I have a predicament.
I guess it’s not really a predicament.
But I’m finding myself faced with a situation that, back in my pre-kid days, I would have known exactly what the best, smartest, healthiest, right thing to do was.
Because you know everything there is to know about parenting before you have kids.
Then you actually have them and realize you know basically nothing.
I’ve always felt pretty strongly about following through with things you’ve committed to. About finishing what you’ve started. About not being a quitter.
I also believe that music is super important. I think it helps relax you, I think it helps you learn and I think everyone is happier with music in their lives.
I also think you can probably see where I’m going with this…
Number 4 started playing the saxophone last year.
She really liked it. And she was pretty good at it.
This year she has moved up to the middle school and she’s still in band but she’s not loving it.
And she asked me if she could quit.
My initial reaction is to immediately say no. To tell her she committed and she needs to finish out the year. Because when you start something, you finish it.
The next reaction I had was to think back to when I was in middle school.
I played the violin and the piano. I was pretty good at both.
But, as so often happens, I quit playing violin in 7th grade and then the piano shortly after that.
And yes, I am one of those people who regrets quitting.
Because I always wanted to be one of those people who could just sit down at a Christmas party or something and bang out a song and liven up the party or just impress people.
So my knee jerk reaction is to save Number 4 from regretting quitting.
If I’m going to be totally honest, I have also had daydreams about her being a taller, more beautiful Lisa Simpson, just whipping out her saxophone and playing some bluesy tune while she leans against a lamp post on a street corner.
I think, if I’m really going to be totally honest, the chances of that happening are kind of on the slim side.
The world does need more beautiful, smart, cool female saxophone players.
But it may be time to accept that Number 4 isn’t going to be one of them.
Anyway, I’m finding this to be another challenging part of parenting.
Do I insist that she continues?
Maybe she just needs more time to get used to playing with a different band and a different teacher.
Maybe she’s already got too many things on her plate and allowing her to get rid of one of them would be the smartest and healthiest thing for her to do.
I certainly wouldn’t mind not paying the rental fee.
But is allowing her to quit teaching her to give up?
Or is it teaching her to let go of things she doesn’t love to do without feeling guilt?
This parenting shit is hard.
But I do know Number 4. I know she is smart and mature (usually) and while she’s still a kid, she shouldn’t be forced to do something if it doesn’t maker her happy. She’s definitely driven in all areas of her life, and that drive comes internally. It’s not like she’s got issues with lack of follow through.
I think I just answered my own question.
So I think this is one of those areas, as much as it kills me, where I just need to let it go.
Let her make her own decision.
And I’ll just have to vicariously live out my musical dreams with one of the other kids.
Until they all quit.
Then I’ll just have to watch the Simpsons.