Natalie asks for Natalie

What a wonderful evening. Listening to music on YouTube or Pandora or iTunes simply does not even come close to comparing to listening to the music live, being played by an orchestra. What a wonderful evening. I am so thankful I was able to go once again to Royce Hall at UCLA. I am so thankful that my kiddos appreciate music and have the maturity and patience to sit through a two-hour performance. Sitting there with my mom, Jacob and Natalie tonight while listening to absolutely beautiful pieces of music was such a delight to my soul. Natalie had my left hand and my mom’s right hand on her lap with her little hands clasped into each of ours. That right there was a precious moment and made my heart overflow with joy for my Natalie girl. What a treasure and delight it is to her soul, I imagine, to have Mama on one side and Omie on the other side. She looked so poised and content and radiant. I love my baby girl. At intermission, just after having listened to Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2, with soloist Natalie Hoe, my Natalie asked me if there was any way she could meet her. I replied “I don’t know.” “Mama, can I ask?” “Sure, of course.” With confidence she walked herself towards the exit and asked an usher if she could please meet Natalie Hoe. That sweet woman didn’t know who Natalie was, considering she was outside of the concert hall the whole evening, having just filled her job of collecting tickets at the door. We continued on through the lobby. I spotted a young man with a musical instrument backpack on his back, he dressed in a white dress shirt with black bow tie. Bingo! He was someone we could ask. We asked if there was a chance we could possibly meet Natalie Hoe. He directed us to the double doors backstage and said we could go through there to meet her. So off we went down the hallway to the double doors. Standing in front of the doors was a man who I didn’t feel confident enough to walk right past. We asked him if we could please say hello to Natalie Hoe. He indicated there would be a reception now; seemed like a ‘no’ answer. Then to our surprise, the young man who we had initially asked, walked up to assist us in the moment and said that he was going to take us backstage to meet Natalie. Whoa! Wow! Amazing!!! So he motioned us to follow him and he took us back-stage. And there she was, in her beautiful shimmering gold-colored dress, her arms full of beautiful bouquets of flowers and her ever so sweet and gentle countenance. My Natalie was star-struck. Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 10.46.56 PMShe stared with joy at Natalie Hoe  and was delighted beyond delighted to get to say hello and compliment her on her music. What a delight. What a sweet moment for my Mama’s heart. My Natalie is going to go far in life with her confidence in asking questions. That leaves me with a beautiful feeling. She is only six. “Six” I tell myself over and over and yet she has the maturity of a sixteen year old. I love her confidence. Love it. Love it. Love it. I feel confident that in her life she is going to ask for help when needed and advocate for herself. She already does! Tonight was no exception. It’s moments like these that solidify in her mind the great joy that comes from not being afraid to ask. So glad she experienced that success tonight!

And my sweet Jacob. So often I wonder what goes on in his mind. Oftentimes throughout the day I hear him humming something. What music is it? I often think he lives in a world of musical thought that only now and then I break through with my voice. I picture musical notes dancing through his thoughts. He’s in some other world, perhaps composing music in his mind or perhaps imagining himself playing pieces he’s already heard. I don’t know. Maybe none of this is true. But the number of times in a day that I find him humming something leads me to believe otherwise. Tonight just after we had met Natalie Hoe, we stepped outside for some fresh air. Who walked right past us? Jefferson Friedman, the composer who was there tonight for the West Coast premiere of his piece “Sacred Heart Explosion”. Jacob got this ecstatic star-struck look on his face as he recognized him. “Say hello to him, Jacob” I encouraged him. But, no, he got so shy he started to say “Mama, you, you, you…..you say hi”. I called out to Mr. Friedman but he had already briskly walked past us. Too late. A lost moment. What would we have said, though? I honestly have no idea. What does one say to a living composer? Perhaps a simple “it’s a pleasure to meet you.” But that’s what I’m thinking of now, in hindsight.

As we walked back into Royce Hall and settled into our seats, Jacob turned to me and asked “Mama, one day can I be in this orchestra?” “Sure, Jacob. I don’t know how these young musicians get to be a part of this symphony group, but we can find out.” And indeed we will research it. I just have this feeling that music is going to be a lifelong love for Jacob. I sat there listening to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, watching Jacob out of the corner of my eye…..his eyes fixed on the musicians on stage. What was he thinking? I know what I was thinking? I’m so thankful for rich, beautiful music like this. I’m so thankful to be here with my children. I’m so thankful that my mother taught me an appreciation for music. I’m so thankful to be spending this evening here with one child on each side of me. What little grown-ups they were tonight. 🙂 My mama heart is so proud.

A six year old and an eight year old, sitting still and quiet with hundreds of people in Royce Hall for two hours! That was worthy of a fun and crazy treat! So off we went to Deede Riese in Westwood. The last time we came I treated them to a cookie each. This time we went crazy and each of them got an ice cream sandwich!!!! I know, I know- crazy! Two cookies with ice cream in the middle. The kids were over the moon with excitement. I was thrilled to shower them with thanks for being such well-behaved children. So, yes, this crazy mama stood in line for 45 minutes, in the line that took the full length of the block in Westwood to give my kiddos a treat for being such incredible children.

Feeling so proud and thankful for my children. It’s nights like these that I hope to tuck away into my memory forever. So thankful that music is a part of our life. So thankful that my kiddos love their musical education and look forward to nights like tonight.

Who knows what the future will hold! Perhaps one or both of them will pursue something with music. Just laying the foundation, one brick at a time, for an appreciation of music. Opening their eyes and ears to all that can be created in music. What a joy it is to be a mama and to expand your children’s world!

This mama bear is going to bed, with a full happy heart.

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