Sunday, January 2, 2011

About that piano............

January 1st 2011 - Our son Dallas moved into his first house. It comes along with his first "real" job as a Music Minister in a church in Georgia and will hopefully be where he stays as he finishes up his Bachelors and works on his Masters.

January 2nd 2011 - Back home after a yesterday's 12 hours of driving the U-Haul trailer up to help him move into that new house and be ready for Church this morning and then on the way back home picking up the Antique Bedroom Suite we bought to replace his bedroom furniture.

Reality hits.

Actually, it gave its first little tap yesterday while I was setting up his new kitchen. The Pastor was there and asked Dallas and his friend Mystie to sing something for him. As I listened to them just like I've done many times in our home on that same piano, I suddenly realized that by letting him take that piano - he'd never play it in OUR home again. He's the only member of our five member immediate family that mastered it. I tried. For years, I tried. But it is simply not my thing.

Dallas taught himself to play on that piano just like my brother Kirk taught himself to play on that piano. Almost everyone who has ever been to our house in the past 12 years has heard Dallas play it. Before him, there was Kirk playing every time he came to visit or Mom playing it just as she did when it lived in her house while Kirk and I (and Amy) finished growing up there. Ask almost any one of my high school friends and they'll tell you stories of my extended family gathered around that piano singing our hearts out.

This was his High School Graduation Party - he had disappeared - everyone else was outside -
I found him inside playing the piano all by himself....exactly where I knew he'd be

Its old. It is permanently a half step off. It has keys that stick and keys that simply won't work any longer. Part of it has been stripped of the almost black finish that it had when Mom first saw it against a back wall of the store she was in, covered by an old blanket and then talked the owner into accepting $70.00 for it.

Its been through several floods - a few of my high school friends could probably tell stories of us being at my house with buckets after a downpour bailing out water from the garage that would become a Family Room a year or two later. Laughter with a touch of fear always accompanied us as we worked to keep that piano safe from the incoming tide.

It was wheeled out onto the back deck where David and I held our Wedding Reception 28 years ago so that 18 year old Kirk could play it while Struby played bass and two other teenage boys whose names I can't remember all played the music for our guests. I wish I had a video of the clouds that night as they threatened rain and moved so quickly and beautifully over us as we celebrated our wedding; or a recording of my mother softly praying all day that it wouldn't rain - please don't let it rain.

We haven't had that particular piano all my life. There were several. One of my first memories from childhood was standing beside my mother and singing "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know" as she played piano. I remember the laughter as I missed the note on the third Jesus...badly...and how she softly sang it for me and had me do it again. I think I was about 4 years old. I know I was no older than 5 because that piano soon would be left behind as we moved to Germany for two years.

There was a piano in Germany too. We were always around that one as well but now there were young men stationed there who served under my Dad and spent a lot of time at our home. Some of them had wives; most of them didn't. I remember Rod playing "Come Home, Its Supper Time" as my mom called over the balcony down to the "common" below where Kevin played with other kids to tell him to come in for Supper. I remember Mom, Dad and Rod practicing "Its Not An Easy Road" to sing it a Church one Sunday. I practiced my first ever solo in that same church on that particular piano.

When we came back after three years overseas - there was another piano for the eight years we lived in Ohio (in three different houses~) then it was sold in a Whole House Auction as we prepared to move to England for another year abroad.

And then there was this piano. There was always a piano. Now there isn't.

Reality hit.....when I realized that Dallas wouldn't be playing a piano in our home.

As I listened to him and Mystie yesterday; I thought to myself "I shouldn't have let him take it - we should have gotten him another." But I pushed that thought aside and kept on setting up his kitchen. I didn't mention it again until the drive back to Florida - the look on David's face made me realize that he hadn't thought about it until that very moment. You see, he's been a part of my life now for almost 31 years - he's watched my Mom, Kirk and Kevin (when he was home and me and even Amy and my Dad sometimes sing around that piano. He's sat and listened to Dallas play it for the last 12 years. And now he won' least not in this house again.

It really is a funny thing - how a parent goes from believing they'll be devastated when their children leave home when those children are small to being ready and excited for them when the time comes for them to actually do the leaving. I spent the last two weeks reassuring my friends that I was fine about Dallas really truly leaving home for the first time. And I was - until that piano was played in that new home he left us for.....

The piano's new home

Let me clarify - I'm still fine about it all. He's doing what he was called to do. He's 24 and he's ready and so am I for him to be out on his own to do the final bit of growing up that only really comes when you are responsible for your own place.... for keeping that electric on and the water flowing and the phone connected....

He needed to take that piano with him...and I needed for him to take it. I knew that that big empty house he was going to would not really be home for him until he could sit at a piano and play. I would have been second guessing myself if I had told him he couldn't take it...every time I passed it as I walked through the dining room I would have thought - it belongs with him now.

I can always get another piano but why? Without someone to make music on it, what is the point? Dallas will come home to visit and he'll miss his piano and I'll miss the music but unless he's here to play it would just be sitting there. Its just the music....I'll miss the music that piano made whenever Dallas is in the house....

I miss the music already especially since he's been home for the past two weeks playing it off and on all day every day. But Mom still has a piano that I can hear HER play and when Kevin or Kirk are here we can all sing around it and I can pop "So Piano" into a CD player or listen to my IPod to hear Kirk play.....and the road to Dallas' house isn't all that long when I feel the need to hear HIS music. And when he comes home for visits? Well, its a good thing he plays guitar.......and that a guitar is lot more portable then a piano!

Christmas Day 2010

(And since Hunter plays guitar - they'll still be family making music together - just a little bit differently then in the past.)

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