Our young friend Rachel came over to practice performing her upcoming violin recital piece on us. Akemi and I were impressed that she already is so prepared for her mid-January performance date. We were especially delighted to experience her recent progress, as she is playing far beyond her first-grade years.
Seeing Rachel’s music book from the same series Akemi studied from made Akemi nostalgic for her own childhood pieces and the good ole Colburn days. Boy, Akemi thought those pieces were hard and her Colburn schedule demanding. Her repertoire with Mr. Buswell, the standards in the New England Conservatory violin program, and the juggle with her Tufts program have made the intensity of the Colburn-Poly years seem like a cakewalk.
After Rachel and her mother Annette left, Akemi came into my room clutching her old volume and said words which were music to my ears: “Mommy, come play with me.” Since there’s no way I could sight read these rusty days the orchestral reductions and other piano parts to Akemi’s NEC repertoire, getting to play with her is a rare treat indeed. We thoroughly enjoyed reading through some of her old festival and recital pieces, until she needed to return her energy to practicing some of her current assignments: the impossibly difficult second Prokovieff concerto, the c-minor Grieg sonate, Op. 45, and Wieniawski etudes and caprices.
Our little trip down the musical memory lane was a very helpful exercise in perspective. As great as Akemi has sounded at every stage, revisiting her childhood greatest hits with NEC ability gave us both the chance to appreciate how far she has come and how much she has improved. As a parent, I’m proudest of her hard, hard work and for the integrity and character she has developed in her musicianship. As I listen to her practice this holiday break, I am gratified for having devoted every minute, spent every penny, and traveled every mile over 15 years and counting.
On this New Year’s eve, I’m applying perspective to other areas of my life. It was at last year’s Christmas eve dinner that I told my brother John my hematologist was raising the possibility of Waldenstrom’s, but that was just supposed to be the worst case scenario. Just like Akemi making the leap from the Accolay concerto to the second Prokovieff – who would have thought?
This blog hasn’t just been about “the big C” because I am not going to allow my life to be just about “the big C.” I’m toasting many good things which also have happened in 2010, and I am looking forward to many good things on deck for 2011. So as you raise your glass, be it filled with Martinellis’ or Veuve Cliquot, please know I also raise my glass in acknowledgment of the happiness, love, comfort, encouragement, companionship, and fun you share with me. Happy new year!