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ONTO THE FUTURE; A BACK TO SCHOOL STORY !

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The day had finally arrived. The day my son and I had been waiting in anticipation for. It was the beginning of Band Camp. But not just any Band Camp. This time it would be the beginning of his college career. To understand completely the full implications of this momentous event I will take you on our journey ( my son and I) over the past ten years.

My son Edward was in the fourth grade at the Sisson school. I transferred him into public school after his third grade teacher in a private school told me to go home and tell my son NOT to raise his hand in class anymore. It was, according to her distracting the other students. She said he knew all the answers and no one else was getting a chance to be heard. I informed her that i was NOT going to tell my child to refrain from answering questions. If she had difficulty controlling her classroom that was HER issue.

I was quite nervous about his transition into public school. But I need not have concerned myself at all. Within a few short weeks Ed had a best friend. This was already much better than the year before at the private school. All we heard about every day was his best friend James. It was one story after another about their antics in school.

In our city ,the fourth grade marks the introduction of musical instruments. I had thought nothing of it at the time. Ed was in the process of earning his black belt in Kenpo Karate. We were getting ready one day to go to karate after school when my son said these words to me; “Mom, my best friend James is going to play the clarinet and I want to play it too.”

That one sentence changed the fabric of my sons life. I had no idea until the first concert how committed my fourth grader really was. This concert marked the halfway point of the year and Ed and James had completed the first instructional book. Throughout middle school Ed and James played on in the band. It seemed at the time James was more into the music than my son .

In the middle of fifth grade I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My marriage fell apart as a result. At this point I was a single mother with a part time job who had to figure out HOW to keep my little genius going.Little by little his father disappeared from the picture. First he would show up late to a performance, and then not at all. I could see the look on my son’s face each time his father was absent. It nearly broke my heart!

All I could do was tell him how good he was doing and try to keep him on track. By the time high school was in sight, I decided it was time to have a talk with my son. I am not sure why I did this. I guess I have always felt as though Ed had something special inside of him. And I am only his guide, the one who was chosen to get him to his destination.

Before he started his freshman year of high school I told him ” Whatever opportunities are offered to you with music, we will take them. Do not worry about how I will afford these things, that is MY responsibility.” Freshman year he began playing two instruments; the clarinet and the baritone sax. By his senior year he was playing a total of seven instruments. Including his principal instrument the bassoon. If you do not know what that is do not feel bad neither did I. With the assistance of the school he was able to play all of these instruments because they were on loan to us.

Ed did exactly as I asked. When he had the opportunity to participate in the LIONS ALL STATE BAND, he did. He missed four days of school and had to make up all of his assignments when he got to back. When he was offered an opportunity to be a counselor at the DAY IN THE ARTS program (which is sponsored by the Boston Symphony orchestra) he did. He learned of a summer program in Boston offered by Harvard every year. The Harvard Summer pops program. He was 15 playing a clarinet at the Hatch shell. The same place they have the Fourth Of July fireworks each year.

He had no idea that all of these things that came his way I had prayed for. I used to and still pray for my son day and night. When I had to find a private BASSOON teacher I prayed a lot that day!! But I found one. It meant I had to eat a lot of pasta and bake everything from scratch. I could not afford any take out of any kind and there were times when the electric bill did not get paid on time. I remember one week, turning in all my empty cans in the basement to make certain I had enough money for gas to get us to the lesson. Then I wrote the instructor a check knowing I had a few days until he would cash it.

All of it payed off with the ultimate gift of a BASSOON of his own. I was getting ready to buy one. They cost a minimum of $8500.00.I had no idea how I was going to pay for it. I stopped worrying about those details a long time ago. Out of nowhere we received a phone call telling us that some one had heard of my son and was donating a BASSOON to him!

It was a long road to Ed’d destination U/Mass Amherst! And in the process I learned a lot of things about myself as well. I have more worth and can move mountains that I have never climbed. I am able to withstand much more than Cancer ever threw my way! My destination is still ahead of me, and my son is on his way! Instead of feeling sad when I dropped him off I was relieved! He was finally where he needed to be.

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One look at this picture told me so. He is the one in the grey shirt and yes he is a biracial child. His determination is what got him into a Division One school and will take him the rest of the way! Now it is my time to explore the things I have been working on for the past couple of years! Look out for me I might just pop up at a local event as a speaker! If I do I look forward to meeting with you!