When is it time to quit?


I have always said I would never be an obnoxious stage mom, peering into the studio window, to make sure my daughter was getting plenty of time in the front row of her ballet class.

Or, one of those parents that cannot shut up at the football game and gets carried away, as eight year olds run up and down a field.

I confess I roll my eyes at the obsessed parent who clearly is living their life vicariously through their kid.   I confess I am judgmental of crazy parents who clearly need to get a life.

But I realize, what I confess, is that I too have become that crazy parent who has lost perspective and has become emotionally invested in an activity that was never mind to begin with.  The problem is, I created an expectation.  I created a vision in my head for another person.  That vision was not a shared vision, and now I am wondering why that vision won’t become a reality. – Um, hello! When will I ever learn that we cannot design dreams for other people!

If marriage teaches us anything, it should teach us that.  Sometimes I think we women have fantasized dream weddings and ideals marriages  to extremes and then reality hits we discover that our weddings and our spouses are less than perfect.  We get angry because our expectations haven’t been met.

Learning to accept that we didn’t marry a dream, we married a human being, is a good way to stay, well, married! Don’t expect, accept.


So, here’s my confession.  Somehow I have become obsessed over my daughter and her playing the violin. She started Suzuki when she was five years old.  She is now 14.  So, for 9 years, I have sat in on  hundreds of practices, private lessons, group lessons, recitals, and concerts. I have rented every size violin and purchase a full size instrument. I have bought books, bows, shoulder rests, rosin, strings, and stands.  I have encouraged her through Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi.  And now, on the threshold of high school she wants to quit. She wants to try new things.  She keeps getting put back in chairs in orchestra, and she is done. It’s over. Kaput. Finished.

She wants to quit.

I had a vision of her surviving high school by being in orchestra. I thought there she would be safe, with all the orchestra kids. I wanted her have a measure of success, to see it through, to play in high school.  But instead, she has simply said, she wants to try new things.  This is a completely reasonable and understandable request. And yet, I find the idea of no longer sitting in her room as she works through a piece, or driving her to her lesson, or not planning the next recital , so, so sad.  Like it’s time to sell the crib and the baby clothes.  This thing that has always been, will become a “used to” instead of “what is.”

It’s just a violin.

But it’s more than that.

It’s a passing of time.

It’s a letting go.

It’s a moving on.

It’s one more letting out of the kite string, before she flies on her own.

Maybe the answer is not grieve the visions that were imagined, but to celebrate the visions that really happened.

For that, I will always be a grateful, and slightly crazy parent.



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