Last year for Christmas we got, instead of individual gifts, one large gift for the family, an electronic keyboard. Wait, that wasn’t last year, it was Christmas of ’03. Jeepers. Anyhow, the THOUGHT was this: cool; now the kids can start piano lessons.
Christmas of ’03. Got that?
So, for the next…um…14 months or so, occasionally someone would remark, “Hey, shouldn’t the boys be starting piano lessons soon?” and I would look at my shoes and mutter, “yeah, right piano lessons…good idea…um…LOOK, SOMETHING SHINY!”
Because you know, I WANTED them to take piano lessons, I LONGED for them to be doing scales with their grubby little fingers, but good LORD.
I couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t.
One more phone tag event, finding a teacher.
One more scheduling puzzle to assemble.
One more errand, ferrying boys there and back, keeping Raphael from eating the teacher’s house whilst his older brothers sit and lap up piano knowledge beside their maestro.
One more daily struggle, pinning their little behinds to the piano bench and directing their eyes at the piano book, and making them practice.
I may have a low threshold for busyness, but I just couldn’t. I wanted it for them, but it was one mountain too many for me.
I am weak.
Therefore, the looking at the shoes and muttering business.
But then something very cool happened. My mom finished waiting for me. She also wanted to take piano lessons (who knew?), and so she made it happen. She found a teacher, she called her, she scheduled, and she took Tre and Max for their lessons. She even SAT DOWN with each of them, several times a week, to help them practice. While I lurked about, attending to other details and peeking around corners, Mom led Tre and Max into the world of piano lessons. I listened from the other room, straining with them mentally as they searched for the right note, counting in my head, and curving my own fingers in response to Mom’s reminders to the boys.
They’ve developed their own little culture – a camaraderie of piano lesson takers. When one of them sits down to practice, the others will gather to watch. We’ve had to institute a whole rule SPECIFICALLY STATING that no one else may touch the piano while someone is playing it. None of them can keep their fingers off those keys.
Today I was in the kitchen (as usual), and Max was doodling at the keyboard. One of his songs to learn this week is Jingle Bells. I heard him work his way through the melody with his right hand, laboriously finding each note. It was so sweet and childish…I was startled a minute later when he started working his way through the song the second time – with the accompanying chords. Just like that, he slipped into music.
I’m enjoying their progress so much – and one of the nicest things about it is that I can. I didn’t make this happen. Since they started lessons in February I’ve taken them to exactly one lesson. I don’t make them practice; I don’t even know which book belongs to which boy. This is all my mom’s doing, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Tre and Max think the piano lessons are for them. Mom thinks it’s a gift for her. But I know the truth.
I’m the blessed one here.