Music, a thing that brings joy to all of us, young or old, no matter what emotion, there is a song or a melody that carries each one of us. Perhaps some of us sing along to Broadway musicals while others of us need the soothing tunes of heavy metal but whatever your tune, when you hear it, there is a comfort in its familiarity and in the space it takes up in each of us. As a mother, I often feel like the orchestrator of a large musical ensemble and while the sound I produce is enriching and beautiful it can also feel overwhelming.
Everything in life has a rhythm and a speed to it and sometimes parenting can feel like being a conductor. Some times being a mother can feel like holding up the entire show with the knowledge that if you stop or sit down or take a break to pee or even sneeze, the entire orchestra might fall apart and your beautiful life song might either come to a screeching halt or become a chaotic parody of the song you have been trying so hard to write. Now I know I get off topic quite often and I know metaphors can be a bit …long but I sometimes find these little comparisons help me to remember that life is just a song, it has high notes and low notes and sometimes there are awkward long pauses but the truth is that even when the chaos begins, we know it will end and we know our sweet song will eventually find its way back to us.
I have come to appreciate the silence in my own musical ensemble, which is something I never appreciated before. Silence used to be a void that needed to be filled and now the silence, the break in the music, is just as beautiful as the music itself and can sometimes feel just as rich and textured. Motherhood and parenting is so textured with layers upon layers of emotion, feelings, improv and troubleshooting. In some ways it feels like from the moment you become a mother the world begins throwing curveballs at you from 360 degrees and 24 hours a day. Perhaps not in a steady stream but there is no longer a time or a place where chaos cannot consume you at any moment.
Remember the days when laying poolside to work on your perfect tan was the days only work so that the outfit you have perfectly laid out in your room will look as good as it can on your sun kissed skin and the new heels (HA!) will allow you to dance the night away? Well now a days I am happy if one shoulder gets tan while I sit and wait for my girls to finish their swim lessons and my heels are like old friends which I say hello to when I uncover them from the back of the closet. These times from the past are usually uncovered in my mind when the right song comes on and I can close my eyes and for a moment be there again, with the sun and the pool and my 20 something soundtrack and within a split second I have tiny arms wrapped around my leg and the sweetest song starts playing in my ears “mommy, mommy, happy home, mommy”. To know I am exactly where I want to be, even when the chaos is overwhelming, is the greatest gift of all.
In high school I was asked what song best described my life and I responded “It’s my party and I will cry if I wan’t to” which seems so ultimately naive now that I look back on it. So I want to ask all of you today and now, what song best describes your life? Feel free to respond to me with answers or just keep them for yourself, but whatever it is, play it loud on repeat, put those heals on and start dancing.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.