Tag Archives: children

Handel’s Messiah

26 Nov

Part of me doesn’t want to listen to Handel’s Messiah again for at least a year.

Another part of me wants to be back on stage again and again, singing it better each time, and reveling in the fun of the moment, the gorgeous soloists, the lovely accompanying symphony.

Part of me will not miss waking up singing a different chorus every day, wondering which one it will be today that follows me around incessantly.

Another part of me will miss having the background theme songs in my dreams.

I will miss having something to challenge me musically – it had been many, many years since I’d sung in a choir and what will fill that void? I will miss seeing new friends every week. I will miss the anticipation – several decades in the making – of singing this oratorio. For as long as I can remember – probably way back when my parents sang in it when I was a kid, Dad taking the bass solo and Mom the soprano – I have wanted to be a part of The Messiah.

In 10th grade, I missed out on singing the Hallelujah Chorus because I was ill. Had I known that it was a traditional part of the Christmas program at my school (it was my first year there) then I would have dragged myself out of bed and sung my heart out (probably infecting the entire soprano section in the process).

But I didn’t know. And I’ve been bummed ever since.

If I had a better voice – and a lot more ambition – I probably would have sung it long before now, as had many members of the chorus. But as it is, I second-guessed my presence in the rehearsal room every week! But I never wanted to quit. Not once.

As we performed the songs last night – to a sold-out crowd – I tried to enjoy the moment, to soak in the music, the ambiance. I was sitting right behind the bassoons with their fabulous, pure, deep notes, which was enough to practically make me swoon. And as for the soloists – well, I closed my eyes and imagined I was in Carnegie Hall, they were that good.

I wished I was sitting next to my husband so that I could hold his hand and share the moment, but he, a tenor, was much too far away in the 70-some member choir. It was fun singing with him, though. He sings a lot more than I do so I enjoyed the rare chance to at least be in the same group with him.

Handel’s Messiah actually features in our courtship. My parents had invited him over for dinner – it was the first time he met my dad, I think, though he’d met Mom before. He came into the house and we all sat down at the table and The Messiah was playing in the background. My dad turned to him and asked him if he know what the music was.

Colin smiled and replied, “Handel’s Messiah!”

Dad smiled in return and, with his smile, told him he had permission to court his daughter.

Colin swiped his forehead and said, “Phew! I’m just glad it was a well-known piece of music!”

Dad nodded. “You got lucky, young man.”

That all happened close to 20 years ago. Last night, sitting there beneath the bright lights, felt like the culmination of that moment.

At various times throughout the concert I squinted into the crowds and found our children, sitting with a dear friend of mine, and I couldn’t wait to hear what they thought of it all.

When it was all over – after the intermission, after the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra filled the auditorium with the marvelous strains of The Nutcracker Suite in the second half of the program and we’d sung Christmas carols (such a great entrance into the holiday season) and retrieved our coats and returned our music (a sad moment) our kids finally found us and hugged us and told us what they thought. Our youngest, at seven years old, said, “I loved it!” I asked her what bits she liked best. Without a pause she replied, “I don’t know. I slept through most of it.”

And that, my friends, is how our children keep us humble. Because Mom may be having an existential moment. But Lucy, lulled by the beauty of the music, just needed a nap.


I Dream of a World…

8 Jan

So apparently I can’t get away from list-making and reflecting on the new year. I think it has something to do with the fact that for me the new year is doubly new, as my birthday is January 3rd, so not only is the new calendar year beginning, but so is a new year of my life.

I turned 43 on Thursday. To me this feels old though I know that it is not. I am not one of those people who won’t tell their age. I’m okay with being 43. Though, to be sure, 43 looks a lot younger to me than it did 30 years ago. Back then it looked old. Now it just looks…a wee bit old.

I thought that I’d have accomplished more things by this time in my life. I suppose that all kids imagine that. I thought that I’d be a published author. Or maybe a famous opera singer. Or maybe a scrappy journalist, speaking Russian and helping to end the Cold War.

Somehow the Cold War ended without me. The music major I’d considered turned out to be unrealistic, and the journalism major was more work than I was willing to put into it. So I majored in English (the standby for all people who love to read), went to grad school (the standby for all people who can’t get a job with their major), got married, taught a little, had kids…all those good, lovely things that happen to people, whether they achieve their imagined selves or not.

And I love where I am in life. I mean, I’m far from perfect. Far from the “#1 Mom” that my daughter tells me I am. Far from the perfect housewife, the perfect friend, the perfect parishioner. No, I’m not famous. I’m not perfect in body or mind or will. But I’m content.

No, I have not sold my book – not that I’m quite ready to try…give me a few more months – and I maybe never will. Maybe all the months and years that I’ve spent on it will end up as nothing more than a file on my lap top.

That would really be a drag.

