My oldest daughter sent me the cutest short videos the other day. My oldest granddaughter and only grandson played beautifully in their recent piano recital. They were poised, confident, and had learned their music well. At the end of their performances, they bowed and accepted the well deserved applause from the audience. I watched and then watched again. As a few tears formed in my eyes (I told you that this was going to be a blog about really growing older, not pretending to be cool), I immediately felt the upswell of four strong feelings.
Something that no parent or grandparent is a stranger to. Watching your grandchildren ride a bike, draw a picture, play the piano, or even read a story out loud causes an instant, unconditional feeling of pride in them, their accomplishments and their potential to change the world. This is the best kind of emotion, raw, positive, deeply felt, and real.
Why regret, you ask? When I was a child, younger than my grandaughter, my mother and father spent time and money that they could probably not spare easily at the time to get me to and from piano lessons. This included what I remember as a large white bound book of music, thick and impressive looking, that I was supposed to practice out of and learn from most likely for months if not years. I diligently pursued the art of music making for a little while, but soon grew bored with it and felt the tug of playing outside and participating in sports outpull my resolve to practice the piano. My mother let me quit. Not a day goes by that I don’t regret that decision to stop learning to play the piano. Could I have picked it back up later? Could I take adult lessons now? Of course. Did I? Will I? No, of course not. One thing getting older teaches is that time is precious, decisions cannot be made lightly and frivilously now, and choices need to be rock solid and backed by the conviction that once made, they will be carried through and followed through to the end.
I made that decision long ago as a child.
I cannot go back and remake it.
I can still, as an adult, enjoy some of these experiences vicariously, through the adventures and talents of my three children and (so far) six grandchildren.
This realization is at the same time a huge relief and a lot of fun.
On watching my rapidly growing and maturing granchildren play the piano through the magic of a small video clip sent to me on a handheld computer phone by my daughter who recorded the event on the same kind of device, I was flooded with gratitude that we live in a magical age. If we can’t always be away from work, no matter. If we cannot always drive four hours to a site, no matter. With just a very little effort, we can share time and experiences with each other by the magic of the age we live in. That is truly amazing, and I am very grateful for it.
Play it, Sam. (or Laine, or Lawton)