Laughter and Weeping


This piece of sheet music has been lying on or near our piano for a couple of weeks. It’s an old piece Middle dusted off to work on with her voice teacher over the summer, “Lachen und Weinen,” translated “Laughing and Weeping.” She’s always loved to sing Schubert’s lieder…and the title is appropriate in so many ways.

Because there’s been a lot of swinging between laughter and weeping around here – mostly, but not entirely, figuratively.

For Middle, there’s the excitement of starting her professional year in the school of education, and atually being in a classroom. Sadly, though, the work involved will probably mean the end of voice lessons after ten happy and successful years. And there are also some returning health challenges trying to bring her down. But she’s hanging in there and showing the world just how awesome and tough she is.

Our boy has had his share of laughter and weeping since he returned to college almost three weeks ago to be a Resident Assistant in his dorm. He’s loving the work, and loving being back in close proximity to his girlfriend. He’s been offered a job singing in a church choir under his most favorite member of the music faculty. Good stuff. But two events this week have rocked his world. First there was the murder of a student whose body was found in the parking lot of the dorm he lived in his first year. Then came the news that one of his new friends, another RA who he’s spent a great deal of time with in the past few weeks, has been charged with a felony in an extremely tragic case that indicates severe trauma in her personal life. Pretty weighty issues for a 20-year-old to work through.

There’s happy news from Oldest. She texted me with great joy yesterday because she’s finally managed to find a place that could do reliable repairs on her viola bow. With so much work to do in her doctoral program, so little time, and no transportation beyond renting a Zip car, she hasn’t been able to play for a year, and has missed it terribly. Her other joy to share was that she’s started on a paper with her lab P.I. (primary investigator – the guy in charge of her lab and guiding her research) that they expect to publish down the line.

And then there’s me. Missing two of these amazing people like crazy. Laughing and weeping with them along the way. Adjusting to a new paradigm as The Husband settles into a new job (the necessity of which created a TON of weeping for me, though there turned out to be a happy ending). Rising to new challenges and a packed schedule at work.

And that, I suppose, is life.

Our three darlings with their private music teacher, who instructed them in piano and voice and led them to succes in many auditions and competitions for a combined total of 22 years.

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9 thoughts on “Laughter and Weeping

  1. Sorry to hear about all the turmoil. When I was in college, a student was murdered, and I remember how much it shook the entire campus — it was the most shocking event most of us had ever encountered, in the pre-9/11 era. (Oddly enough, what “healed” the campus the most was a virulent round of the flu, and students focusing on caring for each other physically because of that. However, I’m not going to wish that on your son!) And for your son to be grappling with it while a friend faces serious criminal charges must be truly upsetting.

    Sorry to hear it’s end of an era for your daughter’s voice lessons as well. I hope the professional year nourishes her spirit in some ways that make up for that loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Things keep changing, the kids keep getting older and more mature, and I’m struggling to keep up. But it helps that they handle their lives so well. I’m certain you’ll find the same is true for your son. 🙂

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  2. As much fun as it was to have them around, it is an honor to watch them navigate adulthood with the lessons we teach them. So sorry to hear about the major events happening in your son’s life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think he’s handling it pretty well – his main concern is that others will judge this girl harshly. I’m just so sad that she got into a situation where she felt she had no one to turn to. Which comes full circle to the honor it is to see our own kids navigate life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Never took a vocal lesson in my life. My off-pitch voice will tell you as much. I did, however, do 7 1/2 years of band (three years in middle school, four in high school, and a half semester in college). I thoroughly enjoyed playing different styles of music, I think jazz and swing were my favorites to play!

    I love hearing about other people’s families, how things really are. Because you are right. It is somewhere between laughter and weeping. It’s a roller coaster ride. Your kids must have awesome parents, because they all seem very bright, accomplished, and well-rounded. I love the picture of them with their music teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, band! I played piano and sang in choirs, but band instruments are just beyond my comprehension.
      Yes, always a roller coaster ride, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! 🙂

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