It was a dark and stormy day at the office. OK, not really, but things have been particularly stressful lately. Happily (although I didn't know it at the time), I needed to leave work a bit early today to get C to his violin lesson. P has taken on the heroic job of being the parent-in-charge of music and those of you who know anything about the Suzuki method understand that this is no simple task-- far more than shuttling kids to lessons and remembering their instruments along the way. However, my wonderful husband went on an overnight adventure with our youngest to the city of his birth (P's not F's) so today, I was in charge of getting C to his one formal after-school activity. S often stays at school with me on C's lesson days (S's lesson is on the weekend), and he was none too happy to get dragged along to his brother's lesson, but such is life when you are not an only child.
I was rushing to get a letter finished, while acutely aware of the time, trying to estimate how long it would take to bike to the music school. Of course, actually getting my fellows out of school took far longer than I ever plan for, and I was sweating profusely before I ever got to pedaling just from the shepherding and coat and helmet wrestling. My teeth were clenched and I was silently cursing life when I pushed off from the ground, hopped on the seat, and pumped my legs. However, less than a block down the road, I suddenly felt different. The boys and I began an easy conversation (such a bonus with this front box!) and I could feel the sun on my face. Work fell behind me as I concentrated on navigating the streets and sometimes-less-than-patient drivers. Not sure of the time, I pumped my legs harder, feeling my thighs twinge and my breath quicken, and before I knew it--we pulled up to our destination. Scrambling off/out of the bakfiets, we made our way to C's appointed lesson room.
Outside the room, waiting for another student to finish, I got to watch my fellows in action, happily chatting away with a fifth grader from their school. Totally undaunted by his 'advanced' age and size, it reminded me again of what a cool school community they belong to where they would actually know a fifth grader, and he would be kind enough to respond to their many questions with patience and good humor. Then at the lesson, I was amazed how receptive C was to each suggestion the teacher made, just how hard the process of learning this instrument is, how he needs to stretch and hold his fingers in new and ever-more difficult ways. This little fellow, who often struggles when things don't go exactly right, was making mistakes and trying again, over and over with little fuss, and seemingly enjoying the challenge. S, first occupied with a word search, asked me to play a few rounds of tic-tac-toe which we did, silently communicating, trying not to distract C from his teacher and task.
We later bakfieted home through the rush hour traffic, our box heavy with our school bags, a violin, and some newly-bought groceries. Waiting at our apartment door was a lovely surprise: six whoopie pies, left by two friends who saw my posting of this on my Fb profile today. Once eating dinner, we put on our newest CD-love, and suddenly none of us could stay at the table and up we jumped, twirling, clapping, shaking with abandon. We sang out the Spanish words we recognized: playa, gallina, luna, pollito, lapiz, cante, cante, baile, baile. And that is just what we did--Baile!
And as I listen to Mi Luna over and over as I type, I think what a bike ride, an unexpected act of kindness, good music, and some enthusiastic living room dancing with two wonderful-six-year-olds can do for your soul.