Monday, October 5, 2015

If it doesn't work for the family, it doesn't work.

Five years ago, Seth was suddenly ejected (read: fired) from his dream job.  It was a shocking and violent end to a short-lived but long-sought-after career.  Since the tender age of 14, he had dreamed of being a guitar tech for a major-label band (probably U2 at the time because, well, U2 in the 90’s), and the previous summer, he had gotten his big break as a touring guitar tech on a stadium tour with a major American band.  We had hit the big time.  Or so we thought.

It’s funny how things like “dreams” and “career paths” can be so damn blinding.  It’s funny how we can be willing to sacrifice so much for these things, especially when fame and reputation, or, in a different context, “God’s will” and “destiny” come into play.  The waters get very muddy and it can be difficult to actually discern the right path.  As Dante Alighieri so eloquently wrote nearly 800 years ago in his Inferno, “In the middle of the road of our lives, I re-found myself in a dark wood, for the right way was lost”. 

The day Seth left for this summer tour, our daughter, Harper, was 11 days old.  Fender was 2.5.  I was 100% on board with this family decision.  I totally expected this to pay off in the long run, and being a single mom for a summer seemed like a small price to pay for a chance of a lifetime.

About 3 weeks into this ordeal, I was cooking dinner.  The babies were downstairs watching Dinosaur Train.  I finally felt like I had a handle on my life as the shock of single motherhood had dulled to a silent throbbing pain, as opposed to the sharp, breath-sucking tear-jerker that it had been.  I was learning to cope. At some point I thought it best to check on the newborn who was (sort of) being watched by her slightly-older brother while I cooked, so I traipsed down the stairs absentmindedly.

And that’s how I broke my foot. 

Tumbling forward and down the basement stairs in a flurry of surprise and horror, I heard the bone snap, loudly, over the inane chatter of the TV and my own yelps if dismay.

Looking back, I wonder what idiot would willingly allow her partner to leave her for six weeks with a newborn and a 2-year-old.  I had no family in town and I was the only one of my friends at the time with babies.  Everyone else was kidless.  Gloriously kidless.  But I was so attached to the idea of my husband’s success in the music biz, so committed to our idea of success and “livin’ the dream” that I completely ignored common sense.  I just thought it would all work out eventually.  That our sacrifices would be well-rewarded down the line.

Nothing could have been further from reality.  A year later, after Seth missed most of Harper’s first year, the band fired him and all that sacrifice went up in smoke.  We were back at ground zero, our family and our marriage worse for the wear.  It was then that we began to learn the most important lesson of our lives:  If it doesn’t work for our family, then it doesn’t work. 

The months that followed that momentous firing are forever sealed in my memory as some of the best days of my life.  We borrowed a vintage trailer from a friend and hauled it across the country with our aptly named Honda Odyssey for 10 weeks.  It took that long to rebuild and re-connect.  It took that long to remember how to be together. 

In the years between that fateful summer and now, we have settled on this: no destiny, no career, no success is worth sacrificing our greatest treasure: each other.

It is, therefore, with great trepidation that we enter the music industry again.  I feel eternally grateful for that terrible and beautiful experience 5 years ago because it set us up to do our music the only way we can, the only way I want: in the context of family. 

1 comment:

Dawn Mercurio said...

I love you beautiful friend and am so proud of you both for pullin up them ther boot straps and dancin (aka trudgin) ur way back to musical bliss!