Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Letting go...

On Sunday, my son played the Mvt 1 of Vivaldi's A Minor Concerto in Church. We all know the piece - the forth song in Suzuki Bk IV. I have had probably hundreds of students play the piece over the years. But, this was different. This was my son. Now, I have performed a great deal in my life. I have conducted and played my violin in front of thousands of people and really don't have any great issues with nerves. But on Sunday... I was a nervous wreck. Matt was fine, mind you. The dude has nerves of steel. Ice water in his veins. No sweat. But as for me, it was all I could do to get through the service leading up to his offertory.

Matt was certainly prepared. He had practiced diligently. he had done the slow methodical work. it was time to perform this piece. But, I really wanted this to be a great experience for him. I am so used to being the one on stage and it was REALLY hard for me to just "let go" and let him experience the joy of performance. I am usually the one in control, the place the buck stops. But, on Sunday, the buck stopped with him - my son. He couldn't hide and I couldn't do it for him. It was his deal.

I sat through the first 45 minutes of the service waiting for the offertory. My heart pounded. My hands were clammy. Every time I looked over at Matt, he was sitting there as calm as could be. I tried not to let my anxiety show. I didn't want my reaction to the situation cloud his.

The time came and up he went to the front of the sanctuary. He waited for his cue and did his thing. It went better than I had ever heard him play it!! The piece as in tune. The dynamics were clear. His shifting was accurate. Everything worked. Following the piece, the congregation erupted in applause. He didn't react. He simply smiled and came back to his seat. I could not have been more proud of him.

When asked if he was nervous by a family friend afterward, he simply said, "no." If only I could have responded the same way.

I believe that I am approaching a time in my life when I will be really challenged to let go of this anxiety for my kids' success. It is time for them to shine. I know that many of you that are teachers or parents know exactly what I am taking about. I have certainly had anxiety for my students' success over the years, but this is something totally different. Matt is a part of me. We are so close. So similar. He really trusts me to send him in the right direction. Come to think about it, my students trust me in the same way. Their families do, too. I don't want to let any of them down.

And I really want his experiences to be as positive as mine were. Somehow, as parents, I think we forget some of the trials that we had as kids. We want to shelter our kids from the anxieties and failures that are a natural part of growing up. I certainly don't want to do that. But, in the meantime, I will have to learn to calm down a bit. I have to learn not to be the focal point. On Sunday, it was Matt's turn. He will have lots more opportunities as the years progress. I hope that I can learn to enjoy them from start to finish.

As for Sunday, it was a great day. After two church services and fine violin playing, Matt went on to a basketball game and knocked down a couple of jumpers in OT to solidify his team's win. Just another day in the life of a great 12 year old kid. But, as for Dad, I was worn out! But, in a good way - with much anticipation of the many good things to come. Time for me to work on letting go.


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