To my family: Thank you so very much for the gift of music this year.
Early last November, work was especially stressful and busy and I’d just taken over a whole desk’s worth of accounts (I work in exports) where everything was a complete disorganized mess. It was pretty bad and though better, it still has a long way to go before it’s in good shape. On a particularly bad day, I wrote a comment on Facebook that included “I really wish I had my piano today – I could really use it.” I was stressed and I was having trouble coming down from the general craziness of the no-light-in-sight overworked mess that had become my job – which I fortunately like! I usually don’t post much about work unless I get crazy questions like “Where is China? Is it close to the Netherlands?” Really people. Look at a map once in a while, will ya? Sheesh!
Anyway, my need for a piano sparked an idea in my mom. You see, I started playing a keyboard instrument the Christmas before I turned 3. I started lessons at age 5 and took lessons all through high school – despite having moved a zillion times and constantly changing teachers – all of whom were the “lady down the street” types who just “happened” to teach piano on the side. I never seriously studied music. The piano though was always the first place I went after school. Mom could tell if I had a bad day because I’d go straight to Rachmaninoff or Beethoven and take full advantage of those Quadruple Fs! By the time I’d moved on to Mozart or Bach, she knew I’d calmed down. My piano was my stress relief growing up. I’ve never been athletic, but I’ve always been hyper and fidgety – hence the piano and my knitting.
Summer of 2011, I moved from a 3-BR house to a dinky city apartment. A coworker has had my piano in his house since the spring of 2011 – the very last time I’d actually touched a piano.
“I think there’s some kahootenizing going on here!”
– Col. Sherman Potter, M.A.S.H.
Every year, my mom always asks my brother and me (and now the SIL and grandkids) for a Christmas list. She always sticks to our lists, so we are always good enough to provide a variety of items at various price points which will inevitably always include a one-way ticket to Paris. I love Paris.
This year was no exception. I included the usual knitting accessories, DVDs, music, etc. Mom usually shares this list with the other relatives as she’s the matriarch of the family and therefore the primary organizer (and all-round kahootenizer) of our family Christmas. Providing a list though means I can’t buy anything for myself until after my birthday the end of January. Usually, if Mom buys too much for Christmas, she puts something away and saves it for a birthday present. See? Very convenient.
So after my stressful day in November (and I’ve had many more since) Mom shared her thoughts with my Dad, brother and sister-in-law – who were all instantly on board with her idea. The online and in-person research began as they were all about to go in on my Christmas / Birthday present.
Christmas morning gave us a constant melody of “AHHHHs!” and “OH YEAHs!!” from my young nephews when my brother and Dad suddenly went into my brother and SIL’s bedroom to pull out a big gift which I’d been told was a soccer goal for my nephew Alex. They came out and put it in front of me. “HUH?” After all, I’m not supposed to get big gifts – the boys are. I’m just the aunt! Naturally I gave everyone a suspicious glance and started pulling off wrapping paper when I saw a picture of a keyboard. I stopped and looked at Mom asking – “am I going to cry?” (as my eyes watered up, though hers did, too.) I pulled off the paper and wow – it really WAS a piano! Well – a Yamaha electric keyboard but it sure sounds like a piano. 88 keys, touch sensitive and everything. WOW! I had a piano again!
I was floored. This was totally unexpected. Then they put other boxes in front of me…a piano bench, a stand, sustaining pedal, some piano books (since Mom wasn’t sure if I still had my piano music – which fortunately I do!) I pretty much spent the rest of the day walking around in a state of disbelief thinking… “Did this really just happen?”
They gave me music. You can’t beat that. I’m no longer limited to just buying tickets – I can play music again, too. Work stress be damned. My world has definitely gotten better. 🙂