It’s 5am and I’m woken by sounds.. First a sniff, a chortle, a grunt, a sigh, a gurgle, a little shout and finally a small cry. That split second when I’m not sure what day it is has been and gone and now I’m catapulted into reality. My baby needs me to feed him now, nOw, NOW! I quickly assemble my pillow and organize myself accordingly to maximize comfort for a good feed, head over to the crib only to discover that said baby boy is out cold, fast asleep and dreaming blissfully! With my eyes still pointing in different directions my mind tries to grasp how much sleep I’ve had between the two/three hourly feeds throughout the night… not much is the conclusion my tired brain comes to.
From 5am until 6:15, I check the crib every 5-10 minutes as this little dance continues. Me thinking he needs feeding, him making gremlin noises, me getting ready to feed, me collapsing into bed again.
Finally just as Rory settles, 6:15am arrives and my beautiful bouncing boy Nathaniel decides its time to party! He climbs into bed with us for his ritual morning cuddle and now it dawns on me, today is concert day.
I recently read a friends interview about how she likes to prepare pre-concert. A good nights sleep, a good meal, some rest, meditation, silence etc etc…. Yes yes I thought as I was reading it, this is exactly the best way to prepare oneself to go on stage and pour your heart into the notes. Presenting all those endless hours of practise and dedicated thought to the music needs so much care and devotion to self preservation pre-concert.
Now my reality is so SO different!! Lying there at 6:15am, it’s like a slap around the face or perhaps similar to having an ice cold bucket of water poured over your head I realise the epic task that lies ahead of us to achieve ‘magic concert day!’
- Get up
- Wash, bath and change baby
- Re-wash baby due to sick and projectile other!
- Prepare breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner for family and babysitter (one handed while holding and bouncing baby) Actually, amazing husband did this bit!
- Decide on concert outfit and struggle to find anything that fits post-baby body. Just when I’m about to give up in despair Nathaniel announces ‘Mummy, I love your dress, you’re so beautiful’ precious, incredible moment that I would like to bottle and keep forever!
- Find shoes (somewhere!) make up, pack concert bag, jewellery, music and don’t forget the violin!
- Negotiate with Nathaniel about getting dressed and packing toys to take with us.
- Get showered and dressed myself! Find matchsticks to prop open eyelids, contact lenses not feeling happy on dry eyeballs.
- Time to feed Rory again, a moment of quiet bliss but mustn’t fall asleep!
- Meanwhile Nick also running around like a headless chicken finding tripods, microphones, music stands, packing concert clothes, charging camera batteries, loading the car up and salting the steps from Mother Nature’s latest dose of Winter and freezing rain (seriously, its APRIL!!) We run around throwing babies and responsibilities between us like some sort of crazy and hilarious mating ritual gone wrong!
- Do we have everything, extra diapers, muslins, change of clothes for both boys, enough toys, books, food, coats, hats, gloves, stroller, blanket… urgh the list is endless.
- The babysitter Mia arrives who is coming with us to help out while we’re on stage.
- We leave the house to set off to Marlboro College with enough stuff to last a week! (Yes, we’ll be there for a total of 5 hours and I may have gone overboard but better safe than sorry right?!)
As I hand over the children to Mia upon arrival and walk into the hall, I sit down in my chair with a huge sigh of relief. Now I get to play my violin and this is the bit that feels so easy, so right and like a holiday! Now I get to pour my heart out and enjoy every note while my boys are safely being looked after and actually watching as we rehearse. (Nathaniel even had a little sleep. I suppose it’s been the soundtrack to his life!)
So, no meditation, no gentle stretches, no leisurely healthy meal pre-concert (stuffed a quick sandwich and banana into my mouth while unloading and parking car) and definitely no peace and quiet time!!
Sitting on stage and collecting my thoughts in a quick moment before my bow touches the string is all the time I get. In that moment, I feel so unbelievably lucky to be there. I thank God for my husband and children and for my gift to make music. It’s been 5 weeks since little Rory came into my life and turned my world upside down. I’ve had a few comments along the lines of ‘Are you mad doing a concert so soon after having a baby?!’ Yes, it is soon but I wouldn’t want it any other way! It is worth it, all the total chaos and frantic-ness and as my Dad said ‘Too many people talk of doing things but so few make dreams become a reality as it takes self-discipline, perseverance, determination and sacrifice but what a thrill when we reach our goal!’
This is my dream, my goal, my life and while the emotional rollercoaster of the journey may be tough and challenging, it’s definitely worth the ride!