Tough Times Unite Us

Families are pulling together as layoffs and downsizing take their toll.  That’s the silver lining in an otherwise dark economic time.  Case in point, our unmarried daughter, downsized last year from an investment bank and working hard to turn her sideline music business into a living.  She’s visiting us right now, looking for an apartment and part-time work until she gets on her feet as a musician and music therapist (her instrument is the harp).  South Florida is a big change for her as she has lived in the Northeast all her life except for college in Vermont.  But people get married here, too, celebrate big birthdays, hold memorials, and of course, we have a huge population of people in nursing homes and assisted living who could benefit from a little harp music.  For all these reasons, we’re optimistic about this move.

But there is another side to it that makes me especially grateful.  We’re together at a time when we are all adults who respect each others’ boundaries and space.  And if things don’t go according to plan, we elder members of the family represent a safety net, a port in the storm.  That feels good.

We’ve already come together in unexpected ways in the three days we been under one roof, the longest period in some time.  I decided not to fuss over the way my home looks or go nuts making special meals.  It felt better to just relax and let her see our home as her home, a place where it’s OK to let the pots soak in the sink for an hour while the cook writes a blog post or practices her guitar.

Now that there is an application for an apartment in the works and her moving day set, our daughter turned to guiding us through the mysteries of MP3 files for getting music samples out to the public.  Eleven years in the financial world have given her world class computer skills which will not go to waste.  She is established on a great utility for musicians called GigMasters.  It showcases musicians and vocalists, as well as clowns, balloon twisters, Elvis impersonators and jugglers.  Perhaps even this yoga teacher might find it a useful marketing tool.

If she hadn’t been downsized, she would still be getting up at 4 am and taking a train into New York City, and her Florida-based nephews would have grown up not really getting to know her — or she them — the way they will, now that she will be in the same town.  There is something to be said for the curve balls life throws at you.

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