It is Spring Break. Because I teach in so many places, and am not myself a student, this milestone has rarely been meaningful to me - so what if six of my kids are out of school in a given week? I still have to teach the rest.
But this week is Zoe’s Spring Break, and last week was one of the hardest I’ve had so far this season, and MERELY not having to drag a grumpy girl out of bed at seven each morning feels like a vacation. Added to that, I’ve canceled all of my private students, even those who DON’T have break this week, and added to THAT, I have a fun concert to play in which I am not the boss of anything, and you can see why I am practically giddy with the freedom of it all.
I have always found myself to be two different people - one socially, and one professionally, with an oboe in my hand. I am naturally an introvert and draw all of my energy from being at home and being alone. But I act the extrovert very well. Performing is my favorite thing to do, and that category absolutely includes teaching, public speaking, and running meetings in addition to playing the oboe. The harder the music the better I like it, and the more I am in the spotlight the brighter I shine. But this comes at an energy cost.
Last week we had a marvelous concert in South Bend - Mahler 4 and the Poulenc Gloria - and I enjoyed every minute of the cycle, because the music was so beautiful and so difficult. It took a lot of concentration to be focused and play well throughout the evening rehearsals and the Saturday concert. During the week we also had several quintet performances in the schools. We had a negotiating committee meeting, and an orchestra meeting that I had to run. We had a Musicians for Michiana concert on Sunday, full of intense and difficult music, which required extra daily rehearsals and nightly planning, scheduling, and communicating, and lots of location and equipment logistics. And I loved the entire thing - but my family made it through only because my husband was very understanding. I barely saw my house for five days except to collapse exhausted into bed each night. Barely saw my daughter except to wrangle her out of bed and onto the bus. Had clean black socks only because Steve did some pity laundry for me on Saturday. I thrive on the work, yes, but I require a balance. By Sunday evening I had nothing left. Monday I dragged myself through a day of college teaching, and Tuesday was the most blissful day off I can ever remember having.
This afternoon I am sitting in a coffee house waiting for my Fort Wayne Philharmonic rehearsal to begin. Steve and Zoe are on their way to Tennessee to enjoy Spring Break with family, and I am overjoyed at the prospect of a week of NOT being on the spot, NOT being in charge, and NOT EVEN being Mommy. Playing great music - Barber’s First Symphony - with a good orchestra but only as a sub. On English horn. With no speeches, no meetings, nothing I have to be responsible for except myself. I wouldn’t prefer it all the time, but this gig is precisely what I need this week.
Thank you, World, for the gift of Spring Break!