Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Best - Blessedness

Beethoven Lives Upstairs


A little background info. about me: I grew up with no music lessons, piano, dance, art, etc., or any enrichment otherwise.  This next posting is, to me, evidence of the surprising beauty that one gets gifted with in life. Just as there are many downs in our lives, there are also tremendous ups. Given my childhood environment, it is amazing to me--beyond my imagination amazing -- that I am able to post something such as this. Please, I hope you don't see it as bragging as much as it is -- for me-- awe coupled with sheer grateful disbelief, though it stares me right in the eyes. Yes, parts of my life have been very, very hard: but I have emerged with such blessings.

The sounds reach me upstairs, but I still can't believe it. My brain tries to talk me out of my reality, though I am hearing it through my own ears, in my own home. The sounds are real, but the stories in my soul tell me it can't be so.

As I lay half awake in my bed on an early Sunday morning, I hear our 14 year old son playing the piano that is in our front room. I know it is him, and that it has to be him, he is the only one who plays in our family. My eyes have seen him sit in front of the keys daily. Five years ago a friend of mine had to find a home for her old piano, which turned out to be here. Now, our son plays, and plays. All his favorites: Journey, ColdPlay, Linkin Park, Green Day. I've seen his fingers touch those keys so many times. 


But my life's stories tell me this can't be my life. I'm not to be in a life with a home that has a beautiful child playing a piano in it.  This is not my life. How does a woman like me, get blessed with a child, a life, like this? A musical child, a musical home, how does it happen? I've never dared to let my dreams get this impossible. Yet, here it is. The wish in me to have the greeting on our answering machine just be him playing is so strong, and I know I can't. We don't brag about our blessings, no matter how unbelievably bursting with pride and joy we are. I'd love to tell everyone, from the bagger at the store, to the stranger at the park,  "My son plays piano, I mean, he plays so beautifully!" I know I can't. I know society would not find that acceptable.

Instead, I find myself having to close my eyes, so I can hear every sweet second as clearly as I can, with tears of pride and disbelief springing to my eyes too quickly for me stop them. I don't move, I want him to keep playing. I don't want to walk downstairs just yet.

I might break the spell.

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This is the first guest post I ever submitted. It ran early March, last year. It was to a wonderful blog called Four Perspectives Their  Guest Post page is here, if you feel you have something that would fit in with their beautiful collaborative blog. Good Luck!

45 comments:

  1. I love this.

    It's sad that you were raised in such a stern, unfeeling home.

    And you're right, it's a blessing that your home is just the opposite of that. Your home always sounds warm and lively. Your boys sound amazing, and that's your doing, your guidance. You've given the permission to soar. You've created and worked hard for your blessings. Their talents are your rewards.

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  2. I took piano for one second as a kid and hated it. Now I long to play.

    What a gift!

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  3. Let your son tell the world - with his music. Until then sit back and listen in awe proud Mamma ;)

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  4. Sweet. How amazing to wake up to your teen playing piano. Your Teen. With what teenagers get into these days...this boy of yours is pretty special. So blessed and lucky are you!

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  5. I say go ahead and accost the strangers in the park. :)

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  6. It isn't surprising to me because you are such a caring, loving, supportive, encouraging mama. Your boys will move mountains, Alexandra!

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  7. music is such a part of my life..luckily i was raised to be able to explore it...experiment with styles my parents would never listen to...try to encourage music and the arts in my boys...

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  8. I'm speechless, this post was so beautiful.

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  9. I can't play the piano and my parents made me take lessons for 56 years. Just a waste of time on both our parts.

    The girl who lives across from me plays so beautifully that when I first heard her, at her parents, I was stunned. When she realized I'd been listening, she quit immediately.

    She did this a few times, I even had to be the one who told her bf of one year that she played like a concert pianist.

    When I finally asked her why she didn't want anyone to know how well she played she demurred at first, and then said she didn't want anyone to think she was bragging.

    So I said, if a kid can slam dunk a basketball better that anyone and gets a 20 million dollar NBA deal, is that bragging or is that just a gift from God?

