Because I had to tear myself away from all the glory and splendor that was the wedding-across-the-way (and yes, the scones were awesome, thankyouverymuch), my bleary-eyed self took the girls to their music class today. After all my immersion into the vicarious world of fascinators and morning suits and open-topped carriage rides (did you notice how Catherine–sorry, the Duchess of Cambridge–bowed her head every time her husband saluted? How often did they have to practice that?), it took me awhile to adjust to all the freedom and joyous do-what-you-will that is Music Together on a Friday morning.
I’ve been taking Saoirse–and now, the mighty Quinn, too–to this class since she was about a year old. It’s more of a music appreciation program, and quite honestly, I break a sweat every time I write the check for it, because it’s that expensive. But I can’t stop signing ’em up, even if it we can’t make our electric bill that month (no, I’m just kidding. We just stop using lights after 8 pm to compensate. Ha! Gotcha again). I’ve seen SK grow up in this class. There’s nothing like witnessing your daughter start to identify different instruments, and make up her own lyrics to songs, and boogie her little socks off like they do. There’s a new mom in this session who reminds me of how I was when we first started–a little self-concious about all the silly dancing, a little unsure. This mom asked me the first day after class, “Is it always, uh, like this?” What she meant was casual, and laidback, and free. And she wasn’t so sure if she liked it. I said that yes, it is. That that’s how the teacher wants it. And that the kids absolutely eat it up.
She’ll see. I do when Iook at my kids. They get to run around in circles if they feel like it (well, SK, I mean. Quinn still sort of just scoots and headbangs and claps). They can jump, and sing, and make up silly words. They can wiggle, and who, frankly, sometimes just wants an excuse to wiggle? At the end of every class, they rush to hug Miss Kathy, their teacher. And the whole time, they’re learning. Absorbing and processing and figuring it all out. And now, if at home a song pops on the radio, Saoirse can identify an electric guitar, or drums, or even maracas (not that Dave or I listen to a lot of music with maracas, but work with me, here). How cool is that?
I swear I’m not advertising this particular class. Honest. And it’s not even about the class. It’s about how freedom can still exist in a structured environment. It’s about how children are their best selves when they can explore the world on their own terms. Watching the wedding this morning (I promise you, I’ll stop going on about it after this. But did you see her dress? I know, right?), the commentators kept talking about how Kate Middleton is very much her own woman. And isn’t that the point of it all, why we’re here–to be our own individuals, learn at our own paces, run around in circles if the mood catches us? In 1855, Walt Whitman wrote about sounding his barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. Walt, Princess Catherine, these kids in music class: they’re all onto something, I’m telling you. Now, go ahead, get to it. Wiggle your socks off.