Balance

I woke up exhausted today, and sleepwalked through a lot of the morning. My feet hurt; I needed all the coffee, and I was delighted.

These past few weeks, I’ve totally hit capacity. Between work, family, getting ready for the holidays, scheduling everything, working out, meal planning, and preparing for my one concert a year, I was cooked. I’ve been a little cranky and hugely dependent on amazing Dave, Joy and Manny to keep me sane.

BUT last night I gave my recital, and while it wasn’t what I would have done if I were still a professional singer, I’m proud of how it sounded for a working mom of four who sings on the side. We did beautiful repertoire that holds great meaning to me, and really enjoyed mastering complex music again. It felt great to be performing.

And it reminded me that balance isn’t a permanent state. We are constantly making minor adjustments to both sides of the scale in order to find all of the meaningful points in our lives. For me, that means a frenetic few weeks in November as I prepare for my one concert a year. For a brief window of time, everything else takes a backseat and I get to focus on my love of performance and the vocal repertoire.

In the fall, that shifting focus leans towards the kids, is they readjust to school and a new routine. In spring, I lean towards work as we have our largest fundraiser. And so on and so forth. I feel guilty and frustrated when I forget that it’s normal for my focus to shift between all of the different moving parts that make me a whole. So when I woke up this morning with my sore feet and exhaustion, I remembered how important singing is to my sense of self. As I reveled in the tiny arms wrapped around my neck and spending an entire day with the kiddos, I came back to my mom focus refreshed and excited to gear up for the holidays with these beautiful little people who make my world go round.

We dove right into the holidays with the Santa rampage and the family concert at the symphony, and even though the kids were tired we all enjoyed the coming holidays. Dave ran out at naptime and got our tree, and we just finished hanging our amazing advent calendar from Micky and Kat, and setting up our Christmas pyramid that Dave got because I love the one I found for my mom so much.

Doing so many different things in my life means I am never the best at any of them, but having all of them makes me feel whole and makes me constantly strive to be better at all of them. So my big artistic push is done for the year. The rest of December will be about work and my beautiful family, as there is nothing cuter than Christmas in the eyes of little kids. As I watch Griffin reject Santa with giant eyes, and Lilou literally embrace him with open arms, I’m soaking in the dramatic and quick changes the kids are going through. Tess and Remy are jumping up-and-down with excitement, as they now understand what the cold weather and Christmas lights mean.

It’s been a year of new traditions already. We roped mom into our symphony routine, and plan on dragging her to all of them! She’s a willing victim. And we will also enjoy her company tomorrow when we decorate the house for the holidays. We are finding our low-key family fun, and are fluid enough with our lives at the moment that we can tip the scales as needed.

So I yawn gently as we wait for the kids to wake up from a late nap. Dave and I are beyond excited for a quiet night in after such a rowdy opening evening to the holiday season. As we light a fire and the kids open the first advent gifts, we feel only gratitude and good fortune for the ever-changing balance we are managing to strike as a family.