In Grandma's Footsteps
There's this very old piano sitting in the entry way of our home that used to belong to my husband's, grandfather's best friend. I have no idea when or how it came to be in my husband's possession, but it's just been hanging around with no real purpose other than spawning the occasional sentimental story from Big Poppa. No one really plays the piano in our family - well, I take that back. Big Poppa sort of plays, but not enough to really warrant owning a piano. At any rate, I didn't make too much of a fuss because I knew how much having this piano meant to him. So, we kept it and lugged it across the country when we moved to Texas...to collect Texas dust.
I think that I may have mentioned this before, but my mother, who is the late stage of Alzheimer's, was a musician (pianist) and singer. She mostly played gospel music, but also, when she was very young (that would be way back in the day), she used to play in juke joints and blues clubs. Music was her life and she was very talented. Her talent is gone now, along with almost everything else about her that made her unique, but her music is the part of her that I miss the most. As you can imagine, it was very important to her that at least one of her four children take up the piano or just any instrument for that matter. For a while one of my brothers played the drums, then the violin and my sister took a stab at the piano, but they both eventually drifted away in favor of other interests. I think that although we all love music, we really didn't have it in our veins like she did.
So, it's very bittersweet that my youngest daughter would come to me now and say "You don't have to say yes, but if you do that would be great. Can I take piano lessons?" I can't say that I was surprised because she likes to tinker on it as she walks past and I've often thought that music lessons would suit her. You know that I didn't hesitate to say yes, right? The first person that I thought of was my mother and how she is missing this moment. Only, of course, she has no idea she's missing it. I am the one who is all at once elated and sad knowing that mom would have been over the moon. I immediately got the name of a piano tuner from a neighbor (because who knows the last time that it had been tuned) along with a piano teacher and set about making this happen for my little girl and for me.
I grew up listening to my mother play me to sleep at night. I grew up sitting in the living room and just listening to her play song after song after song. Her music provided the sound track to my life and the silence brought on by Alzheimer's is now deafening. I have to admit that it did occur to me that one day in the not too distant future maybe, just maybe, Thing 2 will provide a new soundtrack. Of course, when I was younger, I took all of this for granted not really realizing how immensely talented she, my mother, was. I also didn't realize how much of an impact her music had on my life. Don't worry, I'm not going to pressure my little girl to follow in grandma's footsteps. She can try it and if she doesn't like it she can move on to something else. However, I can promise you this, I will not take for granted one day spent sitting with her and listening to her play her music. Ever. I will listen to every note, every chord and every melody - good or bad - and I will commit it to my heart because I now know how very precious it really is.