    Never deny anything you get as an "extra." Just say thank you! And put it on the answering machine!

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  10. This is so wonderful. Perhaps you have a recessive gene for musical ability? When you are older and the kids are out of the house (don't get depressed: they love you and will visit all the time), you can take up piano.
    My stepson just decided one day to learn (to impress women at parties, I'm fairly certain). Since he's an obsessive sort, he watched youtube instructional videos, worked through a beginner book, learned about music theory and got serviceably good in less than a month. Crazy, but he did it. He came home for winter break, wanted to learn Auld Lang Syne by New Years' Eve and succeeded.

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  11. The sound of the piano has always moved me. How amazing it is to see the differences in how we lived vs how we live now ;)

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  12. You are blessed! I've tended to live vicariously through my children... most of the time. I count my blessings on a regular basis.

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  13. Thank you, all of you.

    I am enjoying running these old posts.

    So many memories, and now all here.

    Thank you, for reading again, with me today.

    xo

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  14. What a lovely sound to wake up to! I'll learn someday...yes, I will. It's on my list.

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  15. What a lovely story, friend!!

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  16. I love it!!! I want to hear him play someday. Maybe we can share tips. And by "share tips", I mean me steal all his awesome moves. I'd give him credit though. :)

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  17. I think you appreciate it so much more because it wasn't around for you. And what a wonderful gift you have given your son.

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  18. I do not see one ounce of bragging or ego in this post -

    Just love and wonder and awe.

    And don't forget gratitude. This post is bursts with gratitude.

    How very beautiful.

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  19. This is most definitely NOT bragging - it's simply sharing your love for them. I love it! How old was your son when he started playing? I also grew up without musical training and would love my kids to be exposed to something.

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  20. I love the joy I feel when my own daughter plays her cello, when she was in high school she even went to Russia. Now she only plays at church sometimes, I miss the regular sound, as regular as my own breathing.

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  21. What a beautiful gift you've been given. I too understand and feel that little nagging worry that if we brag or share the fact we've been blessed that the blessing will disappear. SO I won't tell!

    But what a gift! I am so very jealous! (And yes, our next house will house a piano!)

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  22. As a child from a musical home myself,I can definitely appreciate. I don't know what I'd do if it had turned out differently.

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  23. Someone once said to me after finding out who my son was "If he were my son I'd tell everyone" and while I didn't that warmed my heart so much it almost exploded.

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  24. What a sound to wake up to! So much better than the mechanical buzzer on the alarm!

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  25. Your boys are so lucky to have a mama like you - one who supports them, nurtures and encourages their talents and dreams.

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  26. I feel the same way about my children. And not that I had a hard childhood, I didn't. I had a perfectly fine childhood, there just wasn't a lot of money or time to capitilize on our interests and strengths. My girls are becoming such athletes and everyday I am completely amazed at what they do and that I get to live the kind of life where I stand on the sidelines and cheer my children on.
    I say brag on! Who cares about socially acceptable!

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  27. I never learned to play piano. Didn't stop me from buying one though. Meg will love it. I hope. I hope. I hope.

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  28. I always longed for piano lessons. I dare think it's not too late...

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  29. That is blessed indeed ! There is always something beautiful in the next day !! loads of love !

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  30. I brag! I brag! I do! My grandmother said that God makes it so that every mother has the most beautiful child in the world. So I take that to heart and brag away, knowing that every mother has the right to brag. (Of course I couch the whole thing in acceptable language for society's sake). ;-)

    My parents are musicians. My father played french horn in the symphony, and my mother who regretfully gave clarinet up to have kids, started singing in the choir. We all played instruments. I hope that my own kids will have the same opportunity.

    PS I think God knew you needed music and so he blessed your son with talent.

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  31. Tears are squirting out of my eyes reading this.

    You are blessed because you took what you had and made it amazing.

    Thank you Empress!

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  32. Gratitude. There is never arrogance in profound gratitude. What a gift to your child, to your house, and to the world to encourage music - art!! - to grow & flourish in a time when creativity seems to be dying all around us.

    this post was just lovely. We just inherited my mother's piano and I'm seriously debating taking lessons myself...

