I find transitions are always popping up to be negotiated both as a parent and as a singer. Moving from one phase to the next, from one place to another, from musical style to style, from supporting role to lead, from one group of people to a completely different cast sometimes in as little as a matter of hours, not to mention the scheduling variations (and conflicts!) as one switches worlds between the domestic tranquility (?!!!) of motherhood and the sometimes emotional hurly-burly of performing.
This autumn is shaping up to have some previously unencountered adjustments to navigate. My own schedule and expectations were so badly derailed by external forces earlier this year that I was forced to transition into what felt like a completely different lifestyle than I have experienced in a long, long time: instead of bound by external schedules and commitments, I was pretty much completely on my own timetable for the first time in many, many years. Sure I had plenty to do, but it wasn't necessarily ruled by the clock. In fact, I had more free time than I've had in over 10 years. That it wasn't entirely by choice, of course, rather tainted the pleasure that could be found in it, but (shhhh...) I can't deny that it WAS kind of nice to have more than a few snatched and jealously-guarded minutes of each day be "me time" and I've become used to it.
Now that the autumn's schedule is returning to something I can recognise as normal (or as normal as a singer's life ever gets!) I can see a lot of adjustments looming, not least of which giving up some of this re-discovered down-time. A couple of decent gigs have rolled in (which is, of course, WONDERFUL news), and I'll be getting busy again as we move into the fall; it will be back to the crazy shuffling of family, students, auditions and rehearsals, trying to be in too many places at once, and wondering how on earth to fit everything in. (and there's probably another blog post in here somewhare about "WHy does it always have to be feast or famine?!?!", but I'll leave that for another day.....). Don't get me wrong - this is the way it needs to be and SHOULD be - but after the slower pace of the last few months, it's definitely going to be an adjustment.
This year, in addition to the usual scheduling, we'll be adding a wild card into the mix: middle school. Is there any parent who hasn't had absurdly mixed feelings about this particular milestone? This, perhaps even more than those early days in preschool and kindergarten, feels like it's time to let go; it's certainly when the fledgeling wants to start flying solo, and that raises all sorts of questions! The change in schedule - 30 minutes earlier every morning (in this house, that's a big deal!) - changes in expectations, routine, work load and no doubt a social merry-go-round (both good as well as frustrating, noe hopes!) raises a bunch of questions too, for none of which I have answers until we adjust to the new environment, the new directions and the inevitable new challenges. I have no idea at all how this will all work yet.
But, in the meantime, the last days of summer. Last week wrapped up three weeks of camp so we're transitioning (that word again!) into a week of downtime... although some out-of-town friends, a couple of unexpected invitations, and boring domestic catastrophes (including a leaking washing machine demanding repair) mean those few days of respite are going to be slightly delayed.....
But no doubt we'll adjust, as we always do. I wonder, however, how a few months to reflect on a slower pace and really take life in will affect perceptions; I'm interested to see my own reactions as I get back into the thick of things. We'll see!