Music, Sweet Music

Right before bed, I had a novel idea. I sent my friend, Vicki, a text, and asked if she could chat while I drove across town for two doctor’s appointments this morning. It worked. So, I sipped coffee and chatted with my friend as I drove through rush hour traffic. 

The hour and a half commute passed much faster than normal and had me in a good mood even before I received good news. For one, the stress fracture in my left foot has healed. While some swelling remains, the doctor promised it should subside in another month.

As to my right hip, I spent time in an updated MRI machine last week. Clear images confirmed a low-grade partial tear of my right gluteus medius tendon. Since fuzzy pictures from the MRI in June had left the extent of the tear in question, the concrete diagnosis settles things.

I’ll have a back fusion on November 12th. And if the hip pain continues, I’ll undergo a laparoscopic procedure to smooth ragged fibers next year. 

While there’s probably more to say about all of that, I want to share something I wrote for another blog on my birthday two weeks ago. Between a friend’s recent medical crisis and eight family birthdays, words fail me tonight. But they didn’t on October 11th…


My heart is bursting. Not only is it my 49th birthday, I’m sitting in my son’s high school chorus room, waiting to practice the two-part piano accompaniment to a piece he’ll conduct at the Milton High School chorus concert next Tuesday. 

Just call me a legal helicopter mom.

I stopped at Starbuck’s on the way for a morning boost and bought him some hot chocolate. Five minutes later, I parked in a handicap space, pulled my walker from the back of my car, and set my lap top case on its seat. Only then did I realize I should’ve asked for a drink carrier. Without one, I balanced a full cup in both hands while pushing my walker forward. 
As I approached the front door, two tall, football looking high school students held the door. 

“Thanks for your help,” I offered. “I look ridiculous.”

“Not unless you’re faking,” one replied.

“Oh, I promise I’m not faking.”

With that I entered the grand foyer and found the front desk. “I’ve never been here before,” I started.

“Never? Then I need your driver’s license,” the volunteer replied.

After looking it over she asked, “Is today your birthday?”

“Yes!” I smiled. “And I get to share it with my son.”

“Who’s your son?” she inquired.

“Nathan, your assistant choral director.”

Since I’d dressed in sparkly butterfly jeans I rarely wear, I wasn’t surprised when she exclaimed, “You don’t look old enough to be his mother!”

While complimented when strangers share that sentiment, it always stirs a funny feeling. I look young, but see through prism lenses others assume are simply distance correcting glasses. My smile is real, but I’m counting the days till a third back surgery will help relieve some of the pain that had me wincing all morning. My heart is bursting, but mostly because it feels like such an accomplishment to just be here. An hour from home by ten in the morning.

And who can forget that only a few hundred miles from here, thousands of people woke to the reality that a hurricane just washed their lives away. Their homes. Their livelihoods. Their way of life. 

Yes, the unpredictable nature of this world can leave us on edge. But today, on my birthday, I sit in a choral roomin a coffee stained shirtsurrounded by voices that bring me to tears. 

Perhaps, if we all sang our dissent, the cacophony of sound would prove bearable. 

So, even as chaos surrounds, I celebrate harmony. Voices lifted in unity. Voices with differing opinions about life, liberty, and all that makes our democracy work, that when joined together create bouncing overtones that distract from back pain, vision issues, and coffee stains.

Thank you, Milton High School Choruses. And to all those who make music that soothes our weary souls. 

From our performance the following Tuesday night: 
Joy by Hans Heruth

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