Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking forward with nostalgia

I should be embarrassed by how silly, tickled and excited I was before Earbaby's first school music concert. I never played an instrument in school, but when EB took up trumpet in October, this opened up a new chapter, but an old one too.

EB took piano from the time she was six years old until this fall when she decided she didn't want to anymore. This broke my heart a little bit, she had been my inspiration to take up piano. I was always so proud and impressed with her prowess. She even stopped taking voice, which she also loved and was good at.

EB had wanted to join chorus in school, but would have had to give up her last remaining study periods. So she decided to stick with the trumpet (after first bemoaning being the only girl when class started). And the trumpet isn't easy. But as she did with piano, she practiced for the most part without being reminded. She committed to the instrument, and in a matter of weeks, started to sound less like a goose and more like music. It wasn't great, but her songs became recognizable.

The winter concert was the first one at this school. And even though she's in seventh grade instead of high school, it made me think back on my days in high school chorus and choir. It was fun looking forward and thinking back.

Her teacher is wonderful. He's young, enthusiastic and inspiring. He introduced the beginner band, but made no excuses or explanations. And he treated every band, from beginner, to drumline, to the jazz combo, as if it were the greatest show on earth. And EB, while nervous about performing, was also excited.

When you watch your child grow, you also relive your own childhood. The first falls off the bike harken us back to when we first learned how to ride. Learning double dutch, or hopscotch, or hula hoop are rites of passage that are common ground. For those of us who grew up before internet, videos, dvds, and all modern electronic entertainment, there are fewer commonalities for us to find.

EB's childhood is so different. She's had dance classes since she was three. She also has had gymnastics, piano, voice, baton twirling, ice skating lessons, golf lessons, and T-ball. These are all great opportunities that weren't available when I was younger. That's not a complaint, you can't miss what you don't know. And I was able to share part of my childhood when I taught her double dutch, hopscotch and how to ride a bike. Those are my nostalgia moments.

EB called me one day and asked me to pick her up at school later so she could try out for the dance team at school. We're still waiting to see if she made it. She also wants to try out for a school musical. Those things all send me back to a fun time in my life, although, as I said, my experiences all came in high school instead of middle school.

I'm looking forward to EB's next few years. I don't see myself in her, and I'm not living vicariously through her (I don't think). But it's fun seeing those common experiences come around again. And it's fun seeing them through the eyes of a parent.

I admit it, I love watching EB's life. She's got a lot going for her and so many opportunities yet to come. And for me, I've managed to defy the time/space continuum. I can now look forward and backward at the same time.

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