2022 marks the 5th Anniversary of Music Together North Shore. FIVE YEARS. 60 months (Technically that was in January…so I’m up to 68…but who’s counting?!) However, this blog post isn’t about my anniversary (I’ll have more on that another day!), but about something crazy I realized today.
You want to know what I realized?
30 out of the 68 months I've been running Music Together North Shore, I’ve been operating my small business during a pandemic.
Despite the challenges this has brought, I am really, REALLY proud of myself for continuing to make music for every one of those months – never stopping for this stupid pandemic – not for one moment. We found a way to safely be TOGETHER, whether virtual, outdoors, or indoors.
I also feel proud that we created a safe space to gather as a community – and grateful that those who were less risk-averse followed the rules so all could enjoy this experience. Everyone’s cooperation enabled new parents to get out of the house for the first time with their babies. It enabled moms battling post-partum anxiety to feel somewhat OK leaving the house and getting that CRUCIAL social time. It provided a safe space for children and adults with underlying health concerns to be a part of their community.
And we’ve come SO far from those early days in March of 2020. There are vaccines! There are treatments! And so many people have already had Covid go through their household and so, it’s a little less scary.
But…I still feel there’s this imaginary line in my memory, dividing the “before Covid times” with the “after Covid times.” In order to “pivot” and “be resilient” (two phrases I’m so sick of, personally) as a business owner, I’ve had to change how I operate my classes. Masks, physical distance, less touching, more cleaning…everything feels more calculated and less “free.” And the worry of causing harm to one of my beloved families weighs HEAVILY on me, taking away some of the joy.
And GOSH I have missed the CLOSENESS. The physical closeness of tight circles, clapping hands together, flapping parachutes, sharing instruments, passing babies, 7 kids on my lap and long conversations over coffee
and treats after class. I miss scooping up your children in my arms and bringing them close during free dances. I miss holding your newborns while you indulge your toddler with 1:1 time. I miss the silly faces I’d make with the shy child who needed a little extra nudge to feel comfortable in class. And even though we’ve done a pretty amazing job of creating community, despite it all, I STILL MISS IT. I do.
The past few weeks, even with an impending surge of yet ANOTHER variant of Covid-19, I just said…I’m going for it. We’re all adults. We can make decisions. Vaccines are available. I need this.
I started a Babies-Only class at BlackBear Children’s Boutique, and we are close together every week and it’s the most precious thing I have ever seen in my entire life – 7 new parents with their adorable babies bouncing in unison.
I brought out the parachute for my classes and the children joyfully wrestled and ran beneath it together. We stood close and flapped that chute like crazy and had a blast.
My Rhythm Kids sat in a tight circle and clapped hands – and they did it PERFECTLY in unison! (I did bring out the hand sanitizer after this though…I have my limits – LOL!)
I brought out the gathering drums for my Mixed Ages classes and people who were strangers two weeks ago were shoulder to shoulder with their babies, beaming with pride and joy as their children enthusiastically banged out a rhythm together.
And there’s one precious girl in my Mixed Ages classes who insists on sitting on my lap the entire class…and her mom and I are both fine with this…and so there she is, with me, up front, for 45 minutes.
And you guys…I’m weepy over these small things. You may not have missed them – you maybe didn’t know what you were missing! But experiencing that TOGETHERNESS absolutely fills my heart and soul. Those images melt that hard-and-fast line that divides the “before” and “after.”
I’ll be honest with you all – I do NOT know what the right thing to do is, at this point, with the pandemic. It is certainly a relief that your children have access to the vaccine. I’m tipping towards the mindset of: “This is the way it is…forever” even though I hate thinking that way. But maybe that’s the healthiest way to think.
I am still following the CDC’s recommendations for indoor gatherings because I’m a “Science girl” and I have to believe the scientists know what’s best. But…I am going to keep the closeness, for all who are comfortable. I would rather not be out of commission for 10 days (again), but I’ve also put safeguards in place to ensure we can have an uninterrupted session should that happen. (HELLO “BONUS WEEK” AND WELCOME TO MY NEW TEACHER, MS. ANNE, WHO CAN SUB FOR ME - HOORAY!). I appreciate your continued patience as I work through these difficult decisions and try to accommodate everyone’s level of risk. I will always error on the side of caution, both as a business owner, and as someone who cares deeply about you and your children. But, weighing the risk/benefit of mitigation levels is something I am also taking into consideration as we move ahead.
I guess this is a long rambling post to say, I’m trying to take some baby steps (along with my little friends) to move forward, or rather, back to where we used to be. I invite you all to support each other as we take these steps and continue to honor and respect where our fellow music-makers may be on their journey. There’s a place for you, near or a little bit farther away – but we will continue to make music together, no matter what. You can register for the next session here!