Thursday, April 2, 2009


Then and Now


It's sort of a fascinating thing to be genuinely happy for someone else. Generally, I believe, most of us obtain our greatest joy from a remarkable compliment or personal accomplishment that is directed at us individually.  Monday at piano, Nicholas had a really incredible lesson; captivating actually. It was an experience where I literally, over the course of an hour, witnessed him become a better musician.  I sat in awe and admiration at his gifted teacher and her ability to propel my son's talent to a higher level. 

 Towards the end of the lesson she got up and started shuffling through papers in and out of the room, looking for something.  She came back with her Guild book and asked him to stop playing for a minute. "Nicholas, I want to show you right here that the Mozart piece you are trying to play for Guild is recorded at a 9th grade level.  That means you are playing a high school piece in the fifth grade."  The quick, over-the-shoulder grin he shot me warmed my heart completely.  At that moment I felt wholly and utterly happy for him, and him alone. Thinking of all the potential he might have (should he choose) and how amazing it is that he is still young and has so many, many decisions and choices still ripe for the picking.  

When the lessons were over, a darling seventeen year old boy from church came in for his lesson.  Since we knew him, and I was aware of what an exceptional pianist he is, I whispered to the kids, "Should we listen for a minute?"  They nodded.  As I sat back and watched his fingers fly, taking note of the complexity of the piece and his remarkable abilities, I contemplated if this boy in front of me was a microcosm for another one of life's realities:  Must it all be crammed in before we're thrown from the nest and forced to fly?  Before we are the ones chewing the worms and dropping them into open mouths.  Do the squawking babies know they better get it while the gettin's good, because soon they too will be pecking at the earth...searching.    

My mind wandered as he played and I thought, "I could be that good, I could've been that good, I could still be that good...but what's the likelihood?"  Will I really add piano lessons to my life, take the time to practice, take what little I have left at the end of the day and pursue just one of my countless dreams?  I knew that the answer was, "Probably not."  I say "Probably not" cause it sounds a little more "glass full" than a rhetorical "NO."

Nevertheless, I know the drill.  "It's never too late. Life is what you make it.  If you dream it, you can become."  I have a friend who is a grandfather and has a dream to be a singer/song writer and is trying to find a way to pursue it while he still can.  When I heard this, my initial thoughts were, "What, come on, you're like in your 50's...it's WAY too late."  One of my best friends was recently told to "grow up" when she expressed  how much she loves going to concerts and local band gigs.  The body ages but the mind doesn't change.  And still the fact remains that I find unparalleled joy when my children succeed. It's all such a fine balance, then and now.


6 comments:

VEGAS VIC said...

Great post and good thoughts. Love that boy of yours. He really is talented. I suspect the others will be too.

You had it once girlie, you can get it back! There's always from 11:00 to Midnight for practicing.

jill said...

I LOVE that kid! I love that he smiled at you when he was told the news...so sweet.

I agree with mom, you can do become whatever you want!

Suzanne said...

Jennifer,

That was a beautiful post and well written. One of your best! I am so happy for your son and his accomplishment. That is amazing that he has such talent! Good for him!

And you little Missy!! No, it is never too late and don't just use that as you well used cliche. You have dreams as much as your children do and it does not make sense for God to give us only the first 20 something years of our lives to reach our dreams and goals and then for the next 50-60 years of our lives to just settle......for mediocrity and mundane.
Also, a mamma that is happy, has happy children. Do something that betters yourself also, you can and you must! -Suzanne

Jonny said...

Great post! I have to say... that day I talked to Nicholas on the phone while you were at the Dr. I told him he was allowed to quit practicing one piece so he could start practicing Guild (he called to ask you). He asked me if I wanted to hear it. Of course I did. I WAS COMPLETELY IMPRESSED! I had no idea he was getting so good, and that was almost three weeks ago, I bet he has almost mastered the piece now.

I too contemplate lessons, every piece I know I taught myself, and i know with lessons I could be so much better.

I love him and am SO proud of him.

KEEP IT UP NICHOLAS, you have a SERIOUS talent!

Mitch said...

Good Job Nicholas!! That's so dang cool. I wish i could play the piano so dang bad! I enjoy playing the guitar, but mastering the piano is so much cooler. And knowing the piano as well as you do will help you excel on the guitar later on in life. Great job bud!

Ann Marie said...

Loved this post!!
Darling!! Your a good Mom Jen.