Sunday, January 01, 2017

Snowballs...and a New Year!

Haley's life often tends to bring to my mind the image of a snowball rolling downhill picking up more and more snow and speed as it goes. Years ago I panicked a little inside during those times but I have mellowed a bit with age/experience.

There is no guidebook, path, or even others' lives to follow with what Haley has decided she wants to do. Without specific plans guiding her on this musical journey, it seems luck, fate, or God is a determining factor. Events, experiences, and performances yield other, sometimes seemingly unrelated, experiences and performances, leading to even more...the momentum sometimes seems to build exponentially.

She has had some amazing experiences that seem accidental or driven by fate/God...being invited by Mairead to perform on Irish TV with Altan when we happened to attend an Altan concert we learned about from a friend at the last minute while Haley was at camp a couple summers ago...winning All Ireland Championships in both her events the year we had originally planned not to go to Ireland...winning the Junior Fiddler of Dooney the year we chose not to do the All Ireland due to money issues but decided to go to Sligo in October because I happened to click on a random link about SligoLive and learned about the competition a couple months before and flights were half as much as in August....or her participation in Studio2Stage when the producers agreed to give her a chance even though she was three years younger than their age cut-off.

Other events and experiences are quieter/more personal but no less important in her life...playing with certain musicians in sessions, meeting people who later become very important in her life, spending time with friends, or helping out at fundraisers for charities.

People we have met through music have become wonderful friends and huge influences in Haley's. life. I can't even name them all without being afraid of leaving someone out. Some have taught her directly, mentored her, influenced her musically in other ways, had faith in her, given her a chance to perform, played music with her, encouraged her to compose, influenced her as a person, etc.... They come into her life at just the right time and/or interact with her in just the right way.  I will be forever grateful to them all!

Living life somewhat "on the fly" is uncomfortable for me, the consummate planner, but I am learning to accept it as part of our lives. It takes a certain day by day approach and is teaching me to make the most of each day and enjoy life as it comes. I should have known when my oldest made his surprise entrance into the world six weeks early that being a parent meant learning to go with the flow.

Sometimes we can plan especially in the short-term. Decisions are made to participate in certain events, take lessons with a particular teacher, buy equipment, learn certain pieces/tunes, attend a camp, etc…  Behind each decision is the parental (maybe mother's) worry about making the "right" choices. Sometimes I lie awake at night second guessing decisions and choices for all my kids.

I have found the older Haley gets, the less "all important" I view each individual decision and the more she guides those choices. She seems to have a vision in her head of what she wants to do even if she doesn't have all the answers on how to get there yet. She is an amazing young lady, beautiful in every way that matters. She constantly surprises me. I am so proud of her!

In the past few months, we have had some big decisions to make in Haley's life. Everything from high school planning to "music career" oriented decisions. I pray for wisdom in helping guide Haley on her journey. A few of these opportunities are up in the air and I have no idea how any of them will turn out or what other opportunities the future holds. I will certainly share details once plans are finalized.

2017 looks to be an amazing year for this young lady....

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