Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Got Summer?

When you can't stop playing WordTwist with your friends when you should be going to bed, you know something has snapped deep inside. That something is called, "Summer Vacation Is Here."

Getting used to a new routine for us has been a slight adjustment. With summer comes no need for a real bedtime for Son of Mando who is often up later than I am as his brain attempts to untangle the universe for us. There is even a little wear and tear on Daughter who finally conked out at my suggestion last night a bit earlier to cope with the demands of her heavy social calendar. Daughter clearly has made the transition to losing the training wheels thanks to living with boys who have much greater speed without them. I was proud of Son of Mando's subtle strategy that provided the motivation. Try leaving her behind now and see what happens.

Work has not been quite the same with a few personal crises in the office and some big changes to our structure, so it adds to the deep need for a little peace. But it doesn't come. I'm rarely alone except for the brief workout and then only if I slip into iPod world. Playing instruments comes in fits and starts. And the burnout is palpable...I'm WordTwisting to a PBS broadcast of The Cleveland Orchestra while Son of Mando sorts what looks like a five-gallon bucket of change. Bruckner 5 is definintely not change-sorting music, but hey, it's our home team. We enjoy an interview with Franz Welser-Most, our young Music Director, and finally crash.

Striking a balance as a single full-time working mom is tricky. It's not just impossible to please everyone, it's more like, impossible to please anyone, or so it sometimes seems. You can't give your kids, your work, or your self the time all these deserve. In summer it feels even more pronounced-- there should be no schedules, no routines, right, so why does the time fly by so fast?

I wish I knew. As I read recently in a commencement speech, stillness is all too rare. I love to be still, to sit quietly and let thoughts and ideas surface. Lately I just can't seem to find that time, so I begin to bargain with myself that I'll just have to do with less sleep somehow when my kids are here and make up for it when they are not. And when they are not, I'll try to send them my love somehow and think up new ways to be together to capture that precious stillness once in a while.

The big attraction at my sister's during pondfest was this wonderful hammock she'd acquired. There's nothing like a little hammock time to adjust the perspective. Bluegrass is kind of like hammock time, it's got a different attitude. It's still hardworking but it's light on too much formality. You can wear it just about anywhere.

That's one thing I love about this band, Cherryholmes, one of the most impressive groups in bluegrass. These folks have not been doing this all that long, but you'd never know it from listening to or watching them. Here's a favorite instrumental from their sophomore release, Black and White. It's called Darkness on the Delta and I hope you'll give it a listen from the hammock or the porch or in the arms of your favorite sweetie as you soft shoe around the living room.

Darkness on the Delta


At June 12, 2008 9:28 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

I like hammocks but I don't have any trees left to string one between. I know you can get the standalone ones but they always seem to big and the you have to store that thing somewhere in the Winter. Oh well. My favorite hammock was in the Bahamas when I went a couple years ago. I honestly do not believe it gets any better in life than laying in a hammock between two palm trees and looking out at the ocean.

At June 13, 2008 10:30 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

I'm thinking of settling for a stand-along swing for two instead of a hammock, but I have to say, the hammock Sister of Mando has is not too big. At any given time, it held three kids; one kid, and one adult; one kid; one adult and one large dog; an adult, kid, and dog....the combinations go on.

That sounds pretty idyllic. However, I think I may be allergic to palm trees. I'd settle for a hammock between a couple of pines in Carolina, oceanfront or soundside. Hammock is an attitude.

I'm beginning to realize that I really need a vacation.


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