Sometimes I get so tired of being strong

My older son Shawn should have turned 40 three days ago. But, he died in1992 aged 18. Even my therapist who I still see sometimes said something about his death not yet being fully resolved. Fully? Are you kidding me? It is not resolved at all! If I let myself think about it, I can instantly be back at that worst moment of my life, when I heard he was dead. Unless I am constantly on guard that moment is still right now. Right now I can be there, with the policeman at the door, so uncomfortable, and me yelling”get out of my house” as if their going might somehow make it less true. The haunting cruel words the cop spoke which I will not tell you since I do not want them to haunt anyone else.

You would not know this to look at me or even to know me. I am one of those people who seem to have it together. Who have grown from this experience and become stronger. And this is true in part. But it has come at such a price. It is four AM. I wish I could sleep.


Music Camp blues

I have not posted since last week. These ten days are the most exhausting of my year.
My daughter and two eldest grandchildren are visiting from the west coast. Add a forty something Mom, a 12 year old boy and an 8 year old girl to the small home of two sixty-something grandparents with three dogs and wow, it is ……not our usual scene!
I am used to kids. I have been teaching twenty some odd cello students at any given time in the last 36 years. I know four year olds. I know teenagers. But they go home at the end of the lesson! We are….tired, and stressed, as good as it is to have them here and as much as I love them.
I will write more about this, but for now, some moments.
Bobbing around the hot tub with M, age 8. Nice.
Practising a tricky Dave Brubeck piece arranged for 6 cellos with K, 12. Nice. Both of us, heads together with our cellos. Wonderful! This year, he has become a better cellist in some ways than I am!
Amazing. So moving to play together.
Morning scramble to get out the door and to camp on time. Big hassle, but better than last year. I have taught at this camp for 30 years and this is the first time I have sat on the camp committee but not taught at camp, the beginning of my not teaching experiment. I spend the day watching classes, chatting with my daughter, chatting with colleagues and the families of students, observing some lessons, helping lost students figure out where they belong.
Someone I see only at this annual camp, who does not know that this is my first year just attending camp and not teaching, said, “You look so happy and relaxed this year! It’s amazing”
I need to let go of the idea that each post must be a perfect essay.
More later. For now, a post from Chaos Central!




and instead of doing this I have spent most of the day turning my office into a bedroom in preparation for my daughter’s and grandkids’ annual visit from the west coast. I sure wish I were a tidier person. Or, had a dedicated guestroom! On the other hand, it gets properly sorted out at least once a year……Maybe when I retire I will be neater???……..nah, LOL

What is a blog for?

IMG_1531                                The move to temporary teaching quarters (a fellow teacher’s                             basement)  in 2006………

When we relocated from the city where I had lived and worked for 29 years, to our present town, it was a big change. I came for work but I had started my own business and raised my family all in the same city. I started that blog as a sort of “new start” thing, and kept it fairly faithfully until the day we had a nasty confrontation with a crazy neighbour and the city by-law department, which, it turned out, had an antiquated by-law from 1953. This prohibited anyone from teaching music in an attached dwelling, but ONLY if someone complained. We were in a townhouse and had purchased it partly for the amazingly soundproof construction. But, it turned out, the complaining person did not need a reason to complain! The complaint automatically caused the city to inform me that should I not cease and desist immediately from teaching my 25 cello students who each came weekly for 30 weeks a year, I would be heavily fined for each lesson, starting right away. It made no difference that in our expensive town at the association where I work, close to 20 other music teachers were doing the same thing, unmolested. Our newly moved in neighbour had decided that a music teacher next door lowered the tone of the neighbourhood, Or something. I had taught there for more than two years during which the former neighbour and the one on the other side swore they never heard a thing. No matter. Then, she took to, as well as officially complaining to the city, harassing my young students as they arrived, and throwing dog poop on our front step (not from our dogs) among other charming things. Kids were frightened and we began to fear for the safety of our dogs, apart from the official issues.  At first we fought it- we had been there just two and a half years and it was a hugely upsetting, not to mention expensive, idea to think of moving back to a detached home where the teaching was legal. But a moment came- I still remember it clearly- when I thought, “We need to put this behind us and move.” So, we did and it turned out to be the best decision we could have made.

I tell this story because of what happened with my blog. While I was busy leading my perfect new life in our townhouse on the lake, before this upset happened, I wrote a perfectly lovely blog about it all.

The VERY LAST POST was the day we were notified by the town that the teaching must cease and desist. I did not post about it. I never posted another thing. It was an incredibly upsetting time and it would be fully eighteen months until moving day into our present home.

Why did I stop posting? I have yet to fully figure it out, but I have thought a lot about  it, and the issues of transparency versus privacy with a blog. It is likely wise to not publish every intimate life detail. But, it is the “authentic blogs” that I read, enjoy and learn from. Those sorts of blogs have led me to try again. But, this needs care. The old blog read like something about someone’s perfect life. None of it was false and I really did not intend to edit out the negatives. But, I did, as it turns out. I read my birthday dinner post from last Saturday again and it read like someone’s dream of the perfect mother/adult son relationship. I do not want to share only the perfect times although it WAS a perfect evening! Tricky……

And something else I have noticed is this: here, and in other places online, bad news seems to be somehow seductive. When someone posts about the beautiful sunset or how cute the dogs were today, there tend to be far fewer responses to this than say, a post about a pet’s death. Why is this, exactly? It is probably the same thing that leads the news media to print or air, in general, bad news. The worse the news, the more coverage it gets.

So, getting back to this post: I find all this pretty complicated and confusing. And another thing is, how much does it matter, if at all, whether anyone reads (and/or comments) or not? The tree still falls in the forest even if no-one sees it……I need to think about all this some more. Is this “sharing’? Self examination? A story? All, or none, of the above?

Has anyone any thoughts about these things?