For now, I’ll keep plugging away at it. I’ll take each day as it comes and not regret a thing. (Well, I do regret some things I’ve said and done …but I won’t bother regretting the things I haven’t done.) I’ll keep on washing the dishes and folding the clothes.

And it will be good. Because this is where I am. And I like the path I’ve taken to get here.


There are, however, a few things that I think would make the world a perfect place. A few dreams I have.

Allow me to share them with you:

I dream of a world where my children can sit together in the back seat of the car without arguing.

I dream of a world where my children notice that the garbage can is full and, knowing that it’s their chore for that week, will take it out without waiting to be told.

I dream of a world where our two cats totally reject their bird-killing tendencies, but totally keep on exercising their mouse-killing tendencies.

I dream of a world where the snow falls only on the grass and trees and houses, but never on the roads.

I dream of a world where hair care products for a family of five cost less than a new lawn mower.

I dream of a world where I can watch the news in the morning and every story won’t be about violence, sex, or irritating politics.

I dream of a world where I can eat all the Christmas goodies I want and my body will shrink instead of expand.

I dream of a world where we can actually use my husband’s frequent flyer miles as opposed to letting them build up but not having the money, kid-sitters or time to go anywhere with them.

I dream of a world where tiny pieces of Lego stay where they belong, rather than wandering all over the house and multiplying in mysterious ways.

I dream of a world where socks match up after the laundry, clothes never shrink in the dryer, and the clothes automatically fold themselves rather than remain in the laundry basket, mocking me every time I walk past them on my way to do other, more pressing things. Oh, and speaking of pressing, I dream of a world where I never have to iron again. Especially things with pleats.

I dream of a world where, when my children brush their teeth, it doesn’t mean automatically having to wipe the sink out afterwards.

I dream of a world where I don’t complain about stuff and face everything with a smile.

I fear that’s about as likely to happen as #1.

Pseudonymns in Blogland

15 May

I have been thinking – for quite awhile – about giving my family pseudonyms in blogland. I read many bloggers who do this – and they all have funny/appropriate/applicable names they have chosen for their loved one. Names which give their family members anonymity, yet also describe their personalities to some degree – I assume!

I love this idea. I love that I then wouldn’t have to call my husband “him/he”, or call my son “my son” or confuse you readers when describing my two daughters.

I have finally arrived – due to a new acquisition in our household – upon my chosen names. It’s only taken me a year.

My husband: The Sailboat King. More about this in a moment.

My son: Jack Pumpkin Head. (He’s 12. Need I say more?) I hope that using this name isn’t an infringement on L. Frank Baum’s copywrite. I tried to check but had no luck on turning anything up.

My oldest daughter: Meep. This has been her nickname for years, so it seemed appropriate.

My youngest daughter: Boo. When I was young we had a cat named Boo. She was a bit feisty. We named (with permission from her soon-to-be owners) one of our current kittens “Calli Boo” and she is an explorer, a runner, a cutie. ‘Nuf said.
Now for the explanation about my husband’s moniker.

I came to my husband a couple weeks ago with a request. A kinda major request that involves free airmiles and being away from home. He, looking slightly relieved and slightly guilty at the same time, said, “I’m glad you asked because I want to ask you something too.”

He wanted permission – my blessing ? – to buy a small sailboat. A Laser, to be exact.

The upshot: I am going out – with the kids – to Washington again this summer, and he went out to Wisconsin – with two of the kids – and bought the boat.

Then, of course, he had to sail it. I forgot that risking his life would be involved in this agreement.

Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating. He can swim well and he wears his lifejacket. When he remembers.

The only picture I have of The Sailboat King and his trusty craft. I promise, there will be more to come in days ahead!

He took the boat out the first time with his mentor-in-sailing, his boss, sailing alongside in a sailboat of his own.

Everything went well.

He then took it out for the second time by himself. In 25 mph winds.

He’s a determined guy. Two friends, passing by on their way around the lake, stopped to watch as he struggled against God and the wind to get it in the water. They, the luckies, drove away. I, on the other hand, had to watch as he tacked across the bay, nearly spilling at least once, and decided that the errands I had meant to run while he sailed would have to wait while I put “911” into my speed dial on my cell phone.

The kids and I sat in the car and winced watched. Finally, after what felt like ages, but really was only about 15 minutes, he came in to shore, happy that he’d proven he could sail in such winds…and freely admitting that he would not likely ever do it again…at least, not on purpose.

I am pleased to say that nothing was wrecked or lost despite the spills the boat took while being launched and landed. I am displeased to say that I had forgotten to reinsert my memory card into my camera so I have no shots to prove any of this ever happened.

The next day we saw one of the friends who had stopped to marvel at The Sailboat King’s tenacity.

He was pleased that The King was still alive.

As am I.

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