Fixing a Hole

One of my all time favorite Beatles songs is “Fixing a Hole” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I am especially fond of the lyric, “I’m taking the time for a number of things that weren’t important yesterday.”  It is such a hopeful and forward thinking line implying that there is always tomorrow, always another chance to grow and change.  It is high time I took some time for things that weren’t important yesterday.

Over the last three months, I’ve gone from a really fit and happy person, to a flabbier version of myself.  I’ve gained more than 10 pounds of the 40-odd I’d lost since moving here.  I’ve stopped exercising on a consistent basis, and that has made all the difference.  I’ve also started eating far too much and too many of the wrong foods.  I need to set a better example for my kids, but — more importantly — I need to go back to the level of care that I took of myself, for myself.  Somewhere in the mix of the last 3 months, I lost my healthy focus on me.  It’s not about narcissism or being selfish or self centered.  It’s about loving me first so that I have something to give others.  I need to return to that.

It couldn’t hurt my attitude any to do that.  Lately, I’ve been in a funk that I’ve tried like hell to drag myself out of.  I’ve been stressed out about all sorts of things going on, and annoyed as hell about every little thing.  Mind you, sometimes I’m totally justified in being annoyed — like when my son removes all of the cords plugged into the power strip in the office just so he can take the netbook into the living room, or when my adolescent daughter expects me to read her mind and know things she hasn’t told me.  Being a mom is stressful under the best of circumstances.  From my previous posts one can deduce that our situation is not always the best.  Sometimes I forget what a blessing my kids are and I get really pissed.  I know I’m neither the first nor the only mama to do that, but I hate it when I do.

Like many with addictive personalities, I sometimes lose sight of the joy in front of me to pursue the adventures I can only imagine.  In short, I forget to stop and smell the roses.  I miss my long runs and the precious solitude they provided.  I could turn my attention away from my daily stresses toward the beautiful scenery around me: fields of corn and soybeans, bright sunshine or light snow, wood smoke or dewy flowers.  I miss the sun on my back in good weather, and the snowflakes plastered to my eyebrows and eyelashes during the picturesque Oberlin winters.  I miss taking the spin classes my friend Stori leads.  No one kicks my ass like her!  I miss swimming laps, trying my best to get stronger and improve my technique.  I swam a mile once.  I didn’t even realize that was an accomplishment until I told folks I’d done it.  I need to get back to those simple pleasures in my life.

I miss the days when I could practice 5 or 6 hours a day.  I loved practicing that much and hearing the results.  I discovered so much about myself as a musician in those long practice sessions.  I was transported to another place.  It was heavenly.

Then again, there’s always this blog.  I love to write and this blog provided me with the opportunity to do that.  Mostly, I do it for me, but I do enjoy getting feedback from friends.  What I really love is knowing that I’ve written something that resonates with other folks.  I’ve worn many hats in my life: daughter, student, musician, performer, teacher, wife, lover, mother… whew!  And life’s not even close to being over — I hope.  There’s so much left I want to do, and I want to put it all in writing.

So here I am taking stock again.  Step 10.  Who am I?  What to I believe?  What kind of woman do I want to be?  Who do the people around me think I am?

“There are times when all the world’s asleep, the questions run so deep for such a simple man.  Won’t you please tell me what we’ve learned?  I know it sounds absurd.  Please, tell me who I am?

Supertramp, from the Logical Song.

Who do I want others to see?  The best Lisa I can be.  I am not, nor will I ever be, perfect.  I don’t want to be.  I want to love and be loved.  I want to be forgiven when I’m wrong.  I want to do for others and still do things for me.  I want to live.  I am alive and happy to be alive.

I want to smell every flower and enjoy every moment.  I’m taking the time for a number of things that weren’t important yesterday.  I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go.  That hole is getting smaller with every workout I get through, every note I play, and every word I type.

Getting so much better all the time 🙂

Why Mama Cries

Dear Baby Girl and Little Man,

Mama loves you so much.  I remember the two days I gave birth with great joy and happiness.  You two are my greatest works of art, my greatest moments of collaboration with God.  How else could I have created such amazing people!  What blessings you are!

Yes, I love you and I marvel at how you grow and change every day.  You are both so big now that it is almost impossible to imagine that you both began your lives inside my body.  It is so wonderful to see you spreading your wings and going out into the world, to see you develop your talents and interests.  I am so proud of both of you.

So, you may ask, why does Mama cry?

I cry because I will have no more babies.  That time is finished for me.  I loved having the two of you and I had hoped for more babies, but it was not to be.  As you grow and become your own people, I know that you will eventually leave our house to make your own way in the world.  As I was for you in the very beginning, I hope you will always know that I am your home, your comfort, and your refuge.  I am so glad that both of you still love to cuddle up on the sofa with me, and I hope you will for a long time to come.