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  33. I took piano lessons as a kid, so I can respect just how difficult it is to not only play, but do it well. What an amazing talent! I love what a proud mom you are...it's a beautiful thing to see.

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  34. THIS..so wonderful. WOW. I know that with Jacob having the "music in him" and I am awed with it, that he has this ability so young.

    This just made me tear up for you, for the mom in me, for the pride that swells and sings. :)

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  35. Things were precisely the opposite in my house growing up. My dad was a great piano player, we had multiple pianos, and I've been playing since I've been in kindergarten. However, playing in the morning was expressly verboten.

    Keep doing whatever you can to foster that passion - even if it's just recreational in the upcoming years, being able to sit at a piano & just "go," is truly something marvelous. Unfortunately, my morning routine is such that I never, ever have the ability to start the day by just playing - but I hold out hopes that it will happen. There are few better ways to get your head on straight.

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  36. I remember this beautiful post. I am not from a musical family at all either, but musical families enchant me. I love the sound of piano keys. You are blessed, but then, your children are blessed too, with a mom like you :-)

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  37. Shout it from the rooftops - he is your gift! And what a gift he has been blessed with, when we are thankful for our gifts, we praise ...
    It is not bragging, it is pride.
    Not prideful, but a Mom's heart bursting with love.
    So share.
    Share away :)

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  38. Gorgeous.

    I love music, and one of my favorite things is hearing people play what they love.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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  39. There is NOTHING more moving than a parent seeing the unique, soulful gifts of their child. Also, maybe you could make a ringtone of your son playing a song on the piano...then when people ask what that amazing song is, you have permission to brag! :)

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  40. This is lovely-and really it isn't bragging, it's sharing the gift : )

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  41. Doesn't bragging come with motherhood? Doesn't it? Brag all you want, lady! To have a home filled with the sounds of someone playing the piano sounds marvelous. My home is filled with the sounds of me belting out bad 80's tunes. Also marvelous, but not quite the same. :)

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  42. Awwwww, Alexandra. That is just beautiful. Though I have to say: I'm not terribly surprised you have such a talented young boy. While you may not be musically inclined (me neither, sadly), you are an extraordinarily gifted writer so it makes perfect sense that your children will be just as blessed, creatively speaking.

    Enjoy the music :)

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  43. I urge you to brag - everyone I know does and about shit far less worthy than piano skills.

    That was beautiful and sad all at once. I could hear the music.

    (I used to play, but it became too taxing on my poor mother to seek out teachers willing only to teach me pop sheet music).

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  44. Dearest Empress,

    I get you here completely. My 16 year old, or more correctly, our 16 year old- as it is my husband who drives Ben to his lessons every Thursday, plays the cello. There is something so mysterious and baffling when your child tips their head, as if listening to some angel voice within them, as they play music. I know just what you mean. Ben is determined and passionate, but not nutty about his cello. He is taking lessons while he is in Germany right now. And wants to go to mountain bike camp this summer.
    Both of our kids have performed as clowns in their school circus. Nothing I have ever done, nor my husband, yet, they did it so well- they inhabited new characters with no speck of their own personalities at play. I was so proud of them, I was embarrassed to speak of the performances. But I got all this feedback from others about the kids.
    E- I learned this thing about women from my friend MamaGena of the School of the Womanly Arts- men will boast about fish they have caught or a deal they made or the home run they hit...but women will not mention the award they received or the success they are feeling with parenting at the moment. I learned from MamaGena how to brag- to own your pleasure in what you are experiencing or creating at the moment. It is not comparative- 'mine is better than yours' , just pure enjoyment of the gifts the Universe is expressing in your life. It is ownership and gratitude.
    So record the outgoing message. Just think how many listeners will be delighted by the gift.
    Hugs, S

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  45. I remember this wonderful post. Music is such a gift. And I'm so happy that you have given this gift to your family, despite the fact that you didn't receive it yourself as a child. You have such a happy home. I heart you, sweet Empress.

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