For some reason, I think that at 40 (and then some) years I should pretty much know it all. That, as a matter of fact, I should be the one nodding my head wisely while patting the head of a young student while gently saying, “Yes, young grasshopper. . .you discovered an important law of life. . .”
But, as it works in parenting the lessons are never over. If you are smugly patting young grasshopper’s head, you are actually asking the universe to kick you in the behind.
Such was the event a couple of weeks ago when Maddie had her piano recital. Maddie had practiced the piece again. . .and again. . .and again and even was learning to play it backwards. . .while standing on her head. . .and sleeping. I think that I could even have played that song–with my toes–I had heard it so often.
The day of the recital was CRAZY with two different soccer games bookending the recital. We were rushed. . .and we didn’t allow any time to practice just one more time before the performance.
Oh. . .yes. . .you know where this is going. . .
So, when Maddie’s turn came up, she went to the piano and played her piece and just around the middle part. . .as I was capturing the video on my phone. . .she forgot what came next. She hesitated. . .played a false note and. . .I wanted to shrink under my seat for her. . . and she started from the beginning again and played through.
After all of the students performed and the reception began, I wondered what Maddie’s reaction would be. Would there be tears? Would she fiercely demand the end of lessons and playing the piano? I knew that if it was me, I would feel like I had somehow horribly failed; that obviously I didn’t have the “gift” of being a pianist so I should just quit.
Maddie said, “I forgot a section.”
“Yes, I heard.” I decided to play it cool. Ready to pull out my “young grasshopper ” speech about how everyone struggles but you have to keep moving forward. Practice. Practice. Practice.
“So, I did what Miss Victoria [her piano teacher] told me to do if that ever happens.”
“What was that?”
“You just go back to the place you remember and play from there.”
“Oh, that was good advice.”
“Yep. Can I have a cupcake?”
And that, folks, was the end of that conversation. There was no drama. No self-flaggation. No insistance that the world was going to end. And, no “young grasshopper” speech from me.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WAS STUNNED. WHAT?! You make a mistake. . .follow the breadcrumbs back to the place you know. . .and set out again?!
Well, geewhiz Maddie. . .I could have used that piece of advice about 30 some years ago.