Tonight was the Yo-yo Ma/Silk Road Ensemble concert for Ken and I at Blossom Music Center. It was kind of last minute-ish as I only really noticed anything about it this week. We managed to get lawn tickets, and kids under twelve are free on the lawn for Blossom Festival shows, so it was a great cheap evening and come on- kids need to see great cellists, right?
I'll admit it was about 180 degrees from what I had expected, but it was spectacular none the less. Yo-yo Ma- my original reason for wanting to go- was there mainly as a concert master and for one encore piece only. The show was very much about his Silk Road Ensemble, a group composed of a whole range of ethnicities, cultures, and musical traditions, all sharing the common thread of being somehow associated with the historic Silk Road. Inspiration for their compositions range from traditional Chinese songs, to Persia, to gypsy to Greek influences. Lots of traditional instruments like the khaen (or a relative), the gaita, the pipa and the tabla. Really, it's fusion music to the Nth degree.
There's no hiding the fact that this summer has been difficult for Ken and I. Two passionate individuals with a healthy dose of obstinance in each, and very different goals for their time together. To say we butt heads periodically is the understatement of the year. Lately, with my time even more limited due to teaching, it's been getting worse. I approached tonight with at least a little trepidation, especially considering how the day started at home. The start to the day include blatant disobedience and much intentional button-pushing.
Come 7:30 PM, we were settled on the lawn at Blossom and discussing the evenings events. He had some time to unwind (read- go crazy) and the show started at eight. As soon as the music started, it was like a switch was flipped. He was listening intently, and asking questions (quietly, even!), staring in rapt attention at the performers. He was describing what images the music brought to his mind, and the images tied in to the actual descriptions we had read, showing that he most likely paid attention to our conversation. It was a magical and Earth-shaking night, and something of which I was in desperate need.
I never imagined myself as a mother. My image of motherhood had been so broken after dad died, I was positive that my being in that position as primary care-giver and nurturer would be a disaster. Now I can't imagine life without the title of "mama" or "parent" being part of my experiences. Being a parent is a beautiful, horrific, devastating, uplifting series of events. It's the thrill of discovery and the joy of true love and the humility of an education all wrapped into one day, or even a few moments. It's the only thing I can think of that is every bit as tortuous as it is ecstatic, with a fair share of flat out disgusting thrown in for good measure.
That's why I do what I do. Every person that desires it, deserves to have the experience of parenting. And I, admittedly selfishly, enjoy being a part of that process. I like helping others get to that point. Surrogacy and egg donation are often described as "journeys" and they very much are just that. Just as a shirpa guides travelers to go where they wish, surrogates and egg donors assist others attain what they want. It's a struggle for all involved, their are extreme physical demands, and their may be bumps, and the outcome may be less than what was intended, but together all parties involved walk side by side and help each other navigate the path.
That journey continues into parenthood, with the parent and child taking up the hiking staffs. Ken has risen to the challenge of me, and I have risen to the challenges that are parenthood. We have stooped down to pick each other up when we fell. And together we continue- up and down, right and left, creating a dance that is every bit as creative and destructive and just as important as the dance of Shiva and Kali. Together, we have grown a hundred feet taller than I ever thought either of us could be. I would not be the person I am today without him, and he would not be the person he is without me- for better or for worse. All I can do is fight the human parts of myself and try my best to ensure that there are more notches on the "better" side than the "worse" side of the equation. All I can do is try my best to help him to be better than me, and to leave the world a little better than we found it.