Recently, I headed to the beach to recharge and reconnect with the sun and sand. The beach is my happy place, and I am so privileged and grateful to have access to a little cottage by the sea. I’ve had a dream to live at the beach since I was a young child, and this year I was planning to spend the summer there for the first time in my life.
Simultaneously, my daughter has been chasing a dream of her own, to march cymbals in Drum Corps International. This was an intimidating goal, given that she was young, lacking an extensive percussion background, female in a guy-dominated world, and chasing a highly competitive instrument due to the shrinking number of corps that include cymbals.
I watched her plan over several years, gathering knowledge, attending competitions, and observing others. This past November, she gathered her courage, signed up for auditions, admitted her goal to her friends, contacted mentors for advice, then headed to auditions.
The audition process involved traveling 6 hrs. by car, sleeping on a gym floor, practicing past midnight, and competing against college kids with years more experience. She came back from audition camp bruised, sore, and exhausted, but also exhilarated. I never realized what a workout cymbals could be!
Several months and several camps (and long car rides) later, she got word that there would be no contract for her this year. She was obviously sad, but understanding that big goals take work and time, and she was on the right path. Several months went by until she heard of another opening. This was when the magic happened.
She expressed to me how much she wanted to try out again, but also how scared she was. Trying out involved risk. Risk that she would fail a second time, risk that she would feel embarrassed in front of her friends if she did not get a contract. I advised her that failure could certainly happen, and that was the struggle she was going to have to accept if she wanted to reach that big goal one day.
As a parent, we want to give good advice to our children. We want to protect them, but not shelter them from struggle in life. I suggested that she acknowledge her fear, but instead focus on listening to her heart. My advice was, ‘Close your eyes, and imagine you make the corps. Does your heart feel joy, and if so, that is your answer.’ Let’s just say the decision was made pretty quickly thereafter, so we packed up the car again, and headed to the next audition camp.
This story ends with my daughter getting a contract, applying at the midnight hour for a cymbal scholarship (another big goal of hers), and finding out this week that she is one of the scholarship recipients. As you can tell, I am a very proud mama!
So my most recent trip to the beach was spent packing up my things, cancelling my summer stay, and reflecting on how I will now spend my summer driving up I-95 to New Jersey, New York, and across the Mid-Atlantic to drum corps competitions.
Sometimes the Success Cymbal isn’t sitting on the beach with your toes in the sand. It is working hard, taking risks, and chasing your dream. Passion is contagious, and I could not be happier to be embarking on a new family adventure. The beach will still be there for me when the drumline season ends.