Thursday, December 18, 2008

The sound of music

I crow-barred the children out of the house today to attend a free concert downtown at Central Presbyterian. A brass quintet was playing carols, and when we entered, I was in a huff because of a "conversation" (if you can call it that) my son and I had in the car about whether to take the entire summer off from homeschooling.

Let me just say that on the pendulum of things, this week has been really discouraging in terms of the gap between my ideals and hopes and dreams for homeschooling and the present reality, in which I forever feel like I am shortchanging ONE of the kids (usually one of the younger ones), the one who's technically "schooling" prefers to badger me for computer time rather than appreciating the fine literature and intellectual delights being served up in such a cozy atmosphere, and that same child thinks that leaving the house to go anywhere is tantamount to parental cruelty. So much for spontaneous outings and learning by living. Hmph. Please don't tell me that my ideals are too high; I've already heard it. You can send me consolatory hugs, though. I'd like that.

So my bruised soul sort of oozed its way into the sanctuary, found a seat where the children all miraculously stayed quiet and still for 25 minutes, and just paused to be still and listen. The music was ... well, transporting. Have you ever heard "The First Noel" played in a chapel by French horns, a trumpet and a tuba? Have its sounds ever swelled around you so that you have to close your eyes lest the tears sneak out? It's balm, folks, I tell you.

I sort of get grumpy around this time of year when I can't make my innocent way into a store without hearing some ridiculous pop diva cooing about Santa Claus or Frosty or whatnot in a way that's not only cloying but also vaguely sexy, if that's what does it for you. "O Holy Night?" Bring it on. The simple version. Fat red guys getting stuck in my chimney? Not so much.

But this, today, was just ... well... so uncommercial that they didn't even have a CD for sale. Unvarnished. Unfussy. Perfect.