When did my escape become another chore?

In the first months of this year, I found myself covering a lot of evening events for work, doing a little travel, and struggling to work doctor’s appointments and tests (because of the pregnancy) into already full-to-bursting days.

How I’ve been feeling lately

Because of all this, I got out of the habit of going to Monday night rehearsals for the local community band I’ve played in these past few years, wanting to make sure I spent as many evenings with Lily as I could. 

“No big deal,” I thought. “I’ll start going to rehearsals again when things get back to normal.”

When my evening schedule lightened, the band was in final preparations for two concerts, so that didn’t really seem like the right time to go back, either. I thus continued with my hiatus, telling myself that I’d simply give myself a couple of more weeks off.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I had a light reviewing week, and the band’s concerts had just happened.

Yet when the moment arrived for me to leave our house for rehearsal, I didn’t go.

I felt kind of guilty, and more than a bit lame, questioning why I could no longer work up the gumption to go to what had previously been an important regular escape for me.

For I’ve played trombone since I was 11, and in many ways, this ridiculous little hobby has been a boon to me. So many of my longtime friends, as well as my husband, came into my life as a direct result of my playing this bulky, awkward instrument. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed playing in groups and making music, even if it’s at a less-than-professional level.

I’d played in the local community band for a year or two before getting pregnant with Lily, attending rehearsals and playing concerts until shortly before her arrival. (I wondered then, as I do while pregnant again now, what the trombone sounds like from the inside of my body. It must be bizarre – but really, what wouldn’t be bizarre while packed into someone’s stomach?)

As I remember it, I returned to the band at about the time my maternity leave ended. In that moment, I often felt harried and overwhelmed by my new motherhood, and the adjustment back to work presented its own challenges. So playing in the band was a small gesture toward turning back toward the familiar, and the person I’d always thought of myself as being.

For those two hours every Monday night, this worked almost exactly as I had hoped. Joe had encouraged me to claim that time for myself, and I slowly began to feel like myself again – or, at least, like something other than a constantly exhausted milk machine. Which was progress. Continue reading

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