It’s almost Mother’s Day, so naturally I find myself reflecting on my own journey helping to raise our children. Thanks are due to my husband who set a great example for our daughters. They’re both adults now, and having dealt with everything from teething to teen angst, I find myself in a phase of motherhood I truly never expected. I am Band Mom, and it’s been a doozy of a journey.
What I didn’t anticipate, although both our girls loved music, was being part of the music business at an age when most people retire and travel, fish, or do whatever their spirit urges. I often find myself in bars, more bars than I ever visited as a college student or young adult. I am now an expert at festivals big and small. On occasion, when a band is in town and has no place to stay, we’ve opened our home to young people living their dream on a shoestring and passion.
I’ve served as roadie, although the girls do most of the heavy equipment loading and setup. We’ve been blessed to have many supporters come out to help them do this too.
The writing business was a challenge. I managed to freelance for many years and live my own dream. I learned the ropes, got accepted by the right organizations, and met goals I set early on. Nothing, however, prepared me for the assortment of skills musicians need to keep their livelihood afloat.
As Rebecca and Jennifer began to perform across the South, they began to see what is required to keep your band going. Social media, for instance, is a huge consumption of time, but very necessary. Taking a new song from composition and arrangement into the studio and then into the market is a gargantuan task. Keeping equipment in order, making sure regular mailings go out to venues, contracts for events and for companies representing your work are all part of the mix. That’s without answering emails, keeping up with taxes, stocking merch, and a host of other duties.
I often joke I’m the free employee. Or groupie. Take your pick. I find myself energized by learning intricacies of the industry. At an age when I originally thought I’d be sitting on my deck, gazing at the birds, snakes, and critters in our Florida backyard, and writing poems, I still keep a daily agenda and it seems there’s always another activity in store. I’ve sat through storms, gnats, cold, and heat at venues where they’ve performed in the same.
Throughout this process, I’ve met many young people (and some older folks as well). It’s been sheer pleasure to talk directly to youth, and I can tell you media have seriously misjudged our younger generation. Despite doom and gloom reportage, I feel confident those who receive the reins of power will do just fine.
My own mother often tells me to slow down. I guess I could but frankly, this is too much fun. Yes, there are days when I want to pull every single hair out of my head. But most days we’re talking music, working music, and living music. I’ve always loved music, despite forced piano lessons I took for years because my mother made me. I knew I’d never be anything but a writer, but those piano lessons were a blessing.
On the other hand, Jen and Rebecca chose their instruments and asked for lessons at an early age. I said the same thing to each girl. The first time I have to tell you to practice, lessons are over. It’s up to you. I never once told them to practice, and although it shouldn’t have been a surprise, when they decided to work at music, it was a surprise. My husband was more concerned about it than I was.
I remember telling him everyone thought I was nuts when left a dream job to freelance as a writer. It worked out well for my family and for me. I expect the same for our daughters.
So as moms around the country open all manner of gifts on Sunday, I will be counting my blessings. I am blessed to be part of their music endeavors, and doubly blessed by the songs they compose and record. Although I am no longer young, I don’t feel old. I am happy to be able to contribute in small ways to their music efforts, and it turns out my writing skills have on occasion come in handy.
We moms are blessed in so many ways. Although I didn’t anticipate being a mom when I was young, other than marrying my husband, having our daughters is the very best thing I ever did. And the hardest. May every mother have a wonderful time on our namesake day. Our children grow up and leave the nest, but they never leave our hearts.
(Kay B. Day/May 10, 2018)