Years ago, when we took violin lessons from an intense, prestigious teacher, I pled with her to take four year old Xander on as a student. “I don’t know,” she said warily, “your boys have been great students, but parents tend to burn out by the time they get to the fourth child. I really prefer to teach first and second children.”
Not me! I insisted. I promised to exude the same dedication with all my children as I had with my first. And because she was/is a total sweetheart beneath the strict teacher exterior and we had become close friends, she agreed.
I lasted about a year. And in the middle of one memorable lesson, where I tried to calm Mary in the midst of her eighteen month long screaming fit, I confessed to not practicing with Xander for the entire month, burst into tears myself and we decided to part ways.
It wasn’t all bad. That change is what led all of my children to instruments and teachers that they loved and I slowly staggered back on the road to sanity (with more than a few detours). But one phrase haunted me–
‘parents tend to burn out by the time they get to the fourth child.’
I wanted each of my children to feel loved and cherished and well taught. But parents do burn out; our energy ebbs and wanes. And that is why I am profoundly grateful for a man that picks up where I leave off, that still plays giant squid on Sunday mornings and reads a story on nights that I am too exhausted to read Green Eggs and Ham even one more time.
We are his primary interest, his pride and joy. And that’s why he plies math worksheets on everyone who isn’t in Calculus and it’s also why he consents to sharing a birthday present with Xander– a massive Lego Technic Crane.
After opening it, they spent the entire afternoon assembling all 1123 pieces on Erik’s office floor.
Happy Birthday my darling man. You only get better with age.