When the music is over..

My son dropped out of band the week after we toured a college for music.

It reminded me of the time my son dropped out of wrestling. It wasn’t just because he was being bullied. The year before he quit, he got third place at regionals in a large bracket. There was an opening to go to state and they called my son to fill that position. All the way up to state, Alex practiced as hard as he could. He practiced so hard that after falling asleep on the long car ride to state, he woke up with a pinched nerve. He couldn’t hold his head upright. He was in a lot of pain and couldn’t wrestle.

Some people gave him crap saying that he was too afraid and that he was faking an injury so he wouldn’t have to wrestle the best in the state. He forfeited his matches while we sat there watching everyone else wrestle. That night at the hotel, his team and their coaches and parents celebrated while we sat in the hotel room devastated. He worked so hard. It wasn’t fair.

We talked with Alex and we decided that we would do everything to help him get to state the next year if he wanted to. We took him to summer camps and intensive preseason wrestling twice a week an hour away. He got to be really good. Who would’ve thought that this could shake up the middle school pecking order and snowball into bullying? But he pushed on. Then at the end of the season, he got the flu. He got weak. But he kept trying. Then right before regionals, he got hurt again. He decided he had enough. It was hard to let go of the 8 years we put into this sport. I felt sorrow. My husband asked if I was expecting him to make a career of it. What if he got hurt again, but worse??

But this is different. This is more personal. I thought that maybe he would pursue a career in music. I thought he would pursue his passion. He got awards at state. He has the talent. He said he wanted that.

Even if he didn’t succeed, I think he would regret not going for it.

We had a long talk with the music professor at the college. He spoke of auditions for scholarships. My son even talked to us about the song he might want to audition with. We decided to contact his piano teacher to continue lessons and contacted the local university for private lessons on his instrument. We have given him all of the tools for success, but he just doesn’t seem to want to pick them up.

This year a majority of the upperclassmen and all of Alex’s friends quit band before the school year started. Alex said he wanted to quit band too. He told me this as he was making beats on his computer and strumming a guitar. Hate music now, huh? I didn’t take it seriously.

He just quit band, a month into the school year. He said he is never playing his instrument again. He was also going to be a part of the pit band for the high school musical, but dropped everything. No music lessons. He said he doesn’t even want to go to college. He burned all of his bridges with a blaze so intense it makes my eyes water.

I felt so angry at first. Now I feel an unrelenting sorrow. My hopes and dreams for him have been totally crushed. He is so smart and talented. To see him have the ability and throw it all away is killing me. Maybe there is still tech school. Who knows? Maybe he won’t even graduate from high school. I could see him getting his PhD in music, but I can also see him living on the streets. The windows of opportunity are closing and it is very painful.

What if he takes the wrong fork in the road?

I think the hardest thing about having adult children is the utter lack of control. I fear that someone will hurt my children. But even more terrifying is watching your child destroy himself and not being able to do anything about it.

Out running

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Change is inevitable. It happens each season. This week a cold wind came into Wisconsin and blew the warm falls days and sunshine away. Sadly, I started going to the gym and running on the dreadmill again. I really can’t complain. It has been a warm fall with hotter temperatures than this summer.

Usually we get our first few flurries by this time of year. It makes me remember my grandma. For the first little snowfall she would write the word flurries or put a F on her empty calendar like it was a huge event. I have a F on my calendar too. It reminds me when I need to give my pets their flea medicine. Seriously, what did you think it stands for??

The last time I ran outdoors, I took a few photos to show you how beautiful my running route is. It was probably a good time for a change anyway. People were getting to know my routine which can be a little disconcerting. It was always the same cars that almost hit me. People were starting to actually honk when I wore my ‘honk if you’re going to hit me’ shirt.

I had a great season with huge goals…My first 18 mile trail run weekend, my first Olympic triathlon, and my first Half Ironman. Plus I ran another marathon. I am thinking of cutting back though. I’m not going to decide for sure until January.

Three out of four races, I had to travel far enough from home to need a hotel room. Plus adding in all of the gear and race fees, it can be a pricey hobby. I will probably still race, but will cut back on the amount of races and the longer distances. I also might want to try other things like doing a Tough Mudder. Plus next summer, the local theater is planning on doing the show Cabaret which is heavy on dancing.

Running has a special place in my heart. I spoke to my trainer at the gym this week. I told him that my races went well but I was thinking of cutting back. I told him that I want to run for the long run. Running gives me time to process my life in a healthy way. I don’t want to over train, hate it, or get hurt. I want to enjoy this hobby as long as possible. Plus I want to do other things I enjoy like dancing, cross country skiing, or kickboxing without being locked in an always training box.

I just love to run. Who knows? I might be able to get outside a few more times this year before it snows. Wisconsin is a very beautiful place to run.

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The show must go on…

As you are reading this, I will be silently sitting backstage waiting for the show to start. Honestly, I don’t feel excited or nervous. I just feel frustration.

The show must go on…

Tonight the show that we have been working on since January starts. I am ready for it to be over so I can get back to my regular life. Maybe I have lost my passion for community theater?

