Friday, September 10, 2010

Summer Replay

This morning I clicked on a document for the heck of it wondering what it was. I was intrigued by the title. Turns out they were the words to a new song my oldest is composing. As I read, I was overtaken by weeping. The song is about the seven year anniversary of his Dad's death. Very heartfelt, beautiful words. On their own, even without music they are amazing.

My son, in addition to being a fine singer, guitar, drum and sax player also composes his own music. I have hesitated posting any of his lyrics here even though I have been tempted on numerous occasions. Most of his songs deal with overcoming adversity and becoming a better/stronger man. The love songs he writes are odes to supporting his love and being there for them, not deserting them but standing by. The first song he ever composed was back in middle school and was about his Dad. It is a very touching, surprisingly mature piece that was one of his garage band's main lineup. Now he is a solo performer with a voice along the lines of John Mayer. I have felt his lyrics to be so good, I have worried about someone taking them. I think they're that good and I'm trying not to overly inflate his skills because I'm his mom.

Anyway, my son won a local talent contest this summer. He had wanted to go to Milwaukee to try out for American Idol but the local contest was at the exact same time and I felt in my heart that my son, although very good, is only 17 and would be competing against artists in their 20s. He lacks their experience and maturity. So I pushed for him competing in the local contest, which he won. He performed an original piece and blew the judges away. One of the comments underlined three times was "You are very talented!" along with similar phrases. The fact that the song he composed and performed was so good was what got him the most praise. He has a great voice, excellent stage presence, is nice looking but boy can he write.

So now he is on to the next stage of the contest which is state-wide, held in Springfield in the winter. We'll see what comes of it. It means more exposure for him. At this point, he has enough original material for an entire CD of his own. Maybe for the heck of it we'll go ahead and get him on YouTube like all these other young singers. In my opinion, what sets him apart is that not only can he sing cover songs, but he writes his own material. Songs that have real meaning and can inspire people to do good things, live better lives, be more appreciative of what they now have. I just called my son who got out early from school to ask about this song. I asked him if he writes the music or words first. He told me the music first. I then asked him how long it took him to come up with the lyrics - only three days (and not much time on them that I can tell because he only works on them in his little spare time after school, football, seeing his girlfriend and homework. Wow!).

So the talent contest win was a nice aspect of the summer. Along with that there was football camp which is the entire summer for us, not just a week or two in August. Both boys played well on a summer baseball league, but my oldest was often absent for football and it was the youngest who made every game (the only one of the team of 16 players to do so) and he shone with his athletic skills. My youngest decided to quit football midway through the summer declaring that his heart just isn't in contact sports and he refuses to participate in a sport that isn't fun or meaningful for him any longer. I was proud of his decision which he spent a great deal of contemplation over.

My oldest participated in a volleyball camp and did work as an ump for the local little league until his sports schedule was too hectic. My youngest took a crazy condensed three-week driver's ed class and was one of the few who passed at the end, driving well enough to earn his license through the class so now after the nine-month waiting period he can just get his license instead of having to go to the DMV and take the driving test. I was so proud of him because I didn't have a lot of time or the gas money to let him practice much besides his drive time in the class.

As for me, I worked the entire summer consolidating and moving three storage sheds at three different locations into one location. It was grueling and a hellish job and mostly accomplished by myself because the boys were at school much of the time. I still need to go through stuff and get rid of things but at least I now have better access since this is an indoor facility, whereas before, I wasn't able to get to the sheds in the winter months.

So, all in all, a pretty full and rewarding summer. I try to focus on this when I debate whether we should have moved in with Sam or stayed here for the remaining years of high school. Now, with school newly started I am proud of my oldest playing football and he just made the Show Choir. He wanted to add a vocal group to his experience for his college applications and was sought out to join by the teacher adviser. She told him he was the best male singer in the group and would be given a solo. My youngest is performing in the Powder Puff Football male dance team like my oldest did last year and it was just hilarious! I'm glad he is doing it because he is less outgoing and a bit on the shy side compared to his older brother. He has also joined the Key Club, which I'm not exactly sure about what they do, but he says it is good for his experience. Both boys want more than just sports as their high school activities. My youngest also got a job on the weekends as part of a set-up crew for local fairs in the area.

They are great boys and I have to focus on that and them during these tough times. The decisions I've made have been with their best interests at heart and I can't lose sight of that and must keep in my mind the bigger picture.


  1. Wow! You have amazing sons who have a wonderful mother. You're doing a great job of focusing on them. Sometimes, that's the only thing that gets us through each day, isn't it?
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for your encouraging words, appreciated from another mother. Yes, I am right with you - sometimes focusing on the kids is the only thing getting me through and not giving totally up.

  3. Oh my, that post is a beautiful ray of sunshine. Your boys are amazing. From the Mom of older children, I can only say that it is only going to get better from here!! You have so many rewards to reap, but for today, you can savor right where they are. So happy.

  4. I know things have been tough, but you have things to be thankful for -- your sons; and proud of -- working hard, organizing, putting your sons first, and keeping on going in spite of the bad. You have done a GREAT job! Don't stop! You are making progress even if it doesn't feel like it. Your sons will one day say, if they don't already, thank you mom, you were so strong for the family!

  5. Cape Cod Kitty - Thank you for sending some sunshine my way with your sweet words.

    Beth - It would be nice for my sons to someday realize and acknowledge the struggles I endured for them. But it doesn't really matter because what I do for them is out of love and even sympathy for their losses. And part of it too, is not having much choice but to go on in spite of the bad and trying at least to give the boys happy high school memories as popular students. We are poor and are doing without, but they'll always be able to look back on good memories of their school days.

  6. Wow, you have really achieved an enormous amount over the summer! I can't believe you did all that stuff with the storage sheds, it sounded so overwhelming!
    I think you did the right thing about Idol as there is plenty of time for that, and he would have had to put his schooling on hold for the duration.
    My children are a bit older than yours, and there are no guarantee that they will show their appreciation, but we don't do it for that. We want them to have the best lives possible, and you are doing that under difficult circumstances, so cheers to you!!
    p.s. my son is a singer too, he is studying classical singing at university!

  7. Julie - Like you, I seem to feel that I have slipped and I think a lot of it was because of working on those blasted storage sheds all summer long. The whole thing made me very down and dispirited and I couldn't seem to harness any positive energy around it. Hopefully, life will move upward from now.

    I too, feel it was okay my son waited to try out for a national contest. We have so much on our plates right now as it is I simply could not see myself handling an event of that magnitude (even just going to the audition).

    Tonight is the parent meeting for my son's high school show choir, and that is plenty for us right now. Good things come from whatever effort we put into them, even those on a smaller or local level. My son also told me just last night that he wants to concentrate on vocal music in college. I just pray I can get him into college, like your son.