The travelers will be home today, and the two bachelorettes will be back to everyday life in mere hours. A few things picked up and put away, a spit and a polish, and we will be done and ready for the weary tourists to drop their bags in the entryway. It’s been a relaxing, fun weekend, and though I enjoyed every moment of it, I look forward to hearing tales from the road and getting back to the whirlwind that is my full life.
The older girls are coming home from the last school trip they will take before college. I wonder if they appreciated it in that light? There will be other outings, with family and friends, colleagues, even jaunts for university groups if they are lucky, but this is the last band trip with friends that will so soon be scattered to the winds. I hope it has been a fun, eventful journey that they will look back upon fondly.
A little deviation from the normal routine lets us all look at things from a different perspective and perhaps appreciate it all a bit more. Number three and I got a sneak-peek at what life might be like in a few years, and numbers one and two got special time to spend with both their dad and high school friends – things that will be in a little shorter supply soon.
More lasts; then on to another round of firsts.
My brain is going, and I hope it has a very nice trip. I told myself I didn’t have rehearsal last night, and I totally believed myself. There was just one problem with that……. I was wrong.
It wasn’t my swiss-cheese memory this time. I remembered it was Wednesday, and I knew I usually had rehearsal, but there is one Wednesday a month that the group doesn’t meet and I had it in my head that this was the one. Ummm, nope. That would be next week, of course, so I miss two weeks of playing in one of my very favorite groups. Punishment enough, I suppose, though my trumpet section buddies probably won’t let me forget it for a while.
Along with a busy and varied schedule comes the opportunity to miss things in proportionate frequency. Most of the time I am on task. When I am not, I need to learn to roll with the punches, certainly taking responsibility for missed events or deadlines, but not beating myself up for them. Lessons learned and all that.
It didn’t help that my section-mates were waving from the dock as my brain pulled away. At least I could provide some amusement from afar as they sent messages to me and even posted a picture of some of the music I was missing out on.
Gee, thanks, guys. I miss you too.
The drummer leaned over during rehearsal last night and said, “I’m a band director, and you know what I always asked my kids? ‘What’s the difference between a twelve year old trumpet player and an adult one?’ (Meaningful pause…) ‘Not a thing.’ (Ba-dump-ching!)”
One of the interesting side effects of my re-dedication to music has been not having to work to rediscover my younger self. Seems she was there all along, and as soon as I sit down in a section of brass players she grins slyly and pops out in most of her glory. I may be a hair less quick-witted and my mom persona sometimes sensors that brassy girl, but when the other guys in the section are telling jokes, making bad puns, and singing songs from “Blazing Saddles” (fake Teutonic accents and all) in between making great music, it’s like I never grew up.
It’s not just the group I played with last night, either. It seems as though every time I sit down in a row of brass players I morph into a wry jokester, goofing around and saying whatever comes to mind, usually sotto voce so the director won’t hear but my section mates will. Sometimes an opportunity arises to pop off to the whole group, but I think the other musicians just expect that from us; I’d hate to not meet their expectations, after all. The trick is to be able to have some fun with it and still hit every note just like you meant to.
Getting back to ensemble playing has been a little like meeting up with an old friend; no matter how many years it’s been since you’ve seen them, you pick up right where you left off and continue the conversation you were having, full of laughter and joy.
A man uses his snowblower on all the driveways and sidewalks on his street after the last big snowstorm. He was out there already, it needed to be done, he had the time. Only one neighbor said thanks afterward, probably not in an “if I thank him he will do it again” kind of way, but just because he was surprised and grateful. The neighbor may have been facing challenges that day and was unable to get out there and do it, or maybe he was just heading out to do it himself and noticed it done. Either way, he thanked the man and went on his way, but things like that have a way of being remembered. The simple appreciative word sticks in the man’s mind. When it snows again, he does his drive and the one belonging to the grateful neighbor. Only those two.
A friend posted yesterday about the “sucktacular” day they were having. I posted a hug back their way, just because it’s what I would have done had they been in the room with me. It took me nine keystrokes and a hit on the enter key to accomplish it, and late last night she wrote a in a note, “…it is usually the little things, when positive, that bring me such great joy, and become my shield against the negative little things. Gratefully those appeared today as well. A virtual hug from a friend. Supportive words from my fellow admins. and friends…”. I was completely surprised that my small and instinctive response made a difference, no matter how minor, to my friend.
A simple gesture costs nothing, and you never know how much it’s needed or how it will be received.
My kids may not always make the wisest decisions, but that’s usually from lack of experience or information. I trust them to at least make considered choices. My uncertainty is not about them, really – more about those that are around them. That’s more of a crap shoot, in my mind.
Who are your kid’s friends? Who do they look up to, outside the family? Who are they around all day, when you are not with them? Can you choose your child’s friends? Should you even try? It’s so hard to sit by and watch your children struggle along the rocky road of friendship. Kids can be mean and unthinking, and want to fit in so much they can shun one child for no reason except to get in with a group of others. The only thing I have found to do over the years is to give my daughters my ear and my shoulder, and perhaps a tiny bit of wisdom occasionally. I would so like to arrange things neatly for them, but the world is just not that way.
I have been relieved to see each of my kids eventually settle into wonderful groups of friends. There will always be those outside influences that may be different than I would want, but I have to let them make their own way and make their own choices, keeping all we have taught them in mind. Not everything has been easy, certainly, and there were many tears and broken hearts as they grew. My girls have had to find their way around what seemed to them like insurmountable roadblocks, but it has either made them stronger or taught them a lesson or two.
That leaves me with sturdy, wise children, and that’s all I could ask for.