Tag: Upper West Side

Finally, Happy Halloween

In the rush and fury to get Julia to school on Friday after she fell to the lure of a large, brown, cardboard box and clear popcorn packing sheets from a delivery, the kind of magic no kid can fight, as we rushed and ran to the elevator and out the door so she could ring the bell and announce, “Time for Morning Meeting!” Julia’s class job for this week, I grabbed a colorful scarf from my closet to guard against the late October chill.

“I like the scarf,” my super said, as George greeted us outside our building, “you look nice, ready for Halloween.” I glanced down and saw the orange tails of fabric set against my black coat. Only then did I realize the day.

For many years, October 31st marked a solemn time, a new trail of tears to join a long, curved, bumpy road. This was day, two decades ago, I learned that the man I’d planned to marry had, after complications from pneumonia, died.

Art was 26.

The first few years I’d take time off from work and held up in a cocoon of mourning at home. It was an odd state of existence. As New York City revved up for its biggest party of the year, second only to New Years Eve, I curved and clasped on myself, on my hurt. For years I dreaded the hell of All Hallows Eve. Yet, this Friday I was reminded how differently I experienced Halloween, and nearly everything else now. It all came back to me when I read the Daily Word for October 31, 2014:

ENDINGS

I MOVE FORWARD INTO GREATER GOOD.

When we stand at the end of one life experience—the conclusion of a job or relationship, moving away from home, graduating from school, or retiring from a career—we remember that every ending is also a beginning. Saying goodbye to what has been, we welcome what will be.

We may be tempted to keep looking back, but once we turn our eyes to the path ahead, we find new opportunities awaiting us. We are beginning a new phase of life, a new way of fulfilling our purpose, a new way of serving God and the world.

In truth, we don’t leave anything behind; we carry it with us. As we bless our past, we build on all we have learned and continue on our life’s unfolding journey.

Halloween 1
Julia Treat or Treating, 2014

Halloween 2014 served as the launch of Julia’s costume; her candy procurement route; and my plan to stash the loot in our apartment before my kid hits the crack-sugar-zone. Mourning did even make the list.

“Time heals all wounds,” I’d heard from family and friends. But Art’s death left a crater-sized wound.

To become a mom I had to let go of the idea of marriage before motherhood, the belief that my mate would be by my side as we welcomed our child into the world, that I’d have someone to poke in the ribs when a cry pierced the stillness of the dark and say, “Honey, it’s your turn to go see about her.”

“You can have what you want in life, just not in the order society tells you,” my then shrink told me over and over again. I’m so grateful that I believed her.

*

On the way home Friday after work to pick up Julia and take her Treat or Treating, a baritone voice started up in the subway crooning,“A Change is Gonna Come.” The A, C and E trains seemed to still in relevance. The crowd stopped its shuffling for position on the platform. The chords echoed through the subterranean tunnels creating a chapel like atmosphere. This tune sung by Otis Redding or Curtis Mayfield, given the odd mood, can shape a walnut size lump in my throat and wetness my eyes I cannot blink back. On Halloween 2014, I settled into the song, into understanding that change does come, and some times it even brings along a measure of peace.

 

Little Drummer Boy? Nah, It’s All About the Little Cello Girl

After twenty plus years of living in New York City, I would like to  believe I don’t shock easily. I have kept a game face when the guy with the beat up saxophone comes into the subway train I’m riding in and proceeds to press all the keys with no rhythm, rhyme or reason, producing offensive honks and hoots to exort money…ah, I mean to elisit donations from passengers. I have managed to keep my head buried and focused behind a book when gymnastic, break dancers work their moves between subway stops, and passengers, landing inches from my feet. And in some cases, my lap. However, a recent photo sent by my nanny of Julia broke my streak.

The short of the long is, at the age of forty, I began studying the cello. I love its rich, lush sound—a tone my teacher once described as the closest in tonal quality to the human voice than any other instrument. While the act of playing gives me great satisfaction, I’m no Yo-Yo Ma. I just go at it in my living room, sans audience. And unless you’re hot-guy-single-guy, don’t even ask to listen in. In fact my daughter hasn’t seen or heard me play, for anther reason than shyness. Since Julia came into my life, my extra hours go to writing, not, at the moment, playing Bach.

Miss Julia's First Recital

So, a few Tuesdays ago, music class day on the Upper West Side, when a fresh new image landed on my iPhone, I didn’t even check it right away.( I was in a meeting.)  My phone always pings around 11:30, with an image sent from the nanny. But this shot made me gasp.

Look at that bow hand!

That posture!

I’d always had a little fanasty that one day, I’d play my full size cello, and my kid, a quarter-size model, that we’d create music together…seems like that vision is catching up to me. Sure, Julia might be sawing on might  a violin, and not a mini cello. Maybe. But either way it leads me to wonder what other tricks does Miss Julia have up her onesie.