Thursday, May 21, 2009

Songs of change

I get the feeling that we are moving into a time of transition. And I don't mean to reference the world and society, which is arguably in its own transition between changing leaders and the changing face of our economy. No, I mean this quite selfishly. There is a lot of change on the horizon for me and my family.

To run through briefly:

- I am (hopefully - crossing fingers) starting nursing school in fall.
- Stephen and I will no longer be singing with the Seattle Bach Choir with no immediate plans for singing anywhere else.
- Stephen's mom (who is Catherine's day care provider) is losing her house and therefore her day care. She will still be watching her grandkids, but that will be (get ready for it...) at our house!
- Two very dear friends of ours, and part of Catherine's godfamily, will be moving overseas and they will be missed very much.

Alright, so the list doesn't look very long when I write it like that. But these are huge, life altering changes for us. Interwoven between these changes are doubts, unknowns, hope, excitement, sadness, and... emptiness.

The emptiness I mention here only refers to the change of us not singing any more. We decided to stop singing with this choir because of our changing priorities and the political garbage that has been happening within the choir. It has nothing to do with us not wanting to sing. Unfortunately singing for us this past year has meant a weekly 2 hour round trip to Seattle and the stress of dealing with ridiculous ... ugh... grrr... just plain stupidness. (for the lack of a better way to really explain it) It has been less joy and more stress, which is not what singing is meant to be.

It's the right decision, but it leaves me feeling very sad. Making this decision brought upon a lot of soul searching for me. I closely examined what singing means to me, and where my voice and music experience and capibilities could bring me. It led me to an unexpected path - realizing and accepting the limitations of my skill. I've always been insecure about my voice. My voice is much more of a supporting role, not a leading actress. And not even in a Judi_Dench kind of way. More like a person in the chorus in a musical. And in the back row at that. So this has always been at the back of my mind in the form of insecurity. It's different now - this is knowing my limitations.

"Come on Brie, don't say that! You're great! Believe in yourself!"

OK, I know, I know. But it's not like that. It was hard coming to this conclusion. I've fought for so long to give myself confidence. And I just couldn't understand that if God gave me this gift, what use is it if I'm not good enough to really use it? The answer that I was given for this very question is what gave me the acceptance I needed: just because you have a gift from God does not mean that you have to be the best in it, and just because you are not the best does not mean that it is not a gift from God.

So I will still sing. I will sing with Catherine and teach her to love music. I will sing in the shower. I will sing in the garden. I've been thinking about joining my church choir again, if my new schedule in fall allows. And I will sing karaoke, oh YES! I love my karaoke!!! But will I sing Mozart, Bach, Eben, Britten, Poulenc...? I don't know. Maybe again someday. But for now I will remember and cherish all of the incredible memories that we have with this choir and choirs that I've been with previously. I will enjoy our last concert this weekend. And we will move on.

Mother's day, part two

My mom and sis came up to visit last weekend, making it the second part of mother's day for me. On Saturday we went up to Seattle and walked around downtown. That night I had the performace with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra, so they got to come to that. And of course Stephen came up for that, as well as his dad and new girlfriend, Claire. After the performance we went to the Cheesecake Factory. We had a great time laughing and enjoying the best desserts on earth.
Sunday they got to spend some more time with Catherine, and we went to the ZOO!! Lots of fun and lots of pictures!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's day, part one

Pictures from the first part of my mother's day, which was Sunday morning. We had breakfast at Jen's church with some family, and then got to play in the park for a little bit. My mother's day present from Stephen? Besides being all around supportive and extra attentive that day? A couple of new garden tools, which I had asked for since mine broke not just 2 days before, and a stack of clear plastic organizing bins. OK, so I like to organize, but I didn't know what he was getting at. Then he explained that the bins come with a promise - for him to organize all of his computer/electronic components and parts. YEA!!!!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

mother's day

I've been struggling with mother's day this year. I'm down that I've had to work on Mother's day weekend for the last 3 years. And not just a little work shift that makes doing anything else inconvenient. More like working 20 hours in 2 days and work swallowing up my whole weekend. If you've heard me complain about this a million times already I sincerely apologize and thank you for letting me vent. But I'm sorry, it sucks.

A month ago I told Stephen that I wanted to forget that mother's day existed this weekend and I announced that in our household mother's day would officially be the following weekend. As the day got closer, I changed my mind. To be a mother and to have to miss out on the one special day a year that is all about the appreciation that we secretly (or not so secretly) crave, it just bummed me out. Even if I can't fully participate, I want to join in just a little bit.

So we'll go to breakfast at Jen's church so I can be with her (whom I've shared every motherhood experience since we were both pregnant together) and my godmother/mother-in-law, Theresa. At least for a short time. And more importantly, I'm making every minute spent with Catherine count, before I have to leave. And then my mom and sister are coming up next weekend to spend some special time. So it will be nice. It will work out.

Then there's the gifts - the tokens of the above-mentioned appreciation. I've struggled with this as well, and I'm just now realizing why. I guess I haven't quite figured out yet what to expect as a mother myself. Ever since I've became a mom there is only one thing to truly expect for this day: work. But what do I want for gifts, what do I expect from those around me whom I am craving this appreciation from?

So I thought about it - what have I done for my mom for 30 years? There's been the handmade cards, the flowers, the breakfast in bed. A gift every once in a while - usually handmade. But one thing was always the same - spending time with mom. And maybe an especially tight hug and a special kiss.

So is that my problem? Because I can't have the time that I want with my family, I'm looking for something else? I kept giving Stephen hints about things that I wanted. Because it's not about gifts. It's about time together. It's about saying "thank you" and "I love you". And maybe a handmade card or some other little, hearfelt token to specially say these things.

It's times like this that I still feel like a new mom. I'm still figuring these things out. I usually have a pretty good idea of what to do for my mom. But for me? What do I want? I'll just have to take a cue from the pros. ;)