable. He is funny and smart, kind and fair. He believes in equality and justice. He does not judge anyone based on color, religion, or sexual orientation. In fact, he simply does not judge. He is generous of spirit and works hard to make the world better, even if it means helping one person at a time. I am proud of him. I am impressed by him. I have watched him grow up and find his way. He is amazing because of me and in spite of me. I love him with every fiber of my being.

I never thought I would share my son’s name or face here. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t. Until today. The funny thing is that many people who read my blog have seen my son, they just don’t know he is my son. He is an actor and has done a lot of commercials, guest stared on Nickelodeon, and been in countless student films. He is a talented actor, writer, and producer. He has perfect comedic timing and is a brilliant improv performer. He supports himself in his chosen profession and even though faced with rejection, has never given up on his dreams.

My son met his best friend in middle school, which means they have been best friends for as long as I have been writing this blog. They are like brothers. They both attended a performing arts middle school, then the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts together. They have been collaborating on projects since they met. The first time they performed together was when they sang Michael Jackson’s Black or White at an open house at middle school. They have been fiercely loyal to each other and always chased their dreams together.

Last summer they told me they were going to make a movie together. Not surprising, so I simply wished them well. Things have changed since they casually mentioned a movie in my kitchen. Since then they travelled across the country making their film. Today a trailer for the film The Father Complex was released. It features Tyler Cole and my son, Charlie Burg. The film is directed by Tyler and produced by Charlie. It is being released in partnership with Jaden Smith and his team at MSFTSrep. These boys have made a brilliant film and I’m proud of them.

I cried when I watched the trailer. I cried with pride at what they had accomplished. I also cried because I immediately understood that with this film, things would change. I will continue to write about my life, but my mentions of Charlie must be different now. With this film people will know I am his mother, so there is no more keeping it private. My son, Charlie Burg, will now be known on his own terms, by his own art, and his stories will be his to tell. I will watch his career with pride, finally sharing his accomplishments with all of you here.

It is my distinct honor to share the trailer for the film The Father Complex. It will be released later this year and I am excited for people to see it. It is a wonderful movie and I marvel at the talent of these two young men. It has been a blessing to have a front row seat to the process of making this film. To my beloved Charlie, this is the beginning and the end. The beginning of a wonderful new road for you to travel, and the end of your days being known as Snickerdoodle. Thank you for letting me share our lives here. I appreciate your endless kindness to me.

You never complained I shared too much. You never asked me not to post something. You stood up for me when trolls appeared. You held my hand when I shared personal and difficult things. You lifted my spirits through cancer. You promised me I would find love after my heart was broken. You never asked for anything when money was tight. You only ever asked me to spend money on myself when it wasn’t. You have been my child, friend, teacher, and inspiration. You are my heart. You are my sunshine. You are the reason I am keeping the faith.

 

High School the Second Time

High School is a tough time. Kids can be mean and it is stressful to be both a leader and a follower. When my son started high school I was a mess. I worried about him every day. My son attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. It is located on the campus of California State University, LA. That posed an entire new list of worries as he would be surrounded by college kids, but was my 14-year-old baby. On top of all that, it was miles from our home and he needed to carpool or take the subway. Oy vey with this school!

My son has wanted to be an actor since he was five years old. He never wavered. He went to a performing arts middle school, then LACHSA, and is now a working actor who has just produced and appeared in his first movie with his best friend since childhood. He is talented beyond measure and I am proud of him. He takes his job seriously and I support his pursuit of his chosen profession. It is not easy, but it is all he has ever done, or wanted, so it is what it is. My son looks back fondly on high school and I am blessed as his mom to say I do too.

LACHSA is a very special place. It fosters independence and individuality. It nurtures talent and builds confidence. They taught my son to keep his feet firmly on the ground while reaching for the stars. There are a lot of people there who deserve thanks for helping me raise my son. It takes a village and when you are a single parent, sending your child off for hours every day, the people at school become important on a lot of levels. My son has his favorite people at LACHSA, as do I. Mr. Chris Krambo made my second high school life a pleasure.

This remarkable man passed away this week and it is devastating to a lot of people. Chris was funny, smart, devoted, talented, and focused on his students in a way that made me grateful he was helping raise my son while he was at school. This is a man who worked hard, used his own money to make costumes, never complained about being tired, or unappreciated by kids who were too young and inexperienced to understand everything he did for them. He was a wonderful man and I will miss him, but always smile when I think of him, which I will often.

I am sad we had not spoken in so long. I am thankful however that he knew how important he was to me and that I loved him very much. Everyone has a story to tell and Chris had many. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. If you have a teacher in your life who is making your time in high school as a parent better, tell them thank you. If you love someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while, reach out and say hello. Rest in peace Chris. Know that you mattered to a lot of people. Thank you for always keeping the faith.