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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

From 60 to 0
July 18, 2010 - 7:29pm

Last week I wrote about the insanity of life as a freelancer. This week I’m writing from a cabin in Maine, with no cell signal and sporadic Internet access. The cabin overlooks a quiet bay, where I swim in the mornings. You can’t see other houses in any direction, and when we turn the lights out at night, the only illumination is from the moon and the stars. In the city, I am wired and at the computer by 5AM; this morning, I slept until 9 for the first time in at least ten years.

The cabin belongs to one of my “boogie woogie sisters,” as we three women who have bonded over rehearsals of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” call ourselves. We are all up here, along with another singing friend whom we wish there was a part for. This is the first vacation I’ve taken without my family since Ben was born. I miss them, but I feel I’ve entered a different dimension, on another planet, in which I’m being nourished in ways I didn’t realize I was hungry for.

We wake up and start talking and laughing, and don’t stop until we collapse at night. (This is actually a mixed experience, since I think I cracked a rib the night before we left, and laughing is painful—and I can’t remember laughing so much, for so long, since I was in college.) After breakfast, we do vocal exercises, and sometimes yoga, then we start singing. We sing all day—in the car, on walks in the woods, even while swimming. We only stop when a song reminds one of us of a story, and then when we’re done laughing we start singing again. We’re dredging up shared high school favorites—we do a mean four-part “Going to the Chapel”—and teaching each other new songs, often prefacing them with, “You have to learn this—it would be perfect for you!”

Officially, we’re here to polish the boogie woogie song and to learn a second song in time for our club date in September. And we’re doing that. But we’re doing so much more. We’ve already made plans for next year’s “mini Lilith fair.” I really hope my rib has healed by then, because I plan to be here, and to do even more laughing.


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