Archive for November 3rd, 2011

The Piano Man

As I write this I am being serenaded by the piano man … and I am not talking Billy Joel. Our Chinese son, who is sixteen, humorous, gentle and kind (and who makes a mean soup) also plays piano.

Every day, shortly after returning from school, he sits at our piano and tickles the ivories (and ebonies too … who doesn’t remember that song from the eighties? Good ol’ Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were tickled green(bucks) by that number one hit … but, I digress), and all of the stress of my day fades away.

He is currently playing Yiruma’s “River Flows in You” right now. It is a song with lullaby qualities that make me feel as though I haven’t a care in the world (it is also known as the ‘people’s choice’ for the song to be “Bella’s Lullaby” for the Twilight movie). He also frequently plays Mozart’s Sonata K545, and I feel as though I am on the set of the filming of Pride and Prejudice with the hilarity of poor Jane’s dysfunctional family flitting all around.

I remember the first day, after he moved in, that I realized that China’s got talent. I was making tea in the kitchen when the most beautiful music was playing in my living room. After a few minutes, I realized that I heard a mistake (it must have been a big mistake for me to hear it) in the music that I had thought must be coming from a stereo. I wandered into the living room to see our new son by another mother sitting at our dusty piano, playing in a manner that said he knew what he was doing.

I dropped to the sofa, and tried to pick my chin up from where it had dropped on the floor. All I could think was, ‘we are getting paid to be serenaded by this talented young man? How did we get so lucky?’ So I sat there, surrounded by musical beauty that fed my soul. And when he was done, I thanked him with a standing ovation. He was aghast that I could have heard anything good from his unpracticed fingers.

Music … that was what we were sharing.

Perspective … that was what we were not sharing.

His perspective came from his expectations that he could only be good if he was of the quality of a concert pianist. My perspective came from my lack of expectations upon my afternoon. He surprised me pleasantly. He only surprised himself if he was flawless. He expected perfection. I expected nothing, and was delighted with the music he made.

I still think he makes great music. And I still think that my perspective is the right one … because I (the hearer) heard and more than that, received his gift … imperfect, unpolished, but gift wrapped nonetheless. And I received gladly.

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