At Christmas, I was talking with my mom and with a long-time family friend about the difficulties of juggling work and the baby, and she commented that they had been so lucky in their day to have husbands who could support them staying home with their little babies. And I think I was lucky to have my mom at home with me, yes, but that’s not a way that will work for us.
We took Zoe to a young artist competition a little while back. Steve was running the competition and I was one of the judges. We heard some talented young people, and Zoe cruised around with Steve moving candidates from room to room, then played with me on our lunch break and crawled around on the floor showing off her skills, and then slept in Steve’s arms throughout the final round. Everyone commented on what a good baby she was, and what a trouper, and while I know that she is unusually sweet-natured and cheerful, I also know that with our current lifestyles any baby would need to be this easy. Neither of us is willing to give up our music careers, and in 2010 that includes showing up for a high school competition to judge and hopefully also to educate the new generation of classical musicians.
She’s been backstage with us at numerous concerts and rehearsals over the past 7 months, and in the audience with us as well. She’s met an awful lot of musicians, and students, and listeners and board members and conductors, and enchanted them all. I know parents who keep their babies home all the time, whether out of fear of germs or from simple expedience, and I must say it would have been a lot easier that morning to leave her home with a sitter instead of schlepping her with a car seat and diaper bag and the clothes I’d jammed her into on the way out the door after waking her from a sound sleep. It would have been easier to not have to feed a baby as well as myself at lunch time, and would have been easier to have the kind of job in which I didn’t feel obligated to get another hour or two of practicing in after coming home from the long day out. But it’s such a delight to have her with me!
And I want her to see that her daddy and I are doing what we love to do. That music is a hard job, and one which requires daily discipline and long days of driving and teaching and listening and coaching, but also brings joy to us and to others. That our lives are full and happy, and that the happiness she brings to us is an addition to the joy we already had had in our everyday tasks. It is hard to make a living as a musician – I don’t necessarily want that life for her, but I do want her to see that she can make choices based on what she wants, and can make a living at it. It’s possible, and worthwhile. And I am proud of what we are doing and what she is seeing.