I am driving our van toward my second Christmas concert of the day (third if you count this morning’s rehearsal), when I become aware that I don’t have Youngest Daughter on board. At the moment of realization, I am at the rink picking up Second Oldest from ice-skating junior’s, as I have just left piano lessons with Youngest five minutes prior. I also am in a semi state of consciousness after having been at the rink for synchro and Can-skate for the past two hours. The cold air and craziness of the day are just starting to settle in. Since I have just ordered two pizza rolls (It is Rink Fry Wednesday- supper for the jet-set) for the One freshly off the ice, we are good to go. I begin loading skates inside the back of the van. All the while, I am trying to rush because Oldest Child is playing his first trombone musicale rendition of three Christmas carols in a matter of minutes. So, to say we are in a hurry is an understatement.
As the Missing Child in question has already incurred a mishap today, things are looking grim. (I sent her to daycare but failed to inform the daycare provider she was coming. So the bus driver radioed the school, but due to the Christmas concert mayhem, the radios had been turned off. As a result, he had to turn around and drive Littlest One back to school sans school approval and hope for the best. I met her crying in the hallway. She ended up watching a dreadful Caillou Christmas movie on the projector while I cleaned up the after-effects of a tornado that hit my classroom this afternoon) Needless to say, at this very minute I am on high alert.
“Where is she?” I scan the back of the van for signs of life amidst the rubble. We are truly pigs. Garbage, bags, books, shoes, remains of food in various stages of decomposition and bookbags lie helter skelter. Second Youngest One is playing DSi, oblivious to my panic in the backseat. And I ask again, “Where is she? The Littlest One?”
My wise Second Youngest barely looks up from her game. “Mom, you left her at piano lessons, remember?”
And then I realize. I do truly have Alhzeimer’s. But of course. I had just five short minutes ago arranged for my friend to drive her to the last event of the evening, where I would meet the entourage at the door. And this, my friends, is why I might look like I know what I am doing. But I really don’t.
Here’s the thing. My life is nuts. Insanely nuts. I live my life on the brink of insanity. I do things no normal person would ever do. For instance. On Sunday, I played the piano for accompaniment with the congregational singing, as I usually do. But prior to the service, the Pastor came up to me and asked me if I knew how to play a certain song for the closing hymn. Sans music book. By memory. Without chords. Of course, I said “I’ll try it!” like I don’t have enough stress, impulsivity and general lack of chaos in my life already. Plus, I really need a thrill right about now, so why don’t I try winging it for the last hymn and see if my blood-pressure doesn’t sky-rocket. Yeah! That would be fun!
So, I worry and fret about it for a while, I try to piece together the chords, then I realize that the Pastor is looking down on me from the pulpit as it is 11:01a.m., and the service should have begun sixty seconds ago. I then do what any normal person does under pressure. I embrace the pain. I re-live again and again in my mind how embarrassing it will be when I fail at this song. I imagine just how far into the song I’ll get when I’ll begin to crash and burn. But suddenly, I am struck with a plan. I will somehow find a way to get to the pastor’s daughter to sneak into her Dad’s office during the service and download the music for me from his office computer. It is at this moment that I finally start to relax.
Only thing is she isn’t able to get the music to me in time. And it is with great trepidation that I begin playing the closing number at the end of the service without the confidence of music in front of me. At the beginning of the song, I do okay for the first couple of bars. Then things start to dwindle out as I only know so many chords (I did only have five minutes warning prior to the service). I realize I cannot possible keep going, so I stop playing the piano. And I begin to sing along accapella. Only the further problem is that I have started the song off in a very low key so that only those who sing bass can continue on with me. I totally drop the ladies like a hot potato. At the end of each verse, even I cannot hit the notes, so I improvise and create a whole new melody for the piece. It is unrecognizable to its original version, but that is okay. I am in survival mode now, and I am no longer looking at anyone. I am just singing bass. With the men. No woman ( except for those who happen to be heavy chain smokers) would be able to sing these notes. Thanks goodness I have asthma and my voice has changed, or even I wouldn’t be singing these keyboard tones right now.
And again I say. I might look like I know what I am doing. But I really don’t.