*She wrote this on May 13th, but needed a little time to process before sharing.
She remembers the day she got a voicemail. Her 4 year old daughter had gotten into a prestigious music school in new. york. city. She couldn’t believe her ears and she was over the moon with excitement for the potential her little wee daughter would grow into.
Her daughter chose the violin and they began their journey of practicing and practicing and more practicing. They spent hours together practicing the violin. She watched her daughter learn, grow and stretch. She couldn’t believe it when her tiny daughter would recite notes and rhythms and sight read and excel in her music.
Hard times came and she started to resent the violin’s presence in her life. Stress, anxiety and frustration often prevailed. Practicing hung over their heads like a black cloud on many days. She wondered how other families were making it happen, how other children were reacting to this demand of their youth. She dreaded lugging the instrument with them on trips and finding time to practice amidst the fun.
As the years went by and she knew middle school re-admission was in the future, she wondered if this school was really for her, for her daughter. She resolved that if her daughter didn’t do some self-stepping-up-to-the-plate where violin was concerned, she would not let her continue at the school no matter what.
She had a meeting a few weeks before the evaluation and heard the words: “what happens at the evaluation doesn’t really matter, we just need to know that you are both willing to commit to 2 hours of practicing every day. ”
She thought it over…the evaluation approached and she got the word from fellow parents while she was in Boston: Everybody passed.
She had a hard decision to make.
She was called in for a meeting with the principals. This is what she expected to hear: Your daughter made some improvements and she received a 3- As you know she needs a 3 to continue, but as we talked about a few weeks ago, if you are willing to step up your game, we would love to see your daughter stay here.
What she heard: Your daughter got a 3- We have seen many improvements but all in all she is about a year behind and we do not want her to return next year.
None of this was surprising, shocking, out there. She was prepared for this to be the end, but then suddenly it was the end.
She went home and held her baby, who WAS her oldest daughter in what seemed like 5 minutes ago. She held that baby and remembered holding her first daughter and she wept. She wept for the past 6 years, the sacrifices, the constant nagging, the scales, positions, etudes, hours and hours of practicing, the rough patch of skin between her chin and her neck that will likely scar, the joyless moments of music, the achievements that weren’t achievements to anyone-ANYONE. She wept for the time that seems to have been wasted on all of this, only to have it end in a brief conversation 6 years later. She wept in guilt over letting the school, the violin have power over too many days and too many hours.
She had her moment of letting it all out and letting it all go. Her baby knew. She let her hold her until she fell asleep without an ounce of fight (very uncharacteristic for her). She looked at her Mama’s reflection in the mirror until her eyes closed and she went to sleep for the first time in her entire life without a tear, because she knew her Mom needed to take a turn.
P.S. Since that day She and her daughter jumped through all sorts of hoops and had some more difficult times ahead coming at them from all sides really. The ending of the story is that her daughter will be getting a fine education starting in the fall, going to a school that was never on the radar until just now, and seems like it was the one all along.