I cry because you are going through challenges in life and I can’t take away the pain you feel.  Every tear you cry in anguish rips my heart out.  I want to stop whatever it is that’s hurting you, and I know that I can’t.  I’m powerless to help you with so many things, things you must go through to become strong adults.  I want to tell you that things will not always be this way and that you are tough and will survive.  I can see in your eyes the disbelief and skepticism.  Trust me, my loves, I have been where you are and I have cried those same tears of pain and anguish.  Life changes, and with those changes come new challenges that will make these seem small in comparison.  I hope that you know, deep in your hearts, that I will love you and be here for you no matter what may come — no matter what mistakes you make, or failures you face.  Your friends may come and go, but Mama will never leave you.  Mama never, ever let you fall.

I cry because I’m proud of you.  I cry because you are both so beautiful, inside and out.  I cry when you achieve things you’ve worked hard for.  I cry for you, my Little Man, because I was told by doctors and specialists that you would never do so many things.  I never believed it.  They did not know you like I do.  I know the secret hearts of both of my children.  I know your bright lights and darkest corners.  I know your fears and your dreams.  I know you may feel like you will crumble under the weight of the world, but I know you are fighters — and champions!  Every day you step out into the world and give your best effort, you win.  The only way to lose is not to play.

I cry because I miss the little things you used to do.  I cry because I know the things you do now will pass.  I cry because sometimes I am overwhelmed by the beauty of what you are and the promise of what you’ll become.  I cry tears of joy and tears of pain, tears of sacrifice and tears of selfless giving, tears of understanding and tears of frustration — and I wouldn’t trade a tear for a life without you both.  No matter what challenges you’ve brought to my life, I cannot imagine life without you.  The two of you made your Daddy and me a family, and you made our house a home.  I would not be the woman I am today if I weren’t your Mama.

Ever since you first spoke that simple word, Baby Girl, Mama has been the most beautiful word in the world to me.  It is the sweetest music to my ears.  Being your Mama is the one thing in the world I’m most proud of.  I can fail at everything else, but I will have lived a meaningful life if I succeed at loving you and raising you the best way I can.  I have no greater gift or more important job.  Everything else is a bonus.

If you see me cry again, don’t ask why.  Just know that I love you more than life itself, and that I look forward to crying at your graduations, weddings, etc. — and I look forward to the day you have kids of your own and can truly understand why I cry.  Then we can cry together because we share the secret joys and sorrows of parenthood.  I can’t wait for that day, but don’t hurry.  There’s plenty of time for that.

My babies, I love you so much.  You are worth every tear.

All my love,

Mama

Virgin Voyage!

Good evening!  This is my first attempt at blogging.  I’m not sure anyone will actually want to read what I write, but I wanted a place to put the detritus in my head — somewhere other than my trusty Facebook page.

I have been an Ohioan for 3 1/2 years now.  I’m slowly getting used to it, though I doubt that I will ever get over leaving the east coast.  I miss NYC terribly, but I know that coming to Ohio was the best move for my family.  My career is slowly making its way off the ground.  I’m teaching a lot and playing more and more the longer I’m here and the more folks I get to meet.  I will say this: folks in the music business here are really friendly and welcoming, which is not the experience I always had in New York.  The business in NYC is so tight and competitive.  Here, there is less to do and fewer opportunities for work, but folks are still always happy to see a new face.

Last night, I got to play a concert with Akron Symphony.  I had a lovely stand partner and the conductor was pretty good too.  It was a lovely experience (except for the late night drives back home to Oberlin from Akron!).  I hope that things will continue to pick up and that I can make more of a career/life for myself here.

At the beginning of our concert, we played Barber’s Adagio (commonly known as Adagio for Strings).  That piece never fails to move me.  There is a tremendous sense of longing, loneliness, pain, tenderness…  I understand it far better at (nearly) 44 than I did when I first heard it as a teenager.  Several of the pieces I’ve loved all my life hold an even more special meaning for me now that I’m older — and hopefully wiser!  Music has always been my outlet, my other language.  Music expressed for me the things I could not say and the pain I couldn’t share.  Music was my refuge and my strength.  It is still, but the stakes are somewhat higher now.

Today, in the car, I heard the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  The words moved me to tears right then and there, even though I’ve played the piece hundreds of times!  My German is non-existent, but I know that Schiller wrote some of the most wonderful imagery of brotherhood and divine love — “this kiss is for all the world”.  Maybe it’s hormones, or lack of sleep this week (“it must be the heat, or some rare disease — la la la — or too much to eat, or maybe it’s fleas!”), but I find that I am susceptible to crying at the beauty of everything around me, from birds in flight overhead, to the sight of my children’s beautiful faces.  I’m learning to be thankful for everything around me and to enjoy each moment.  I thank God that I learned to do that now, rather than at the end of my life when it is nearly too late.

There’s hope for this sentimental old cynic yet, I think.  I hope so anyway…

That’s enough for a first entry, I think.  I hope to write more every day, but I make no promises.  There’s so much to write about: food, music, marriage, motherhood, running, aging, friendship, addiction, fear, loss…  The list is so long!  With all that to choose from, I hope I can write things that are interesting, entertaining, funny, tragic, and generally good to read.  I hope I can make someone smile, or help someone in need.  I just want to write.  I’ve always just wanted to write.

Let the games begin!