Madrid or Bust

After all of the worrying, all of the preparations, the day has finally come- time to head to Madrid, Spain, for ClarinetFest 2015…my first solo trip to Europe. I am sitting in the Birmingham airport, waiting to board my flight to Atlanta, and then on to Madrid. I am feeling so many emotions, so much anticipation about what I will learn and how I will grow on this trip. 

Last night, Dan and I sat on the sunporch, laughing and talking, enjoying the peaceful view. The thing that makes me sad is not being able to share this experience with Dan…but I know there will be other adventures. Sometimes we have to do the things that scare us the most, and my fear of traveling alone to Europe needs to be faced and conquered. I want my world to expand, not shrink, as I get older. This is my chance. 

We woke up just after 4am, as Dan had an early instructor meeting at the YMCA. We both meditated, convincing the dogs to stay in bed for a while. It was so peaceful, and I focused on the positives of the trip…so many layers, so many opportunities to grow and prove things to myself. I went up to the top deck to enjoy my favorite view and watch the city come to life. I am so grateful for our peaceful and loving home…and it is so hard for me to leave. 

I was fine until it was time to head to the airport. As I said goodbye to each of the animals, the tears came. I know they will be fine, but I will miss their sweet and gentle company. As we drove to the airport, Dan and I held hands and talked. He is so good at keeping me grounded and focused on what is really important. How wonderful it will be to return home at the end of the conference to his loving arms. As he deposited my giant suitcase on the sidewalk (hey- I tried my best!), the tears came in earnest. He held me close, kissed me, and then made me laugh as he always does. I am filled with gratitude for my life with this man- all of it…even the times my homebody weanie self had to shake myself out of complacency and embrace change. 

I made one addition to my travel clarinet case…I pinned the special button into my case that I found in Mom’s apartment after her memorial service. It was right in the center of the room where she had fallen, hundreds of her ‘play’ buttons flying everywhere. I had vacuumed, cleaned and scrubbed….the apartment was empty except for that one button. A small sign…a smile from Heaven. Love never dies, does it? I am taking Heavy D to Madrid with me and will dedicate my performance to her, and to my best friend, Diane, who is staying home from the conference to battle breast cancer. I will be surrounded in love, I have no doubt. 

So…it’s time to board…and I am ready to begin this adventure, open to learning and growing, coming home a better version of myself. I hope that you will come along with me! 


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