by Basia Danilow
With Mother's Day fast approaching, I've been thinking quite a bit about the specific parenting challenges we face as musicians. This was really on my mind as I observed Carrie on our most recent tour to CA. She was winding her way through the airport, cello strapped to her back, baby strapped to her front, pushing a stroller and lugging a bag besides. I couldn't help thinking, "WOW...this is rather a unique sight!" Of course, my first thought was really, "I'd better help and grab a bag or a baby or something fast!"
With seven baby Larks between us, ranging in age from the oldest at twelve to the youngest at 4 months, the ladies of Lark are very familiar with balancing a busy performing schedule with family life. There are late nights followed by early mornings, individual practice time, long rehearsals and then racing home for homework and after school activities, getting dinner on the table perhaps followed by yet another late night and a long teaching day. When we travel, we must make sure everything runs smoothly in our absence.
Most fortunately, we all have wonderful and supportive husbands. (Don't forget, Father's Day is next month!) We are also all in a similar place in our lives so we share an innate understanding of the needs of our children and families. Balancing the intensity of quartet life and our lives as musicians in general with these needs, can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is truly a blessing to have colleagues who "get it". If one of us arrives at rehearsal bleary eyed after lack of sleep due to a sick child, teary eyed because of some difficult situation with a child or overjoyed at a child's success... we "get it". While rehearsing and focusing on our work, the undercurrent of understanding is there, and so much appreciated.
I've often joked that once you have kids, you find out how talented you really are. One of my colleagues responded to this the other day by pointing out that actually, that is when all those endless hours of practice really come into play! I think it is probably the combination that serves us well. We still work very hard with many hours of preparation, practice and rehearsal, but our perspective as parents makes us less likely to sweat the small stuff. If we add to this the remarkable way in which our children open our hearts, our music making can only be enhanced.
This Mother's Day, I'd like to salute musician Moms everywhere and in particular, my wonderful colleagues and fabulous Moms, Debbie, Kathryn and Carrie.
Happy Mother's Day girls!