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Like many people with a brand new baby, I have this new lease on life. The beauty and creativity of bringing a child into this world: carrying/growing him, birthing him, nourishing and attending to him, and then watching him GO!… it’s all so spectacular.

And after a brief period of mourning about having to go back to work so soon, I decided to see my work of performing as a blessed opportunity. How great to get to share music and a vibrant community of music lovers with my brand new boy! I GET to make music while also enjoying my expanded new family.

So, here I am: overjoyed with my new family. Content and grateful about my career and looking forward to going back to work. I imagined having these transcendent first shows back, reaching out to our wonderful audiences in deep new ways.

What a shocker the first few shows have been! It turns out that I have allowed some of my same old distractions (and lots of new ones) to keep me from being fully prepared and present when I hit the stage. My playing/singing lacked polish. My stage banter wasn’t as elegant and easy as I’d assumed it would be. Plus, I let my friend who’d been holding my son in a sling during the show hold him onstage for the Encore last night. While I got ready for bed, I kicked myself for not holding baby Nigel myself, out of the sling where the audience could see him…

Um, in the light of day I can see the simple Shannon-specific steps to take next time around:

  1. Build in transition time/warm up time after handing son off to caregiver before going onstage.
  2. Choose one person to perform for (imagined or actual) to jump start my focus. My thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Kerry Dexter for chatting about this one today!
  3. When things don’t go as hoped/expected, let ’em go right away.
  4. And… embrace the decision to not use my baby to entertain our audience!! Unless Nigel is awake and really needs ME to hold him (and becomes part of the act by default), he is just a baby and does not need perform for anyone at any time.

Three steps forward, two steps back. That’s progress, howsoever slow and annoying and disappointing. It’s tough to be patient with myself; but with a kid in the mix, I have renewed incentive to become more forgiving and patient–with him and myself and others. Little by little the bird makes his nest. And little by little, this frog is building a calm, beautiful life for herself and all the little peepers in her life…

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting