Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Like many families with young kids, most of our grownup friends were introduced to us by our children. We've been lucky that our kids have good taste in friends, and we've slowly, but surely, developed a circle of families with relatively-similar temperaments, habits and drinking preferences. A typical weekend usually includes at least one accidental dinner party, where we meet up at someone's house and hope that our children play nicely so we can recharge with some adult conversation and wine.

(Side note: for a few years after I was out of college and my first bout with grad school, I used to complain about how hard it was to make friends in the "real" world. In school, you have a ready-made pot of people to try out and test for connections; once you're an adult it gets progressively more difficult to find opportunities to let those connections build. Now, I think kids are essentially the dorms of adult life -- if you're around the parents of your kids' friends enough, you're likely to find those gold nuggets of people that enrich your own life.)

Last night, we took the accidental kid-inspired dinner party motif much further than usual, and we had a semi-accidental chamber-music concert. One of our friends is also a former violist/violinist and has pestered me often to play with him. His enthusiasm for playing together is intense enough to overcome my incredibly rusty skills, as well as my natural inclination never to play my violin where someone else might hear me. We've played duets a few times and I always really enjoyed it, despite the shock of hearing how god-awful I am now. Last night, he'd arranged for two of his co-workers to join us and we had a true string quartet.

It's hard to describe, to someone who doesn't play, the intensity of being in the middle of a group of musicians. It makes your skin crawl in a good way, feeling the melodies and harmonies pass back and forth around and through you. It's almost like being caught up in a musical version of peristalsis. We played for a while, had dinner, played some more... it was one of the most rewarding evenings I've had for a while, not least because I knew my kids were listening and watching and absorbing that this was what adult life was like: you get to play music and relax with friends. While we were playing, I was thinking of my mom. Yesterday would have been her 65th birthday, and I'd been struggling a bit to think of how to appropriately honor her. The quartet was the right way: she was always the biggest supporter of my music, and if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have been in a position to be part of the group last night.

So, happy birthday Mom, and yes, I'll start practicing again. Thank you.


Boaz said...

I'd forgotten when our friend made his comment about his father about our mom.

peristalsis is an interesting metaphor, but unfortunately conjures up the image of bowel movements, and y'all were defintely not producing shit.

Suz said...

What a great way to commemorate your mom! And there's nothing like revisting something that you used to do well and experiencing the joy that drew you to it in the first place.