Monday, September 22, 2008

Yo Yo Ma and Me

Last week I was lucky enough to see Yo-Yo Ma perform (world class cellist for those that don't know.)

Now before you roll your eyes and peg me as an elitest snob, I confess that I am an amateur classical music lover at best. I am a Saturday morning sipping coffee sort of classical music person. It relaxes me and it seems like the right thing to do on a quiet morning.

As a kid, after spending weekend visits with my dad, we would commute to the hospital where he worked about 20 minutes away. My dad's ritual was to drive and bask in the beautiful music during road time. As a sleepy child, I thought this had to be the best possible way to start the day -- riding with my dad and listening to grand sounding music from faraway places.

Each time I listen to classical music, I am transported again. When you are listening, really listening to it, you can't help but watch how your breath slows. My mind soon begins to wander off to distant places, thoughts and ideas, carried on big curvy bends of music. It's like taking a vacation and yet going no where.

Afterthe Yo Yo Ma experience, a friend and I were discussing what we think about during the performance. Each of us had different answers about the places our minds took us, but we all agreed it was a wonderful journey.

Listening to Yo Yo Ma, I couldn't help but think about my childhood pastor, Rev. Stephen Wardwell. He was a huge classical music fan and his house was right across the street from mine. As a child with nothing but time on her hands, I would visit often to see what was going on at his house. Usually he was working or studying or gardening, but always there was classical music. I can remember him introducing me to all his favorite pieces and famous musicians, including Yo Yo Ma.

He even let me make a cassette copy of his complete works of Dvorak one day. I can remember leaving his home and thinking I was probably the most cultured 9 year old kid on the planet. I had my own copy of Dvorak's music.

Classical music gives me an appreciation for things I cannot understand. How do people make this music? How do people like Yo-Yo Ma get this talented? Why does music speak to my soul in ways that the written word can never venture?

I guess that's what makes it so beautiful and vapor-like. It begins in a dream for the composer and ends in a dream for the listener.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Reluctant Hockey Mom

I'm trying to channel Sarah Palin.

Not necessarily the high power, VP candidate, political Sarah. More of the effervescent hockey mom Sarah Palin. In recent days, she glowingly declares she's a proud "hockey mom" among all the campaign rhetoric. I wish I could muster just a tiny bit of her enthusiasm -- at least for hockey that is.

This past weekend kicked off our six month journey in "Mighty Mite" hockey house leagues for seven and eight year olds. Let me repeat for effect, six months. As I peeled my son out of bed for early morning practices on both Saturday and Sunday, I couldn't help but ask myself "whose idea was this?"

He's seven. I know at some point we thought it would be brilliant fun to be decking ourselves out in ridiculous amounts of gear with razor sharp skates and zooming around with long sticks. To add more fuel to my doubts, my son declared on the way to the first practice "I don't think I want to do this next year." Great.

To make matters worse, I was walking in with another mom and son that I mistakenly assumed were in my camp. I smiled to her and said "remind me again why we are doing this?" She gave me a look like I had three heads as if to say, "lady, you better get with the program!" and then calmly said "because we love hockey of course!"

Despite my son's earlier statement, he tumbled off the ice changed. He was sweaty and stinky, but grinning ear to ear. Each time he sets foot on the ice, he comes off blooming with confidence and joy. And despite my grumblings, I know that this moment is worth it.