Being Canadian, the fine art of the apology is well-ingrained in me — even when I know there is nothing to apologize for. I have been told that blogging carries with it a responsibility to be dependable. That readers get disgruntled and rapidly become un-readers when you fail to blog on schedule. That you have, as a blogger, made an unbreakable pact with your readers that must not be violated or you will lose every last one of your loyal visitors.
Perhaps it is even true.
I prefer to believe that I have, as a mother, an unbreakable pact to my family that trumps the blog. What’s more, I believe that I have, as a woman, an unbreakable pact with myself that says I must take care of myself in body and mind that far, far outweighs any need to blog regularly, no matter how many reader pacts that breaks.
In short, if I don’t take care of myself first and foremost, nothing else will go smoothly, no matter how much I want it to.
Moms are bad at that whole ‘taking care of self first’ thing.
I know this because I am bad at taking care of myself first, as is every single mother I know.
Usually, I’m one of those Pinterest moms. You know the ones. I make rainbow cakes for my kid’s birthday. I crochet things. I knit things. I sew things. I bake my own bread.
You probably hate me.
Rest assured, I have just as normal a life as everyone else. I am not always what you think I am — that mom who tries to put Martha Stewart to shame. Lately, I’ve been like the mom above — so busy with the everyday stuff that I fall into bed at the end of the day too tired to even think about finding time to blog, nevermind bake from scratch or do anything but tread water with school projects and music lessons and everything else.
And so the silence in this space has proliferated.
Part of me still wants to apologize for it, but when I think of all that our little family has accomplished over the last 2 months, I know that giving up blogging for a while was the absolute right thing to do.
It has been a crazy riot of things going on as the end of the school year approaches. Some of it has been great fun. Some of it has been hugely stressful. It’s been a juggling act, balancing hard work, knowing when to hound the kids to do their best, try harder, work faster… and knowing when to say enough. Let’s just rest a while. Let’s just play together and read together and make things together.
This spring, we have had one child going through the hellish stress of 5 days of standardized testing. Another going through the hellish stress of a first-time band member not knowing what to expect as the band’s performance season arrived with what felt like half a hundred rehearsals on top of the regular rehearsals coupled with a performance here, a performance there, and a few unique and special events.
Like a young man diving into computer programming.
Or the kids’ band taking home the Gold at the Kiwanis Music Festival.
And serving a lobster dinner to 400 people in an unairconditioned arena and then playing for them afterwards, nevermind that all 70 kids in the band were at that point melting of the heat, smelling of lobster (and vaguely queasy because of it), and performing for a crowd of 400 plus all their parents (and more than vaguely queasy because of it).
They performed brilliantly at the Ottawa Music Association Awards at Greenfields’ Pub.
They cheered their friends and co-musicians in the Jazz band section of their band as they performed brilliantly at the Blackburn Hamlet Fun Fair.
They’ve worked hard at school, making dioramas and holding a medieval fair and going on field trips to Old Fort Henry (K was in heaven!). They’ve worked hard at home starting seeds in the greenhouse, planting their own garden beds, building models of the space station and a fighter jet, sewing dresses, and reading, of course. Always we read, everything and anything that catches our fancy.
This past Wednesday, an entire year’s worth of tremendous effort, 500 hours of practice, numerous rehearsals, and so many moments of doubt, fear, and despair of ever getting it right culminated in the most fabulous 2 hour concert at the Shenkman Arts Centre, with special guests Gabriel Parent (an extremely talented trumpet and flugelhorn player) and an elementary choir from another school nearby. And members of the school board. And school trustees. And local politicians. And the mayor of Ottawa. And 500 parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, all cheering them on.
They were fabulous.
And that’s not just the mother in me saying that. They truly are the most amazing young musicians with a rare and wonderful talent — the Kiwanis judge thinks so. The Ottawa Music Awards people think so. The judge at the Wonderland music festival thinks so.
Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself — Rogers filmed them and the entire concert will be broadcast on Sunday, June 23rd at 8 pm, then again on Monday, June 24th at 3. The choir sings first, then the Jazz band portion of the band, then the whole band performs after the intermission, so for those of you looking for my kids, they are 3rd clarinet and 2nd baryton (euphonium) when the whole band plays.
But now, with the kids off at an outdoor adventure camp to celebrate a year’s worth of tremendous effort and hard work with the band by going kayaking and canoeing and swimming and trying their hand at archery and rock climbing and playing capture the flag in the woods at night by flashlight…
I find myself alone in the house with The Man We Call Dad with time to spare for blogging.
What’s more, with school about to end for the year, I am starting to plan a plethora of activities and crafts and new adventures for the summer, and I can’t wait to blog about them.
I might not be willing to apologize for being absent, but I am definitely eager to be back in this space.
And if you have any wonderful ideas for things to do this summer, please share them — I have days and days and days of summer vacation to fill.
I can’t wait!