I was raised on music and intellect. Five years of piano lessons didn’t take, followed by eight years of violin lessons that went much better, overlapping with four years of high school choir. This was in a time before Mozart and math ability, but my parents were believers.
High grades were a must and college was in the stars. On family vacations, we traveled to historic homes, battlegrounds and museums. I got my first library card as soon as I could write my name.
Once in high school, I told my parents, “I think I’ll try out for the volleyball team.”
I was met by such complete bewilderment that I never followed through.
So my early life left a lot of room to explore.
Then I married a man who was raised on sports and fishing. Together we raised girls who got to follow their interests by the season.
They took piano, violin, saxophone and voice lessons, but with no yearly requirements.
As a Girl Scout parent, I got another chance at horseback riding. A little saddle sore, I decided I wasn’t missing much.
When they wanted to learn to ice skate, I signed up too. At 37 I found out I didn’t have weak ankles after all.
When my older daughter was bitten by the acting bug, I learned about set design, blocking a scene, and making costumes. In just a few summers, I figured out how to fake grommets, sew on a collar, and make a top hat out of purple velvet.
One or the other tried T-ball (sheer comedy for six-year-olds), seasons of swim classes, the track team (world’s worst spectator sport), even boxing.
They both played soccer. I learned the difference between a striker and a sweeper. They both danced and I trailed behind with costume changes. In Junior High one dropped soccer and continued dance. The other dropped dance and joined a travel soccer team.
When my older daughter tried out for the dance team, I met mothers who were reliving their own dancing days. For me it was all new.
Who knew motherhood was so educational?
When it came to vacations, my husband favored locations with water. My kids favored the sand alongside. Thanks to my girls, I discovered motion-sickness applies to parasailing. I learned that I hate to breathe through a snorkeling mask. But I love to zipline from tree to tree.
My older daughter got me to finally take the trip to Europe I had always wanted. We cruised the Mediterranean, stopping at ports in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Gibraltar. Three years later I got to go again with daughter number two, this time including Greece and Turkey.
You might say my daughters showed me the world.