nursing log

Yesterday we went to a beautiful art showing at Beaumont studios. Great Canadiana. I wanted to take half of it home. The artist himself is a hip friendly whipper-wit with great specs and good shoes. He’s got a teenaged son in a cool hot band. He said something along the lines of: there is no such thing as a God given gift, it’s all bloody hard work. On the way home we listened to the boy’s band. Fantastic. The next day both of our kids were on their instruments for hours and hours, practicing. Composing! Ah. So, knowing someone close to their age who is a rising success is inspiring. Good. Much more effective than me nagging, “Have you worked on your piano today?”.

This morning Nora was up two hours before everyone else so she could finish her homework and be free to hike and play games all day.

What?! Who taught her that?! I couldn’t believe it. It’s one of those moments as a parent where I take a deep breath and think, “She’s going to survive in this world.”

She’s always been the youngest in her class and now she’s in a split and she’s feeling it. Her best friend is the top student in class and the other child in our family is also very sharp and has great grades. We’ve had a lot of long talks about anxiety over marks, expectations, how to study, how to be okay with failing and starting again. The other day she came home with a 28% on a math quiz and she was literally trembling, worried what I would say. My response was to make a big raspberry and laugh, “Whew, that’s a stinker! Wheweee! Shake that one off, baby.” Incredulous she asked, “You’re not mad?” I shook my head, “Are you kidding me? I saw you study. I know you worked hard. That’s all that I care. Sometimes we have stinkers. Believe me. I’ve had plenty of stinkers in my life.” “You have? When?” “Oh, just google me and read my reviews. Some praise. Plenty of stinkers. The point is to keep trying as best as you can. That’s all you can do.”

My operetta, Off Leash, is in rehearsals right now. I haven’t been around. Partly because they don’t need me and I want the cast to focus on Sarah and for them to create without the pressure of knowing the originator is in the room. But I think part of it is I’m nervous and I don’t want them to feel that from me. This is three years of work and very intricate work. I am in a new medium, working with a new composer, created a particular structure new to my process. I have been very particular with this operetta, every word has been carefully turned over. I paid special attention to plot shape, knowing that can be my “math”. I think what we’ve created is timely, beautiful, funny, smart and well formed. But there are only eight shows and it’s a small theatre company with a next to nothing promo budget. I will blink and it will be gone. It’s all a little heartbreaking.

We go for a walk today with the kids through the forest. It’s a wonderful day. They take turns walking the dog. One child pokes through leaves with a walking stick, the other walks with a stick on their head, keeping balance. Fellow wraps his big arm around me and I am so in love with all three of them right now. He stops us and says, “Look at that nursing log, all the trees growing out of her?” Like long legged spider babies.

That grandmother tree fell. It rotted away. But out of it came so much new life. Maybe my life’s efforts will be like that. Maybe I’ll just be fodder for saplings to take nourishment from? I think that’s still…noble. Nora skips along under the dappled sun with her long long legs.Unknown-2

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