My father really loves to tell this story. It used to make me feel silly, but I'm beyond embarrassment now. Why? Because I've realized: nothing has changed.
He finds this all very amusing and also telling: When I was a young kid learning the saxophone, starting from when I was ten years old, I was required to practice every night after dinner. It wasn't so easy to get me upstairs to my room to do so, he says. And I do remember. I recall him saying, "Just go upstairs and play for ten minutes. That's all you have to do." But I just didn't wanna. I would storm off from the table, stomp up the stairs, and slam the bedroom door. Begrudgingly take out the sax. (Problem was not so much about playing the sax as it was rebelling from being told what to do...) A few minutes later, the saxophone would start, he says. And it would continue... sometimes for two hours.
Downstairs, he'd chuckle to himself and enjoy the music, the squeaks, the squawks, and very rarely make further comment.
What has changed since then?
Day 29, and I'll say: Not so much. Only difference is that instead of stomping up stairs, now I'm running down those stairs to the practice room and can't wait to start. Like tonight. It began as a challenge, but ended joyfully.
Tonight was supposed to be a short session because I am exhausted, and also because I wanted to rest my hands after last night's concert at the Church of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth. We had a great night and overall, we're pleased. Doubly so because that big show is behind us, and we made it. (Thank you so much, you amazing friends, for coming. It really does mean so much!) So many terrific people came to the show, and that put us on a high. Naturally, that resulted in a direct trip around the corner from the church, to T Bones Roadhouse after the show, to enjoy a few brewskis with folks we hadn't seen in ages. Then, as we do, we continued celebrating back at the homestead, at the chimenea, then into the basement bar... my practice room. Steve's dad is in town from Ireland. And Steve sang a lot. That was awesome. I gave up at 3 am. They continued.
Let's just say that this morning was a little, well, ropey.
Best cure? How about this: drive to Provincetown with the inlaws and a cranky three year old, on an 85 degree day, taking scenic backroads in a car with no air conditioning. Also, make sure that you hit lots of traffic, just for good measure. If this doesn't kill you, no headache will.
I exaggerate (except the cranky three-year-old part. Oh she was REALLY cranky.) It was an absolutely enjoyable day but it was long. Home at 8 pm, just in time to have dinner and then at 9 pm, I hit the expected challenge: the mother in law and her very sensible and reasonable Irish attitude to life. As we finished cleaning up the kitchen, I said, "Well.. it's time for me to go practice for a few minutes." Her suggestion, and I could have predicted this word for word: "Or, you could just sit down, put your feet up, and have a relaxing evening for yourself."
There was no use explaining my 100 days. It wouldn't make sense to her ultra practical mind. I just said, "Well, I'll just go down there for ten minutes, that's all..." and then raced downstairs.
With last night's concert behind us, I was eager to revisit my sleek black and silver friend who'd been so kind the night before. That ol' flute, a great friend it has been (but only because I've decided to be a good friend to it). I turned my practice attention to tunes I have left dormant for a couple of weeks, and how fun it was to be with those old friends again, too!
It felt good. Real good. And most important was another realization: suddenly that elusive but so far evasive goal is feeling attainable. Not sure how far away or how long it will take, but it's clear that it's there, it's possible, it's reachable. And that is an amazing revelation.
An hour later, I had to tear myself away to come back upstairs. To write to you. How fabulous. But now, seriously, it's time to go to bed. Thank you!