I thought: Oh dear – this can’t be good news. What is she going to tell me?
I called Myra via Skype later that day and asked her what was up. “I’m pregnant, I’m due in mid-September,” she told me in a rather hesitant and worried voice. She poured her heart out to me about how she didn’t know if she could do a recital tour that started so soon after the baby was born, how she felt like she might be letting me down, and how she wondered what she should do. I told her that she most definitely not letting me down in the slightest, and that it was her decision to make. I also told her that of course I wanted her to do the recital tour, I told her that I thought of us as a chamber duo, and that of course I wanted her to share the experience of a Carnegie Hall debut recital with me. I also told her that, first and foremost, I was so happy for her and was so excited for her family. It provided a strange opportunity for us to reaffirm why it was that we wanted to keep working together and what was special about our musical relationship and our long friendship. I told her that this was great, exciting, and wonderful news. And I left the ball in her court.
After thinking about it for a couple of weeks, she eventually came back with her decision that she did, indeed, want to play. I assured her that I had an alternative plan, in case the baby came late, and we adjusted our lives accordingly. We looked at the calendar and plotted out when we would start working on the program – we decided to start rehearsing as soon as possible. We ended up starting to toe the waters of some of the newest repertoire in March. When May arrived, we dove in head-first, taking advantage of the situation to ease into all of this music and slowly find things in it, letting it come to us, letting the layers peel back of gradually and of their own accord. I left for Marlboro at the end of June, and we agreed to keep rehearsing after I returned until the baby was born.
Since I got back from the London a couple of weeks ago, Myra and I stuck to our rehearsal plan, and every time I would email her to schedule a session, I would jokingly preface the email with, “Are you still pregnant?” Myra would write back that, yes, she was still happily pregnant and that we should meet at 12:30 the next day.
After debating whether or not to try to pack in another rehearsal this last week, we eventually decided to meet once more this past Friday at 1:00. As I said goodbye at our previous rehearsal, Myra said to me, “We should try to get in as much as we can before the baby comes, since she seems to be taking her time…” I agreed and left, looking forward to our next rehearsal. When I walked in the door on Friday, I started to head towards the piano when Myra told me that she didn’t think we could rehearse that day. I looked at her and asked her if she was all right. “I think it’s time,” she said. So instead of rehearsing, we waited while her husband fetched their daughter, Elie, from daycare. Myra offered me a ride down to Midtown, which I found perplexing, but took her up on. We piled into the car and I entertained Elie while Myra and Ed debated which would be the quickest way to get to the hospital. Around 1:30, they dropped me off in Midtown, and I wished her good luck and a quick and easy labor, if such a thing is possible. Then, somehow they made it to the hospital at the speed of light, because at around 3:05pm, Abigail Emma Huang was born.
Many congratulations to the Huangs on their newest family member!