Monday, February 27, 2012

Hank and the Piano

Once upon a time, when our older kids were much younger, Joe and I made the theoretical decision that it was necessary to push our kids to take piano lessons. It was something, I felt, that had benefited me quite a lot as a child.* When Madeleine came of age, we did force her to take lessons, despite her very vocal objections. It was for her own good, we reasoned.

A few years, and many wasted dollars, later, Joe and I finally capitulated and gave her the choice of whether she would like to stop or continue. Madeleine took about a half second to reconfirm the decision she had made many years prior: she would prefer not to continue. As an aside, after two (or was it three?) years of lessons, Madeleine still knows very little about the piano relative to what she knew before she started.

During this period, Hank came of age. He, unlike his sister, showed some interest in taking lessons. Unlike his sister, he is (most of the time) happy to sit and practice. He likes to play for fun (as he told me yesterday, "I like to play the piano, but only when someone isn't telling me what to play."). He, unlike his sister, cares about performing well at his annual music competition. He, unlike his sister, chooses, on his own, to continue with his lessons; and he is advancing in knowledge and skill at a far faster pace than his big sister did.

Most adults understand that where there are means and passion, knowledge is gathered, or a skill is mastered. In theory, I know this too. It's just that, sometimes, it's nice to be reminded. Yesterday, hearing Hank play in front of a judge and a room monitor, I was reminded of this, not because he played, but because of how he played. He played with poise and confidence. He played as one who took the experience seriously, and enjoyed the chance to be judged. And this morning, after weeks of preparation? He's back at the piano, plunking out tunes. For fun.

*I forgot to remind myself that, as a child, I as given the choice if I wanted to take lessons or not. Yes, my mom encouraged me to want to, and it helped that my second grade teacher, who I liked, was to be my piano teacher (the excitement of visiting your school teacher's house!), but ultimately the decision was mine. I am no proficient, by any means, but I did, and do, enjoy putzing around on the piano.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Item Number Four

Yesterday my to-do list looked like this:

1. Pay bills
2. Run M to stable
3. Target returns (buy wipes!)
4. write for 30 mins.
5. wash cleaning rags
6. call W. re: hockey tournament
7. email J. re: GS
8. email A. re: hockey tournament raffle

By the end of the day, each item had been crossed off my list-- save item number four. It was easy to push aside. After all, Wells Fargo would take a dim view of me skipping over item number one. And poor Willow, well, she's been on stall rest for about three weeks now, and she needed to get out and be ridden. And if I didn't make it to Target while Madeleine was riding then I would need to make a whole separate trip up on a different day when it would be less convenient. And on and on and on.

I am not a writer. I have no serious aspirations of book deals or bylines. My biggest ambition at this moment in time is to keep my house a comfortable, harmonious, and inspiring place to live and learn.

And yet, as evening threatened and I rightly prioritized washing dishes and making dinner over crossing out that last non-chore on my chore list, I admit I was a bit disappointed in not making time for something I enjoy, something that allows me to explore and connect the disjointed thoughts floating about my head.

And so, here I am. It is a new day with a shorter, more manageable to-do list. Writing, for me, doesn't mean blogging, necessarily, so I don't know if my newly found determination will translate into more blog posts (I suspect it will not) but, for today, I am here, spending thirty minutes of this lovely, snowy day with my MacBook in front of me and my cold cup of this morning's leftover coffee at my side, writing a post for my blog. I am happy to have made the time to cross this off my list today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, Blogosphere!

The Absent Blogger

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