I grew up in a family surrounded by music. Every morning, mom played her Bach or Chopin concert pieces to our delight. We often danced like awkward ballerinas or sat beside her, mesmerized by the melody of her piano pieces. Naturally, she wanted us to learn the piano. With 7 siblings taking up piano, organ and guitar lessons, our parents imposed nightly concerts after dinner. We actually had fun showing off our pieces. As we entered college, our passion for music diminished. Only a brother and a sister continued to hone their musical talent.
Then I got married and had 2 girls and a boy. In 1989, my dad surprised me with a piano . “It’s my Christmas gift to your girls. They should be playing the piano.”
I was so touched by his generosity. My father at that time was disabled and unable to work but he had significant savings to tide him over. He mumbled “One of your girls might have your mom’s music genes”. I remembered that my sister, B started piano lessons at the age of 4. Maybe L, my four year old daughter might be interested to study the piano.
I was amazed at L’s chubby fingers as she nimbly played complicated piano pieces at the age 4. Maybe she will be a concert pianist one day, the stage mother in me mused. She continued playing the piano and cultivating her other artistic talents during her growing up years. Then on her sixteenth year, she asked for an electric guitar.
My husband coughed ” I imagine you wearing a beautiful gown sitting on a stool while you play the cello”
My daughter laughed “That will not happen dad. I want to be a “rock star”“.
My concert pianist wants to be a rock star. I grimaced. Pooof, she’s not going to be a concert pianist after all. As a mother , it’s natural to have dreams for our children but I would never impose my own unfulfilled dreams on them. I decided I’d be supportive.
I remembered that Butch’ family had a 1960 red vintage Eko guitar stashed away somewhere that belonged to his grandmother. She bought it from a garage sale of an American leaving the Philippines and used it to attract crowds during her husband’s campaign for Congressman in the sixties. With a few repairs from a Raon st. shop, the guitar sprang back to “life” as L strummed the night away in her sound-proofed bedroom.
L continued with her guitar till her college freshman year. I thought maybe it was just a phase for her. For the past 3 years, this beautiful red guitar served as a conversation piece beside the piano in our living room along with 2 acoustic guitars. Last night she surprised me with the latest news tidbit : my friends and I formed a grunge-rock-punk girls band . Oh dear, with those horrible arrows in her ear, an eyebrow ring, together with the new rock band, that image is completely different from what I envisioned my sweet looking daughter to be. But that is the kind of music she wants to play. Though it may not be Bach , Chopin or Handel , it’s still music. Playing music is an emotional outlet and she’s happy with it. A mother’s special dream for her children is to see them happy with their chosen path. Her path may not be what “all the girls do”.
Wherever my girls go in life, whatever they choose to do, I know they will accomplish greatness. I also know that if ever they are in doubt about anything, they can trust their intuition, and go with their best judgement , because they know themselves. I know they are not worried if they make a mistake or change direction from time to time, since they still have many more “learning” years ahead of them. They know that if they ever need help or advice, I will always be here for them in any way that I can be. Although their faith in God is a bit shattered right now, I constantly remind them to pray even if praying is hard to do.
Wherever they may go in life, my love goes with them.