There’s an article about being an arts sort of person and having a family. Which makes me think …

Now of course I’m no famous musician. Heck, I’m not even half-famous (whatever that is; I just wanted to type “half-famous”). I’m just a part-time musician who manages to perform a fairly good amount.

I also teach, but I didn’t do that when the kids were younger. I just couldn’t handle the distraction of children and didn’t want to have to shush them all the time. So I took up teaching again when they were … hmm … I’m guessing the older two were middle or high school age. (Kids? Do you remember?) I did TRY to teach when Brandon was a little one, but realized early on that it wasn’t a great idea for me. (Some of my friends have no problem with it, but I sure did.)

I also realized, when the chidlren were younger, that I wouldn’t be practicing as much as I had before. Fortunately I had a lot of music learned already, and I managed to get practice time in at rehearsals … sad, I know … maybe even appalling! … but true.

And I was tired. Ever so tired. Almost all the time I was a bit of a walking zombie, to be honest.

When I was pregnant with our first I played up until my due date. Brandon (1982) was two weeks late. I then went back to work about two weeks after he was born. We didn’t have any choice; Midsummer Mozart was beginning then and I either went back to work or we were income-less. We survived. That was definitely the start of my zombie period, though.

With Kelsey (’85) I took a bit more time off. With Jameson (’89) even more. I suppose I was well aware, by that time, that the kids grew quickly. I wanted to enjoy them a bit more. And I wasn’t so uptight about missing work either.

Now part of the reason I managed to work and parent was due do Dan’s schedule. We did have to hire sitters frequently for the evening; Dan was stage manager of San Jose Symphony (RIP) for a while. But during the day I was, for the most part, home. So, according to Kelsey anyway, I appeared to be a stay-at-home-mom much of the time. I was able to pick them up from school most of the time. (Thankfully we had two grandmothers here who would pick up the slack for us, too. Thanks, you two!)

But my kids did seem to enjoy my working. Shoot, when I quit being music librarian of the symphony one of them even cried (I won’t say who!). The poor kiddo thought something fun was being taken away. Go figure. I had to reassure that child that yes, we’d still be going to symphony, and yes, they could still visit the stage and all.

Do I have regrets? A few. I definitely wish I had skipped a year of Midsummer Mozart. I wish I’d been home more often to tuck the kids in bed. I wish I hadn’t had to miss some of their performances. (I still kick myself about missing Brandon’s Mock Trial events.) I wish I had been more available. But hindsight ….

But at the same time, I think they kids have had a rather fun time being the children of musicians. (Dan used to play in symphony sometimes, and was certainly there a lot due to his stage managing job. Now he teaches music.) And all three appreciate music.

One thing I didn’t do (and wonder if this was a mistake): I never pushed music lessons on the kids. Most of my music pals with kids have had their children take lessons from quite early on. I just didn’t want to. I think part of it was selfish; I didn’t want to have to hound them to practice! Is that nuts? Brandon did play piano for a very brief time, and then took trumpet lessons as well. He didn’t keep up with either, though. (But now, you can see and hear what he does at his sites.) Kelsey sang in The Magic Flute when in middle school, and kept singing through high school. She’s still a music listener (but opera? Do you still listen, Kelsey?) and can do a pretty amazing job whistling (really!). Jameson sings. He sings very well. And he’s taken lessons on and off. (Schedules don’t allow for consistent lessons … that’s show biz, folks!) So all are certainly into music.

Did having children enrich my music making? I honestly don’t know! I do know it put things into perspective for someone who was so pronse to freak out over reeds and bad performances. I didn’t shed nearly as many tears regarding reeds and stupid music mistakes once they were born. Suddenly things like that weren’t so worth shooting myself over. Having children definitely made me a better teacher; I understand kids a bit more, and I think I know, for the most part, when to push and when to back off. Prior to having children I was much harsher. (Any students out there reading this? Can you imagine me being harsher? Am I too harsh now? I wonder.) And the kids certainly enriched my life. More than I can ever say. I can’t imagine a life without them. Not at all.

Just another disjointed ramble from yours truly … thinking about the past, and wondering what the kids will say to me twenty years from now.

Only time will tell.


  1. I enjoyed your ramble! Yes, it will be interesting to see what your kids have to say 20 years from now … and if any of them have returned to (or are continuing with) music!

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    And to think about this … I’ll be SEVENTY! Hmmm. That’s quite a thought. At least to me. But yes, I’m very curious about what they’ll say. I do have friends whose children have said they weren’t there for them when they were younger, but so far I’m not getting that.

    Time will tell!

    I do believe they’ll all have a life-long love for music. Anything more, I haven’t a clue!