If I Only Had a Brain… Or an Oboe…


My husband recently mused that simply being a teenager is a form of mental illness. Normally, I may have laughed, but since he’s a psychologist, I had to think: “What if that’s true and what are the symptoms?”

I could while away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consulting with the rain;
And my head I’d be a scratchin’
While my thoughts are busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.

Forgetting everything

My 14-year old son is an oboist with our city’s youth symphony. Each year, his group embarks on a very early morning tour to various elementary schools in the Pikes Peak Region. From a preparation standpoint, this is no easy task. I’m talking about me, here. Granted, my teenager has been rehearsing three hours every Wednesday since last August, not to mention weekly lessons, and a general angst about practice logs for school.

But, wait. I had to recover his wardrobe from the bathroom floor, get the dog hair off his black pants, find a bow tie and rouse him out of bed at 5:45 am.—with shoes on, no less. I even went so far as to put his required music stand by the front door so he wouldn’t forget it.

At approximately 6:15, just moments before his ride appeared in the driveway, my dear son—with music stand in hand—VERY quietly informed me he didn’t have his oboe.

Having only had one cup of coffee, I was strangely calm and severely underdressed for any type of emergency. “How could you forget your oboe?”

“Don’t know.” And then, “It’s at school.” With that he was out the front door.  I brewed another cup (very strong) cup of java and began strategically mapping out which one of the youth symphony’s stops I could intercept the tour bus and deliver the goods. I opted for the first venue, that once I was on the road, determined was really in western Kansas.

But, this teenager didn’t forget his phone

With each passing minute, the texts from my son were becoming more frantic. “Where are you?” and the repetitive “How much longer?” At this point, my passive-aggressive parenting technique really kicked in and I decided to stop for a donut along the way.

And the band played on….

Almost an hour’s drive later, I did reach the little schoolhouse on the prairie; the first performance already in progress. As I entered the building, I could hear the musical refrains of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which seemed ironic considering I was darn near certain I had reached tornado alley. The musicians were on stage with instruments in hand, with the exception of the first chair oboist, who was just holding his music in his lap. I beamed with pride at his good posture and that his clothes were still free of dog hair.

I used my invisible teen mom skills to creep into the auditorium and waited until the finale, when at last in relay-race fashion I could hand off the oboe. My son sheepishly took the instrument from my hand, nearly limping back to his ensemble, only to return a moment later with a very pained look on his face.

“My conductor says I have to give you a hug.”

Apparently, his conductor knew what I had just done for my son. Afterall, she, too, is a mother.