Friday, September 24, 2010

Love Letters to my Daughter

This month has been tough on Alice. We always have a little bit of a rocky transition to the start of the symphony season. As a "lonely only" she is spoiled in terms of enjoying undivided parental attention. Summers are especially luxurious because I am off of work for three months. Usually we ease into the season - a few rehearsals here, a few concerts there... It's never easy for Tim and Alice when my work starts in the fall, but it's usually more of an annoyance to them.

This year has been very, very different. It's the symphony's 75th anniversary season. We kicked things off about a week earlier than usual with rehearsals for Amadeus, a collaboration we did with a local theater. The schedule for Amadeus was pretty intense. I was gone most evenings, some days I was gone all afternoon and evening. This week hasn't been much better. Last night and tonight are our gala concert. From Tuesday through Sat we were / are scheduled for six rehearsals and two concerts. Its a lot.

It is great to be busy. The symphony is doing very well, which is something to be extremely grateful for in this economy. The schedule has taken a toll on my family, though. Last night as we lay in bed talking, I mused that Tim and I had only seen each other a total of about 5 minutes in 48 hours. He leaves for work just as Alice and I are getting up and I leave for rehearsal as soon as he gets home. He's stayed up a few nights waiting for me, but at some point you just have to get some sleep!

Poor Alice is not doing well with the sudden shift of schedule. She is about as flexible as a rock anyway, and this has turned her little world upside down. I see her a lot more than I see Tim, but it is a far cry from the luxury of summer. On more than one occasion I have had to pry her off of me as I've left for the theater. "Tell them you quit" has become one of her favorite phrases.

I started leaving her notes in her lunch box. Just short, stupid, silly things like "Roses are red, blueberries are blue, cookies are sweet, now go eat your sandwich!" She LOVES it. She carries them with her the rest of the day. Then she started writing me notes that I would find on my nightstand when I came home from rehearsal:
This is just a sampling. She is prolific in all things artsy, this included. Tim says that she writes them every night after he tucks her in because she misses me the most then. I love them, but having so many little cards and post-its floating around was making me a little bit crazy. They are not something that can be thrown out or recycled easily because if she found out it would greatly offend her. (And I can understand that because if someone threw out a love note that I had just written to them I would be sad and offended too.)

So I came up with a solution:
It is not a Bible. It's a blank book for us to write back and forth in. She writes in it and puts it by my bed, I write back and put it by her bed.
So far she is loving it. I am too. I am hoping this is something we can do for many years.

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