Monday, March 25, 2013

Moments of Missing It


Ok, it's been a few days. 

This weekend was busy. Some good, some a little more stressful. I was going to write last night, about the good stuff, but then the stressful stuff got in the way.

Starting with the stressful...

We had a big scare with the fridge. Late Friday night the lights on the front panel went out and it stopped making ice. We couldn't adjust the temps. But everything still seemed cold, so we figured we'd keep an eye on it and make a service call on Monday. When we googled the issue, it seemed like when the panel went out you would have a bit of a grace period where the main function of the fridge - to keep food cold - was still working.

Then on Sunday I went to get some milk for Reagan...and it was frozen.

Hmmm...but if we were going to have a problem, too cold was ok, right?

Then we opened the freezer and saw some dripping.

To use a Madison-ism oh craps.

Did I mention that we're hosting 25 people for Easter dinner?  No?

Nothing says "Welcome to our home, sit, eat, and enjoy" like a house without refrigeration. Because knowing our luck, we would not get anything repaired this week. When our microwave broke it took three weeks to get it repaired.

This is the part where we started bashing the appliance company for their shoddy products. We replaced several appliances a few years ago and the microwave has been a problem child since the warranty expired. If the fridge had gone over to the dark side, we would have been REALLY upset.

Fortunately, just as we were starting to panic, plug in the old fridge in the basement, and try to save the food, we tried the old standard repair.

Turn it off and turn it back on.  Modified into "unplug it and plug it in to another outlet".

And that did it. Completely functional.  We tested the old outlet, and it seems like that was where the problem was.

Thank goodness.

Stressful situation over. I am strangely relaxed about having 25 people over. We'll see if that continues this week. Anyone want to place a bet?

The other part that contributed to the busy nature of the weekend was definitely different. I took a visit back to my "music teacher" persona.  Specifically, my overachiever music teacher persona.

From 2005-2010, I managed the OAKE National Children's Choir.  Talk about stressful. I listened to auditions, I juggled numbers and balance to find the right group of kids, I communicated with parents and conductors. I created seating charts and schedules and sent countless emails. I went to the site for five days and supervised 150 fourth and fifth graders.  I answered questions and located bathrooms and found tissues.  It was a massive volunteer job that I absolutely adored.  I got to work with incredible conductors and help 9 and 10 year olds have an incredible experience.

The very first year I was involved.
Backstage at Chicago Symphony Hall. The music geek in me was going nuts.

I also made sure some of "my" kids experienced this as well. Every year I prepared some fabulous singers, helped them create CDs, taught them the music, and helped them through the process.  This was a massive job too. I spent a huge amount of time getting the kids prepared for the experience.  I loved this part too.

I was very skeptical about posting this. Then I realized that all these kids are in college now.

I never really thought about how much I put into the choir until I stopped to write it down. I loved what I did, so it didn't overwhelm me. It didn't feel like work. It was an experience I was lucky to have. I think anyone who has found something they really love feels that way.

Anyway, it was also something I gave up once Madison was born. Although I went back to teaching, I couldn't spend hours upon hours of additional time.  I could barely balance my regular teaching and parenting. In fact, there were many moments when I felt like I wasn't even keeping those two balls in the air.  It was absolutely the right part of my life to step back from.

But I missed it.

I did find a solution and was able to keep a few kids active in the organization, but once Reagan was born, I even stepped back from that.

This weekend, the choir was in Hartford. Thirty minutes away. Not in Phoenix, not in Minneapolis. Hartford. I couldn't not go.  Plus, three of my former students were singing.  How could I miss an opportunity to hear them?

So on Friday night, I turned dinner, bath and bedtime over to Adam and had dinner with those students and their parents.  And on Saturday night I did it again to attend the concert.

It was interesting to put that music teacher persona back on. At dinner I was "Mrs. N." instead of Mommy. At the concert, I saw people I'd worked so closely with for years. As I watched the managers get the choirs organized, I remembered my experiences.

I was talking to a friend from the organization. She asked after the girls of course, if I was loving my time with them. She complimented the pictures from Reagan's birth announcement and our Christmas card. And of course, she asked if missed it.

I'd been asked the same question from my students' mom the night before. I was pretty confident in saying that most of the time, I didn't.  Once I was at the concert though...

I admitted that being at the concert gave me a little pang.  I loved teaching, but I really loved the work I did with this choir.

She said "Yes. But it'll be a pang for tonight. Tomorrow you'll wake up with your girls, and that will fade".

She said "You're going to have moments like tonight, where you miss it. But it'll always be there. Your kids are only one, two, three, four, now."

When I hear an amazing children's choir, when the excitement of the concert is palpable, when I'm talking to students who love music like I do, I get that bit of longing.

But I can't imagine squeezing that into my life right now.

Before anyone thinks I'm jumping on the working/not working/one of them is better/one of them is not thing, stop right now.  I'm not.  Not. At. All.  I know amazing moms who work, I know amazing moms who stay home. People find their balance and do whatever is best for themselves and their families. End of story.

I lie. It's not the end. I have an encounter that I really need to write about that touches on that topic, but that's not today. For today, end of story.

But we're talking hours upon hours upon hours of extra, unpaid, all consuming work. On top of a delicate balance that every parent searches for.  I know that there are people who can handle that. But I also know that I couldn't right now. 

The moments of longing let me know that I really loved what I did.  The moments where I don't even think about it let me know that I really love what I'm doing right now.

Both have their stressful moments. Both have moments where I just wanted a break. As much as I loved children's choir, there were moments when I was trying to coordinate how to get 150 children to have a tissue in their sleeve that they could pull out at the exact moment, or how to walk them through the streets of Chicago, when I wondered why I was voluntarily working sixteen hour days.  And there are moments now, when both girls are needy and melting down, when I just want to take a break for a while.

There are moments where I miss it.

There are moments when I don't give it a second thought.

And I'm ok with both.

If you've liked my Facebook page, you can see a YouTube video of this year's children's choir singing at a 5K supporting the community of Sandy Hook.  THOSE are the moments I miss.

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