The show must go on…

This has been a record month at work. Many times, like today, I had to walk away leaving things unfinished. It bothers me to leave things undone…it demands my attention.

The show must go on…

I feel unbalanced yet again. This show is taking a big chunk of my time now. Besides work, my first race is less than a month away. Only a few weeks are left until my 18 mile weekend trail running race. Yesterday it was snowing again. I haven’t been able to run outside for a long time. The trail is filled with snowy mud. I feel like I am falling behind on my training this week because I didn’t have the time.

The show must go on…

I haven’t had the time to write. This is probably my record for the least amount of posts per week.

The show must go on…

I am sick with a cold that has been hanging around for weeks. My ears are plugged and I am snotty. It makes it hard to sing. The last couple of weeks the whole cast has been sick with laryngitis, colds, and/or the flu. There are people back stage with fevers as you read this.

The show must go on…

Two of the cast members lost parents since the show started.

The show must go on…

The cast includes many more children than adults. Sometimes their chatter and childishness annoys me. They ask stupid questions that takes up the directors time and I don’t get home until very late at night. Does it really matter what side her hair is parted or that his costume has a tiny rip. Who gives a rip??

The show must go on…

We also have a dog in the show. He has been great so far, but the last few nights he has been skittish. He might be picking up on the stage fright of the actors that are handling him and sometimes he has been running off the stage. Some of the lead characters have extreme anxiety.

The show must go on…

This is the first show that I am the old lady. I am really having a hard time with my new identity. I don’t feel happy. I am not sure that being in this play was worth the other things that I had to give up. Maybe I am having a midlife crisis??

The show must go on…

I always had beautiful dresses to wear. My costume this time looks frumpy. I look ridiculously ugly. Call me vain, but this is the first time I feel really bad about my appearance. My costumes are ugly. They are ill fitting. My dresses are about 20 sizes too big. I am not kidding. I have to tuck the bust area into my belt that wraps around me twice. Someone asked if the new director was out to get me. Even my wig doesn’t fit. The cast has been super nice to me about this.

The show must go on…

Despite not liking the show nor the part I play in it, I have met some interesting characters. I have always been drawn to the eccentric type. They are pretty easy to find in the theater. There is the young man that had a failed kidney transplant and is going through dialysis. Hearing the stories and struggles of others and the friendships built help make the experience worthwhile. It puts things into perspective..

The show must go on…

It is a huge time commitment and I am not sure if I will be doing this again for a long time. But I kept my commitment even though I felt like walking away. In another week, I will be able to leave this behind me. Then I will have time to examine why I feel the way I do..probably on a very long run..

Until then, the show must go on…

The hard sell

Tonight is opening night for the show. Thankfully, Angel is feeling a little better. She took two days off of school to rest and finally went back today. By tomorrow she should be able to hit her high soprano belt. However, I heard that the main character is sick with a bad case of laryngitis. I am so glad that I am going to see the show next weekend! LOL

Tomorrow morning, I have to get up at 5:30 AM to spend half a day at a trade show for work. It is also supposed to be the warmest day so far this year! Oh well. If my husband wasn’t in the show, he would be going. Instead I will be sitting inside a booth with our sales guy. As operations manager, I will be answering specific detailed questions that he might not have the answers to.

Did you think I was going to be doing sales?? Oh my gosh, no way! At my age, I know myself pretty well. There are not a lot of surprises anymore as far as my strengths and weaknesses go. Sales is not my strong suit. I can’t talk anybody into doing anything. I couldn’t sell a 50 cent cup of lemonade to a millionaire runner on a very hot day. Usually if I really want to convince someone to do something, I send my husband or youngest daughter Arabella. They both are phenomenal at sales. Arabella recently sold 80 candy bars in less than a week. I sometimes have to hold her back. No, you can’t take candy bars to sell at the dentist’s office. LOL I really wish I knew how Paul and Arabella can be so convincing. They both have a gift!

Last year around this time, I went to a women’s retreat. It was all about our different roles as women and the spiritual gifts that we have been given. We had to choose our top 5 gifts from a list. A majority of the women said that they had the gift of being caring, giving, compassionate, and empathetic. Not me! Then I started feeling bad because I didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the women. Some of the gifts that I had were being discerning, disciplined, and athletic. Well, whoop di do!

When someone is hurting, these women come over bearing gifts of food, giving hugs, and crying with them. Again, not me. I am the one that says that they should’ve seen it coming. While you are at it, drop down and give me 20 push ups! Damn it, pull yourself out of it and fight it. Well, maybe I’m not exactly like that but that is sometimes what I think. I asked everyone what good my gifts are. I mean they only seem to benefit me. But someone said that was not true. She said that I motivate others to be healthier.

Then I noticed a few other things. A couple of months after visiting my friend in Texas, she started training for a marathon. When I saw her, she was overweight and out of breath walking a couple blocks. Now she is into eating healthy, weight loss, and training for a marathon. Coincidence? I honestly don’t know. Another non running friend mentioned lately about wanting to give running a try. 

I asked Paul today why it seems like I can’t sell anything but people want to do things I’m doing without trying to sell them on it. Paul said it was all about being passionate about what I do. So I hope that tomorrow I am passionate about work.