This week is remarkable, both for what I am doing and what I’m not doing. My daughter was selected to sing with the National Honor Choir which is currently meeting in Salt Lake City. I am her chaperone, although people who know both of us might say it’s the other way around. It is unusual for me to be alone with any one of our children. One of the realities of having 3 kids less than 2 years apart is that they usually travel in a herd.
Here are some things that focusing in on her have reminded me…
1. When you’re passionate about doing something, it’s not work. She traveled across the country to be in a room with 150 complete strangers and rehearse the same 10 songs for an average of 9 hours per day for 4 days. Not all of the songs are in English, and there are no cell phones allowed in rehearsal. She couldn’t be happier.
2. Practice, drill and rehearse. If you want to be good at anything you have to practice, drill and rehearse. With flight delays and a missed connection, it took us over 14 hours to get here. We were exhausted, but she asked me to wake her up at 6 am as I was leaving for the gym so she could practice the songs on her own before the first rehearsal.
3. Meeting new people is fun. She wanted to get to the first rehearsal 30 minutes early to make friends with the girls seated on her row. I would have chosen to walk in seconds before the rehearsal started to avoid making small talk with total strangers. Now, on rehearsal day 2, she has gone out to dinner with altos from Long Island and Virginia, and I am in our room writing.
4. You don’t have to clean your plate. I thought her figure was a gift of youth and her father’s genes. But, she eats whatever she wants, but stops when she’s full. She left a half-order of french fries uneated, which is an idea completely foreign to me. She actually ate some and then left the rest.
5. Laugh at yourself. Salt Lake City has a wonderful, free public transit system in downtown. It goes in a straight line from point A to point B and back. After a successful trip riding it to the mall, we completely missed our stop and rode it to the end on the way back. I was frustrated and grumpy about it, but she just laughed. “It’s a grand adventure, Mom.” And, suddenly, it was.
6. Allow yourself to get messy. She is into clothes and her make-up is so perfect that it doesn’t look like she’s wearing any. But, today it was snowing and without hesitation or a coat, hat or gloves she ran outside. I put on my parka, hood, gloves and hand warmers and managed to stay warm and dry. She came back in soaking wet and giggling about being in the snow.
We are about halfway through our trip. She is missing 4 days of school, but I am getting a real education.