October 26, 2014


I have a vague recollection that I saw Yo-Yo-Ma perform when he was a teenager, and that I heard the famous ethno-musicologist Alan Lomax speak when I was in elementary school. However, I can't be sure. After all, memory is a "save-as" function. We overwrite every time we call up a memory and now there is no one to verify these memories for me.

It was a different time, I keep reminding myself. Parents didn't feel an obligation to explain things to children. Children were expected to behave appropriately and like things their parents liked. I know I went to lots of classical music concerts with my parents, where I was obligated to sit quietly whether I was interested in the music or (mostly) not.

My approach has been different. I am sure of the special events I have shared with the boys, even if they don't seem particularly noteworthy at the time. I know that Jeff has very little patience, even for things he enjoys, so sometimes I make a deal, sometimes I insist on my own enjoyment and sometimes I just capitulate. Our seder in Vienna dragged on and on, with the rabbi covering the entirety of the Haggadah in Hebrew, German and English. A few hours went by and Jeff was fidgety and begging to leave. "I know you are bored, but we will never be here again for this, so we should stay," I said. Opening night at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin was amazing and I realized that ALICE IN FUNDERLAND was too topical to ever travel beyond Ireland. At intermission, Jeff wanted to leave. "It is opening night. We are the first ones to ever see this play." So we stayed.

Over time, I know we will only be grateful that we had these memorable experiences and not a sigh of relief that we missed the second act or the headline performer. If only someone had told me who I was seeing back when I was too young to know or too young to appreciate the experience.