Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On the road again...

Or at least I will be tomorrow.

My early career was on the road ALL the time since my first professional gigs were tours - in some cases lengthy tours with several months between opportunities to get home - but recently? Not so much. I've been immensely fortunate: my two "local houses" (solid A and B companies both within easy commuting distance) have been generous with contracts in the last couple of years and I've been able to sustain my career without being away from home very much; even my New York gigs have enabled me to get home pretty much every week in a "semi-commuting" manner, so it hasn't been the same as Going Out of Town.

Thus, being out of "road mode", I'm finding preparations to get out of town a little more challenging than I have in the past! Especially since I've just finished up a production here which kept me very busy for the last month, I'm feeling more than a little behind in my organising and packing as I try to get out of here with everything I need for a month of rehearsing and performing.

Transitioning from "mostly at home mom" to "travelling and away" presents some practical challenges, like dealing with mountains of laundry (my husband does wonderfully at keeping up with most domestic challenges while I'm away, but he's never been the best with washing machines and I prefer to do as much of it as possible ahead of time!) and ensuring that all the "mom stuff" is done before I go - I try to have childcare arrangements broadly speaking in place (thankfully, we live near family - it's the main reason we live in this town - but even so, it needs at least loose mapping out), and also arrange a few playdates and surprise "fun things" to happen while I'm gone.

But, above and beyond the logistics and banalities, "getting ready to leave" also means being sensitive to the fact that, while for me time away is a "new" adventure with the potential to be artistically stimulated, meet new people, and enjoy my work, for my family it's not so easy. I'm fortunate to have a spouse who supports my career and is a very "hands on" daddy at home, but still - it's a tug. My husband and I are used to it (professional separations have been part of our relationship from the time we met, and we've always dealt with it), but our daughter is having to learn how to adapt now. I think she copes with it ok, although there's a corner of The Mommy Mind that second-guesses every decision and reaction which relates to their child which of course makes me think, "How does this REALLY affect her in the long term?".

But, of course, we all manage in our own way; I can only trust that she knows she is loved no matter what kind of physical distance is involved and that the wonders of modern communication will make it as easy as it's possible for it to be. I know that as soon as I'm gone my mind will be focused on the job I do and, if prior experience is anything to judge by, my daughter will also find ways of coping for herself. One new wrinkle is that she is now au fait enough with email to be able to really exchange correspondence - she loves it, in fact - so I'm looking forward to being able to "talk" to her in this different way while I'm gone this time.

In the meantime, I still have to do all that laundry, pack, head out to purchase a birthday present for one her classmates, and even indulge in a farewell to one of my own domestic pleasures in the form of a newly-discovered passion for gardening. All in the next 6 hours! We'll see how far I get... ;)

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