Tag Archives: band

The Partial Daisy

thumbnail[1]

How hard is too hard to push your kids?  Where is the line between letting them just be kids and insisting they be involved in activities?  When our oldest son, Mike, was young, we thought it was very important for him to participate in sports. It seemed only natural to sign him up for baseball and soccer every summer, spring, and fall.  As he grew older, he added basketball to his list.  At the same time, my husband and I wanted him to learn piano and drums and play in the school band, so that was just more to add to the calendar.  Of course, he also took swimming lessons every summer and attended tennis camps, as well as scouting.  He was going to be a well-rounded kid if it killed us. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Never Say Never…Or How I Came To Celebrate my Daughter’s Birthday

004

“Your next one will be a girl.” I laughed and said, “I’m not brave enough to take that chance!” After all, that prediction was uttered by a superstitious woman from the old country, after studying the swirl of hair on my infant son’s head. Based on the direction of the swirl, she was quite confident in her assertion. I was most definitely going to have another child and it would most definitely be female. Based on the fact that I was holding my third son in my arms, I was quite confident that she was a certified loony. For one thing, another child was the furthest thing from my mind. I mean little Petey was only six months old. And, ummm….a girl?? Yeah, pretty sure that wasn’t gonna happen. I mean, I had boys. I was used to boys. I was a “boy mom”. Though there was a female presence in my family growing up (I did have a mother and a sister, after all), the male presence was far more overpowering – a dad and five brothers. I was a tomboy as a kid. Boys never intimidated me. I kind of knew how they worked. But a girl?? That was outside my comfort zone. Yes, I know I am a girl, but I was never really into girly things. I’d be a terrible girl mom. Of that I was sure.

So, that said…today my husband, my three sons and I celebrate my daughter’s twenty-second birthday. That’s right. Two and a half years after that fateful prediction, we welcomed little Mary Kathryn into the family. A few months before she made her grand entrance into the world (and before ultrasounds were routine procedures) a co-worker in my office casually asked to see my hands. Not sure of her reason for the strange request, I held out both hands for her to view. “You’re going to have a girl,” she announced. Wait. What? Yes, because I held my hands out palms down, she was able to determine that a pink bundle was on its way. Laughing it off, I later told my oldest son, Mike, about the prediction of a little sister. He was beside himself. “You did WHAT? How could you?” The sound of horror in his voice made me think that maybe I shouldn’t have been so reckless in my hand display. What madness had I unleashed?

I reassured him that silly superstitions were just that – silly and meaningless. But, I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure when, on November 6, 1994, after a relatively quick labor, the doctor announced, “We gotta girl!” Yikes. I tried to do all the things moms of girls do. I can remember trying to fix her hair in super cute ways before school (well, they were super cute in my head, anyway) but never achieving the desired look and ending with a slapped together ponytail and an apology, “I’m sorry Mary Kate. I’m not a very good girl mom.” And she’d try to soothe my failure with, “That’s okay” as she’d head through the school doors.

So, while it’s true that I might have been lacking in girl skills, she can’t deny that I equipped her with more important life skills at a young age, like when she was desperate to quit the rockestra band at school but wasn’t sure how because the band teacher simply would not allow it. She tried to explain to him that she was not quitting the whole band and that she had every intention of continuing band in high school. She has even gone on to pursue her Bachelor of Music degree in college, and is in her year senior year as a percussion performance major at the University of Iowa. But he would have none of it. I understood where he was coming from. You hate to allow a young kid to quit things when the going gets tough. Especially something like music, which is always hard, but important to keep at it if even a spark of talent shines through. But, quite honestly, after fourteen years with kids in the band, I was okay with her letting go of this particular commitment. She was desperate to find a solution. So, I told her after careful consideration, there was only one logical way this was gonna happen. She would have to fake her own death. “I can do that,” she confidently assured me.

Twenty-two years of having a girl and I still don’t think I’m a very good girl mom. We bond over trashy reality TV, terribly acted Lifetime Movies and true murder shows. She now knows what NOT to do to pull off the perfect murder. But, I think we both agree that being a little edgy is a heck of a lot more fun than getting the pigtails right. This is what she tweeted for MotherYOU TRIED

And our exchange on Facebook in response to that tweet:

Mary Kate Naughton: looooove yooouuuu 🙂

Marilyn Toner Naughton: Ahhhh, ain’t love grand?
Mary Kate Naughton: to be fair, you responded with “I hate you”
Yeah, I’d say we have a pretty awesome mother-daughter thing going on. Happy Birthday Mary Kate!! And ya know what? I’m glad Peter’s hair swirled just the right way and I held my hands out palms down.  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hey Music, What Have You Done For Me Lately?

 

MUSIC SYMBOLS

Why would anyone study music? I know these words have been uttered countless times by miserable high schoolers, forced to take a Music Appreciation class or participate in Band. I would venture to say that most kids who make up the various bands in school do so because:

1.  Mom and Dad are making them do it.

2. They have an interest in playing an instrument but have no plans to pursue music, because…HELLO… they plan to actually make money.

3. It’s a social outlet. These kids, by the way, are the thorns in the sides of band directors everywhere and the few kids (like my own) who take it seriously, because they NEVER practice. And…

4. They love music and want to live a life in music.

To those who fall into category #4, the following is not only understood, it is fully embraced. But it is to the rest of the school band population, as well as the population at large, who often question the sanity of someone who would choose to study music, that the following is addressed. Hopefully,  they will come to appreciate the complexity of music and, perhaps, understand the wonderfully rewarding answer my musician son gives when asked the question he’s heard over and over again: What are you going to do with that degree? Answer? “I’m going to be happy for the rest of my life.”

 

MUSIC FACT

MUSIC IS A SCIENCE

It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.

MUSIC IS MATHEMATICAL

It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.

MUSIC IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not English but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.

MUSIC IS PHYSICAL EDUCATION

It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the abdominal, back, stomach, and chest muscles which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

MUSIC IS ALL THESE THINGS, BUT MOST OF ALL, MUSIC IS ART

It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring to some (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling, emotion – call it what you will.

THAT IS WHY WE STUDY MUSIC!

Not because we expect you to major in music.

Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life (though you certainly can!)

Not so you can relax.

Not so you can have fun.

But so you will be human; so you will recognize beauty; so you will be sensitive; so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world; so you will have something to cling to; so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good – in short, more life.

Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living, unless you know how to live?






 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized