Grandma’s music recital

Years ago, in a different time and place, I was a one of those moms who frequented arenas and gymnasiums and music recitals.

By Treena Mielke

Years ago, in a different time and place, I was a one of those moms who frequented arenas and gymnasiums and music recitals.

I transported skates and hockey equipment and gymnastic gear, securing the shields of bravery and inspiration over my children’s little hearts with whispered words of encouragement and love.

But, when the last child crammed her cherished CDs, her grandma’s homemade quilt and the last load of neatly folded laundry into her vehicle, resolutely turning her wheels down the one-way road leading to adulthood and her own apartment, I thought those doors had closed behind me for ever.

But, it turned out I was wrong.

I’m a grandma now and I’m back!

It’s even better this time. In fact, it’s incredibly awesome.

It is so easy. Being a grandma means you just have to show up, slip gracefully into a chair someone, who knows you are usually late, has saved for you, look around and smile benevolently at everyone.

They all smile back. I have noticed that people return smiles to grandmas and young moms pushing strollers and people walking little dogs on leashes.

Being a grandma means I get to watch ball games, tae kwon do tournaments, cheer and gymnastic competitions, skating fun meets, hockey and swimming. And last, but not least, music recitals.

It is incredibly awesome to be the grandma.

However, this year I made a decision, which put me out of the comfort zone of just being a grandma sitting in the audience, looking all serene and knowledgeable, and, just a tiny bit smug to being an absolutely terrified participant.

I was attending a piano recital, but this time, as one of the students. I actually sat at the piano and fumbled my way through a particularly lovely melody called, “When the River Meets the Sea.” I had practiced “the song” for about a million hours until my fingers ached and I could hear it in my head when I cooked supper, when I did the dishes, when I went for coffee, when I talked on the phone and when I finally put my head down on my pillow to go to sleep.

I grew to hate “the song”, but still it played on and on in my head relentlessly, like a record spinning out of control.

I have been taking piano lessons for about three years, proving only that I have much more determination than skill at the keyboard, but, still I plod along, being ridiculously happy when I master a song, any song with minimal mistakes.

My piano teacher who is kind, and only slightly devious, said I should play in her recital. I said “no.” She said, “it’s not just about you, you should do it so other old people will be inspired. Actually, I believe she used the word, “mature.” Again I said, “no”. She said, “Think how proud your grandchildren would be.”

I said, “Well, maybe.”

Anyway, before I knew it, I was at the recital, wiping my clammy hands on my skirt and lacing my fingers together to keep them from trembling. I smoothed down my skirt, which I had worn because of its flamboyant bright oranges and blues. I was hoping the skirt would portray boldness and confidence on the outside and these traits would somehow transfer themselves to my insides, which were doing a nervous jiggle, kind of like Jell-o that had not quite set.

Well, I played “the song”, not well, but I played it and I dedicated it to my grandchildren because I wanted them to know that I got it.

I got that recitals can be horrible, frightening events and it doesn’t matter how yummy the snacks are later!

I got that thinking happy thoughts and smiling and breathing deeply is much, much easier if you are in the audience, not in front of it.

And I got that they are very brave people and being a kid is fun most of the time, but not all the time.

But mostly I got that stepping out of one’s safe little comfort zone, no matter how that looks, is not easy.

And fear has no age limit.

Treena Mielke is editor of the Rimbey Review and a columnist for the Black Press newspaper chain.

 

Just Posted

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read