For my last birthday, Greg chose a present that he was very excited about. I don’t like it when he gets excited about my gifts. Either he has spent too much money or he has bought me something strange, and I know that I will have to try to match his level of enthusiasm. Eleanor was also in on the secret, and the two of them could hardly keep it in.
I let them give me the gift the night before my birthday. They raced to the hiding spot, and Greg tried to hold it behind his back as he carried it down the stairs. Oh dear. Something big. Now I was going to have to be excited about a gift that was not only strange and possibly expensive but also difficult to stow in a closet. (Also, I am clearly a very easy person to shop for.)
It was a violin. At first I was mad. I had always talked about learning to play the violin, but I had never tried. Now Greg had gone whole-hog and bought the thing for me. Greg explained that he had rented the violin and that he planned to arrange our schedule so that I would have time to take lessons. Oh. This was actually a thoughtful gift.
I played piano growing up, though not well. I have tiny hands, so I never felt that the piano was the instrument for me, though my parents were insistent that it was the instrument for me. They made me stick with the lessons through high school (That is a topic for another post, I think). As I grew older, I started to think that it would be nice to play an instrument that better suited me.
I began violin lessons in the spring, and so far, my experience has been lovely. I have a lesson once a week, and I practice for a while each night in our playroom, which is the farthest room from the kids’ bedrooms. I’ve been feeling the passing of time lately and the need to use my days better. I love the idea that I might become a decent violin player just by skipping 20 minutes of TV each night. I also like that I am not playing to please anyone else. When my teacher demonstrates a song for me, I well up. There is something about the sound that makes me feel connected to bigger things. I appreciate the piano, but it has never made me cry.
I also like the example I am setting for the kids. So much of childhood now revolves around sports and screens. Sports are fine, but it’s nice to expose them to something new. Henry sits and listens attentively (pretty much the only time he ever sits) and claps when I finish. Two weeks ago, I bought a violin, so I’m committed now. Greg has been envious of my new hobby.
Last night, I heard noise coming from our playroom while I sat reading a book. Greg has been working out in there occasionally, so I thought he had put on some music for his workout. I walked over to the door to listen. It wasn’t workout music. I heard plucking. Hmm. We bought Eleanor a little ukulele long ago, and Greg sometimes tries to play it. Was he practicing? No, this was deeper than a ukulele.
I opened the door a crack. Greg sat on a chair in the middle of the playroom, a cello perched in front of him. I’ll keep you posted on our upcoming performances.