Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to sing. And this girl- well, she was really damn good at it. So good, in fact, that she won awards, traveled the country, and performed in front of crowds of tens of thousands of people. From the age of six, she had dreamt of one day becoming a full-time professional opera singer.
Since most dreams only come true with a lot of hard work, she practiced hard, went to a top notch university, studied hard under brilliant (and world re-knowned) instructors, and seemed to be on the fast track to a brilliant career.
Then, one day, her world came crumbling down.
She found out that she was sick. And not a little bit sick. A lot sick. Sick enough that her training- and with it, her dreams of “stardom”- had to come to an immediate halt while she underwent treatments. Singing takes a LOT of energy, and sadly cancer sucks all the energy you have right out of you.
Now, this girl got very lucky. She survived her illness. She underwent treatments while she went to school in a new field, went on to have a wonderful career in business management. She met her husband, gave birth to a miracle baby and lives a quiet, peaceful life that she loves immensely.
She has no regrets. She harbours no resentment.
But sometimes, just sometimes, she wonders what could have been.
We’ve all been there, in the “Could’a. Would’a. Should’a Zone”.
Now, in case you haven’t figured this out yet, the girl in the story is me. Sometimes emotional stories are easier to tell if you can distance yourself a little from the subject.
It’s a happy story, despite its unexpected ending. But sometimes it is also a bit of a bitter-sweet story. Sometimes, just sometimes, I will hear a strand of being music and picture myself singing it, with a live orchestra and full costume.
In these moments, I remember how my heart came alive with music, how it pushed me to reach new heights that I had never believed we’re attainable. And in these moments, a soft, nostalgic song plays on my heartstrings, and I ask myself how I came to be so far away from all my child-hood dreams.
I still sing at church, which brings me great joy. And I love to play the piano, especially with Sammie on my lap. Music is still a huge part of my life. But I admit that I have been scared to fully open my heart up to it again. Music evokes so much raw emotion in me; it brings out a whole side of my personality that I had “chosen” to walk away from when I walked away from my career.
This “choice” has been bothering me of late. I call it a “choice” because I am finally coming to grips with the fact that- despite my illness- I did in fact CHOOSE to walk away. Granted, it wasn’t a choice at first. I really couldn’t train when I was doing treatments. I was constantly dehydrated, nauseous and exhausted. But, I’ve been done my treatments for over five years now (wow…) and the reality is that I chose to pursue different dreams, goals and paths.
I really hate admitting that. It’s a lot easier for me to say that I had to quit than it is to say that I chose not to go back, especially when everyone in the world expected you to be something that you aren’t. It’s much easier to have an excuse.
But I’ve decided that it is time for me to face the proverbial music and start being honest with myself about it, as well as honest with my desire to change it. I need to have music as a large part of my life, and I need to share my love of it with others.
I know that I don’t want to be a professional singer again. It is a lifestyle that I always struggled with, and frankly isn’t always realistic with a family. I love my business and I love my home. I have no real desire to be back on a performer’s schedule and be away all the time.
BUT…I have often considered going back to teaching music, especially to very young children. I loved being an instructor, and there is nothing I love more than watching children’s passion, imagination and souls come alive to the sound of music (cue Julie Andrews…). I have missed this part of my life for the past six years and have decided that it is time to make a comeback, so to speak, and to reconnect with the part of my heart that I’ve been ignoring for such a long time.
I am extremely excited to announce that I am officially the new Music program instructor for Gymboree Edmonton South.
I will begin teaching courses in January, on a part time basis (Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings). Gymboree offers courses for preschool-aged children of all levels, as well as family courses oriented towards multiple children. The program is deeply rooted in a “play” based philosophy and supported by sound early childhood development research, which makes my educator heart happy. (Learn more about the Music program here: Gymboree’s Music Program.)
The team at Edmonton South, which is headed by owner-operator (and dear friend) Dawn Angus, is simply fantastic and I can’t wait to be an ongoing part of it. I hope that those of you with young children will consider coming out and trying one of our complimentary classes to see if the Gymboree program is the right fit for you and your kids.
I can’t wait to join the Gymboree family and help spread the love of play and music to children across my community.