Monday, September 26, 2011

Cymbals (or How a Series of Events Made My Daughter Debutante for a Day)

"Lisa, how is your sense of rhythm?" While it sounds strange, those who know St. Helena School will understand that it is no surprise to hear this question walking up the stairs on the Thursday before our parish's big fall festival. Many things come together at the last moment. The music teacher went on to explain that the St. Helena casual marching band was in need of a cymbal player in two days to march in the big parade. Being the pushy mom I am, I volunteered my clarinet playing daughter as the hero who would come to the rescue. Being the self conscious 5th grader she is, she started quietly protesting immediately in the form of a slightly whiney, "I don't know...." with eyebrows raised. The effect was a sense that perhaps this was not a wise decision; perhaps that by carrying out this plan, I was tinkering with the balance of the universe. I wasn't buying - she was going to play in that casual marching band.

For the entire next two days, I wheedled, lectured and asserted my role as parent. She WOULD help out the casual marching band, she WOULD play the cymbals, and she WOULD have fun! After all, the entire event was loud and crazy and she got to CRASH the cymbals together!

The morning of the parade arrived and she put her foot down. It was HER life! I could NOT make her do it! She would NOT do it! I was proud that she was willing to take a chance and question authority, like all good Catholic youth need to do. Through my pride I announced that, yes, she would do it, because I was the lady with the ride tickets, the cash, and the transportation to the festival.

It was nippy and she needed to keep her hands warm to play the cymbals, so I instructed her to find a pair of gloves. With tears in her eyes and a crack in her voice, she chose the cheap white stretchy gloves from Walgreen's. If she was going to have to march to her doom crashing the cymbals together, at least she could do it in comfort and elegance.

The usual ordered chaos awaited us at the staging area for the parade. We dropped off my youngest, who was marching with the Brownies at the front of the parade, and headed for the spot where the St. Helena casual marching band was to meet, near the middle of the line. Dragging her feet, whimpering in agony, complaining about the weather, her shoes, her overbearing mother, her life, my reluctant cymbalist followed me. As we came closer to the group, she began to accept her fate, to buck up to the situation, to face her destiny with the courage that is a true Gonzalez. Yes, I thought, this will work out fine. She will be just fine. This was another victory for parents everywhere. We were only a few feet away and it was almost over.

My resolve began to feel justified with each step and then: "Rocky! You are going the wrong way – the fifth grade is meeting down there. Aren't you lucky?! You get to ride in a LIMO!" Bless her heart; she is one of the nicest women I know. I imagined my fist crashing into her nose, and the emanating sound was a musical combination of crunching bone, popping cartilage, and the crash of the cymbals.

"Rocky's in the casual marching band!" I smiled, grabbed my kid's sleeve and hurried toward the tuba. "She won't be riding in the limo!" with a wave and a smile I tried to close this deal before her almost 11 year old brain could even start to protest. I was too late. Seconds later, in searching for the cymbals, the casual band leader announced that that the cymbals never made it to the parade as they were forgotten in the music room. It was over. I thought I was advancing to sweet victory. Fate's cruel voice laughingly whispered that I was actually casually marching, sans cymbals, to bitter defeat. With a squeal and a hop, my 5th grader bolted down the line toward her class, toward her limo, toward her own victory, on this fine Autumn Daze morning.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

With the fall air....

....comes the desire to hook. For the past few weeks, I have been cranking out fingerless mitts to contribute to our parish festival, Autumn Daze. Simultaneously, there has been the usual back to school hubub, continued career transition (i.e. job search), freelance reporting, and camping camping camping!

Here in Minnesota, we jokingly say that "we only have two seasons," and every year I am reminded of that. One day it is 80 degrees, sunny, with the smell of dried grass lingering in the air and within 24 hour, grey slick skies and cold rain that transforms into snow once the sun goes down. Right now we are treasuring the fall heat during the day and complimentary cool nights - perfect for active days and relaxed yarnie nights!

Fingerless gloves:

Camping camping camping:

Both peaceful, both realxing, both a necessary part of autumn in Minnesota!