Real life reminders from a 13-year old girl

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.

Traveling for work when I should be at home!

Bear with AirplaneI had a 5 hour Chevrolet meeting in Detroit, which requires a 2-night stay to attend. I worried about being gone for a few days and before I left, I tried to think of reasons to cancel. My girls have auditions for a new play and my son has his first tennis match of the season. There is voice and piano and bouldering and play practice…getting everyone where they need to be requires my logistical know-how. Right?

I thought that leaving the kids would be easier now that they’re older; but in fact, it’s much harder. When they were small, they couldn’t tell me that my being gone bothered or inconvenienced them. They didn’t have any conception of time, so it might seem like I was only gone for a little while. And, a silly gift from the shop at the airport made my return a celebration. Now, they clearly communicate what they really think. If I am missing something important to them, they tell me. If I am causing scheduling issues or not signing a test, they let me know. Something noteworthy is much more likely to happen in a 13 year old’s world than a 3 year old’s world. They tell me when they had a bad day. So, it’s harder now.

But, I managed to get myself on the plane to Detroit on Monday. Although the weather here is horrible, it has been a worthwhile trip. How do people function when the temperature is below zero? Fortunately for me, our hotel and meeting room are connected by an indoor sidewalk, so I only have to venture out getting to and from the airport. The floor to ceiling windows in my room and in the gym don’t seem very practical as the cold comes pouring through.

The meeting itself was great! Kevin Harvick was here, and everyone was excited to meet him. I had no clue who he was, but he was a really nice guy. I need to get up-to-speed on my NASCAR! 🙂 The content of the meeting made me feel great about 2015 for Chevy. We got a sneak preview of all the advertising for Chevy cars & trucks. There is a lot to be fired up about!

Then, I call home and there are forms due tomorrow and one of the kids had a bad day. Another had a great day. I wish I could be in two places at the same time, but I haven’t figured that out yet…