Category Archives: Tessa

Perfect Moment Monday: On the piano bench

Tessa has taught herself¬† Heart and Soul on the piano, and we’ll often play it as a duet (“often” as in a bazillion times a day).

The other night she asked me to play her a different song, so I pulled out my sheet music from Edvard Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, which I labored over while I was in high school — the peak of my piano talent.

In moments like this, I am reminded how much I used to love the world of arpeggios and key signatures and smallish busts of old composers with weird hair. Music — piano and flute — was so important to my sense of self when I was Tessa’s age.

Let’s say there have been a few years of skill atrophy. This is how Wedding Day is supposed to sound. I did a respectable job playing it for Tessa, but I have been capable of so much more.

No matter. The song lasts longer than Tessa’s usual attention span, and she surprises me by not stopping to move onto something else. When we get to a particularly difficult part — the page filled with flyspecks (as Roger says of written music) and the sounds you hear at 1:30 — Tessa looks up at me with pure admiration and love in her eyes, as if I am Edvard Grieg himself, reincarnated as her mom.

Seeing myself through her wondrous eyes was pitch perfect.

Music can change the world because it can change people. — Bono

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Tension release: From cranky to compassionate

Tessa and I had been on edge with each other all day. Finally in the early evening I invited her to cuddle with me on the couch.

“Neither of us slept well last night. I think we’re just tired,” I offered an explanation why we were both cranky.

“But mom, YOU don’t have a hurt hand, like I do,” Tessa raised her splinted wrist.

“That’s true, Sweetheart. But I’m carrying around a hurt, too. Just not the kind you can bandage up.”

“Really…? What!?” She bolted straight up, eager for some drama from her mama.

“It’s a silly thing, really.” I told Tessa about a conflict I’d been having with someone. Even though this woman was on the periphery of my life, I was giving the conflict with her way more prominence than it merited. I couldn’t shake the¬† malaise. It had probably contributed to my cranky.

Tessa, ever spirited, sprang to my defense. “Mama, you CALL that lady and tell her she’s a B-WORD and she should just SHUT HER MOUTH!”

I was shocked by Tessa’s force. It was as if my inner child, wounded from events of the last few days, were speaking through my child-child.

“I could do that, and I kind of felt like doing that,” I explained, “but if weapon-words did come out like that, in addition to hurting her they would eventually hurt me.”

“Besides,” I said, repeating to her what my parents had often said to me, ” you should never allow anything or anyone to lower the standards you set for yourself. If you think it’s right to behave a certain way, then you don’t let anything that another person does change what you know is right.”

“And another besides, Tessa,” I continued, “this lady has had a lot to deal with, a hard life.”

“What??” Tessa asked, and I told her some of the woman’s story, which caused her to softened a little.

“You know, don’t you,” I said, “that everyone is walking around with a story and that’s why we should always be mindful of being kind.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” I explained, “I didn’t know what kind of week this lady was having. You didn’t know what kind of day I was having. And when Sophie was mean to you this afternoon, she didn’t know that your hand was throbbing. If any of us had known, we might have been kinder. So why don’t we all just be kinder?”

She schnuzzled into me and we sat in silence, no longer cranky.

That night we slept well.

Images: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net, LavenderLuz.com.