As parents or hopeful parents we spend countless hours thinking about what our unborn fetuses will become. Will they be a doctor, an accomplished athlete, a singer, the president? I to this very day still wonder not only what Natalina will become but more importantly what will define her? Will it be boys? I sure hope not. Will she care more about what the “cool” kids are doing and wearing or will she be unaffected, aloof, to the mainstream expectations and crazy social hierarchy of teenagers? Will she be a strong leader or will she be more of the follower type? No matter what we want to support and nurture who our children are becoming. I strive to encourage Natalina’s individuality even as a toddler and support her dreams and ideas of life. Of course I have hopes that Natalina will become what I like to call “college” cool. I pray she cares more about literature, art, music and studying then where the next party is or did you hear about who so and so hooked up with? So far at 4 years old she has taught me that my hopes and dreams for her are just that, my hopes and dreams. I thought for sure she would be reading and writing by now and speaking multiple languages, aka a genius. She has proved to me her own genius though. She can write some and read a little but her light shines so bright when she is dancing and singing. She feels music so deep already and her taste has proved to be so diverse for such a young girl. She for sure loves pop music, but she also ASKS for classical music, sings Broadway hits (Mama Mia is big in our house and most recently Defying Gravity from Wicked) and picks some amazing indie music to listen and dance to. For most people who know me I am a lover of all things music and art. It may be because that part of my brain will only go as far as appreciating artistic genius. My contribution to the arts comes in the form of buying show tickets and donating to an artistic cause. From 16 weeks pregnant I planned and purchased Natalina’s first concert outfit: Black American Apparel onesie, Joe’s skinny jeans, black high top Chuck Taylor’s and those cool Bose noise canceling headphones. All sizes 6-12 months. Little did I know it would be a bit longer before her first show.
October 10, 2015. Beirut was playing the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Beirut is one of my favorite bands and I have seen them somewhere between 8-10 times logistically ranging from San Francisco to Brooklyn. I saw them twice while pregnant so maybe it had an impact right?! I originally planned on going to this show with my sister and her husband but they couldn’t go at last minute. This was it! This was the big first concert! I was so excited. I asked my cousin Theresa to come and she was free which made it more special. We saw our first Beirut show together and now we were going to take Natalina to her first show! I am using so many exclamation points to try and get across how uncontrollably excited I was. We listen to the iPod on shuffle in the car and at home so Natalina was familiar with Beirut, but I never really noticed that she was affected by any of the songs. Kind of a bummer but maybe the live show would change that. So that time had come. Show time! Time for my, then 3 year old, to have her mind blown. I obviously have very high and somewhat unrealistic expectations of life.
After 2 songs reality really set in. “I have to go potty”, “I’m bored”, “I’m tired”, “I want to go home”. How could this be? Seriously my heart was literally breaking. My hopes and dreams of going to epic shows and festivals was being crushed 1 song at a time. To her credit she enjoyed 2 songs and even danced a tiny bit, but the night was overshadowed by just typical toddler behavior. In retrospect she handled it like a champ. My 3 year old powered through and there was not 1 meltdown. I consider myself very lucky that she is a really well behaved human. We left, drove home and continued normal life. Maybe we would try again in a year or so.
Two weeks later we are driving with the iPod on shuffle and No No No by Beirut comes on and I skip it. I wasn’t in the mood. *Background alert: No No No was a new single and it’s a great song but it didn’t really blow my mind when I heard it. I specifically remember telling a friend that exact thing when he asked me how I liked the new album and that song specifically. * Back to the story. Almost immediately Natalina says “wait mom put that song back on”. I said “what song?” thinking maybe I skipped a Disney tune or something. She continued, “that song mom from the concert we went to. You know it goes lalallalalalala.” REDEMPTION!!!!! I was exploding with excitement. It’s real. She was affected. She chose her own moment at the concert and recognized something she loved on her own. Remember this wasn’t a song I personally loved so I put no special emphasis on it at the show or in general. I am all about personal wins. Small or large. This was such a winning moment for me as a mom. My previous doubts about our musical future completely diminished with the touch of a stereo control. A song that I ,otherwise didn’t give much love to, quickly became one of my favorites. Every memory has a soundtrack of it’s own and the soundtrack to the memory of Natalina’s first concert was concrete. P.S. my first concert was Belinda Carlisle and I still remember feeling so cool when she sang I think we’re alone now. Here’s to making memories and soundtracks to our lives. So what will define Natalina in the future? Who will she become? Of course I will always wonder about this, but at this point I realize I have so little control and all I can do is continue to make amazing and creative adventures with her with less emphasis on the exterior and more on the heart.