29 June 2015

Thank You....and I'm Sorry

For many years I have acknowledged without reserve two gifts from my mother:  teaching me to type and footing the bill for me to study piano from grade school through high school.  Each skill complemented the other, generously supporting acquisition and mastery. And, because of that, I developed exceptional eye-hand coordination, becoming a demon-fast typist and an accomplished pianist in the process. Both skills have at various times put food on the table and a roof over my head.

Two new insights today.

I didn't need to go to college. The staggering student loan debt I took on, that I will never have means to repay, was an unnecessary move. I have, to date, never had a job that required either of my college degrees.

Granted, my experiences in college led to adventures and being introduced to ideas I might not have encountered otherwise. I say, might not.

And the years I spent in classrooms also delayed commencement of the series of mind-numbing jobs I held after college. College was, hands down, a heck of a lot more fun than any job I've ever had working for someone else. It was a very expensive Good Time.

But the whole "go to college so you can get a good job" thing never panned out for me.

The second insight comes as I juggle my teaching schedule to accommodate the goings and comings of my students. Their lives encroach upon and collide with their music studies. This did not happen for me. My mother insisted, with very little resistance from me, that my piano lessons were a priority. Everything else came second. In the absence of debilitating illness, there were no acceptable reasons for missing a piano lesson. Period.

What drove her? It dawns on me today that she probably nurtured a dream of playing piano herself. A dream deferred -- realized vicariously. I benefited greatly from that situation and continue to benefit.

She frequently assured me, 'You have no talent. No more than anyone else. Anyone can play piano." Now I see that her sour-grapes attitude was an expression of a lifelong disappointment that she did not have/make a chance to play piano. In the lean years of my adulthood, when I could not afford to purchase or rent an instrument, she adamantly refused to store the family's piano with me and was staunchly uncooperative in working out a schedule so I could practice at her house.

Such mean-spirited-ness makes sense at last to me. It was a highly emotional issue for her. I didn't get what I wanted. I sacrificed so that you could have what I wanted. It hurts....