The other day, Annabelle woke up from her nap in customary fashion: a sudden, "Mommy! Mommy!? I'm in here!" as though perhaps I forgot that's where I left her. I went and retrieved my little baby and deposited her on the couch so I could get her customary (watered down) apple-juice-after-nap. I had been watching Gilmore Girls while I cleaned, and the Girls were still fast talking away. Annabelle said, "What is this?" Me: "It's Gilmore Girls." Her: "Hmmm....Do they sing in this?" