Magic in Mistakes


A couple of weeks ago, I finally did something that I intend to do all the time.  I took my daughter to a concert.  Lori McKenna and Lucy Wainwright Roche were playing a beautiful small theater in a little town near us called Shelburne Falls.  Last fall, my daughter had the time of her life when she and her bandmate were asked to play a couple of songs to open for Sonya Kitchell at this same theater.  Sonya’s mom, Gayle Kabaker, is one of the promotors at the theater for these shows, so when we arrived she scooped us up and told us she had saved us all seats in the second row!


When I heard about the show, I immediately thought of taking my daughter and I called my friend, Mary,  whose daughter has been my daughter’s dear friend since birth.  They are only 12 days apart.  There is a photo of Mary and me, bellies full of baby, standing in front of an employment office with a neon sign reading “Labor Ready.”  A week later, on the night when I went into labor, Mary and her husband did our dishes.  We’ve shared a lot and we hope to have our daughters share a lot too.  But life is what it is.  They live 30 minutes away now; our schedules, like everyone’s, are busy and rarely in sync.  So finding this evening when we were both free, when our husbands were free to watch the rest of the kids, was a rare event.  Stars aligned and Mary and I and our almost 10 year olds stole away and sat in the second row to enjoy beautiful music together.  


Lucy opened the show and sang in her exquisite, clear, ethereal soprano.  The girls sat at the edges of their seats taking in every word, every joke. They loved the same song the most.  Mary and I laughed at Lucy’s hilarious stories and dry wit.  We looked at each other and were reminded that this moment- carving out this time to take our girls to something special is what it’s all about.  It’s hard for me not to be annoyed with myself for not doing this more often, but the truth is that we were doing it, then, and that’s all that mattered.


Lori sings like an angel and writes amazing country tinged songs about motherhood and marriage.  SO much resonated.  The entire show was amazing, but the best moment, the magical moment was when Lori forgot the tune to her trademark song.  She started the song, and backed away from the mic to ask her guitarist to remind her of the tune.  When he failed to satisfy, she walked to the front of the stage and asked the audience to sing her the first line.  This was all done with grace, humility, humor.  It made us all feel like we were her allies.  This is one of the reasons I love folk music.  The forgiveness.  But it just got better.  As we audience members failed to come up with the line, Lucy appeared at the end of the aisle.  Lori beamed as she realized that Lucy knew the song.  She invited Lucy to return to the stage and after a short upstage rehearsal, they shared the mic for Lori’s song, Fireflies.  Nothing in the evening was as gorgeous as hearing those two talented women singing in harmony.  It was magic.  I am quite sure that every audience member had chills as those voices joined together.  


My daughter is demanding of herself.  I have always felt that my job as her mother is to teach her that sometimes there is magic in the mistakes.  That perfection is not necessarily where you find the most interesting stuff.  When she gets something wrong on a test, I remind her that learning only really happens when you get something wrong first.  But mothers are not always listened to.  Lori and Lucy showed us that there is magic in mistakes.  That if you don’t take a risk, you might miss the most beautiful piece of the evening. 


As we walked back to our car after the concert, I asked Amelia what her favorite part of the concert was.  Without a beat, she said, “the part where Lucy came up to sing with Lori.”  I pointed out that her favorite part wouldn’t have happened if Lori hadn’t forgotten her song.  Amelia looked up at me and wasn’t the least bit surprised when her predictable Mom said, “See, sometimes there’s magic in mistakes.”

About nields

musician, writer, mom
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4 Responses to Magic in Mistakes

  1. Theresa says:

    I LOVE this post. I am going to read this to my eldest when I get home. She is quite hard on herself when she makes a mistake, but for whatever reason, doesn’t believe me when I tell her that all mistakes are opportunities for learning.

  2. Elyssa says:

    Such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Amy Dryansky says:

    Ah, the rare, perfect, teachable moment. What a gift!
    Thanks for this, K–beautiful.

  4. nields says:

    I love this story. Thank you, Katryna!

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