Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Quality Time
It is a pleasure, really. Every Tuesday I leave home at 18.35, drive to Rjåneset and take the ferry to Eiksund, then continue to Ulsteinvik. My daughter - of whom I am immensely proud, of course - has gone beyond the skill of the teachers in Volda, and if she wants to develop she needs a new teacher. This new teacher is demanding, but also attentive, and she is exhilerated. She practices more than ever, and dreams of an a-clarinet. (Somehow I need to find the money for that - but that's still in the future.)

This means I get to hear what my daughter is doing and thinking about. We sit there for two hours, in this car, on what is frequently a quite eventful trip. Last night the weather was a challenge: not just rain but hailstorms. The wind on the ferry was so rough we hardly managed to open the doors of the car, they were blown shut immediately. And while I navigated this weather - in quite a hurry, the ferry makes us 5 minute late in any weather - she was reading music history and chattering about a mixture of her anxiety about the test today, her worries about her music pupils, her ambitions with her music and her many different types of relationships to friends, class-mates, teachers, musicians... I can't even remember all the different categories of people she touches and talks to. It doesn't really matter either.

What is important is that I get to do this: sit for a couple of hours every week, listening to my almost adult daughter as she happily shares her thoughts and worries and dreams with me. My love for my children is perhaps the basic driving force in my life at the moment, they are the reason for an infinite number of decisions, large and small. Listening to my daughter, hearing what kind of person she is developing into, her thoughts, ideas and deliberations, confirms that I got a few of those right.

Who would imagine that "quality time" - this elusive concept of parent/child activities - could translate into getting there and getting back?

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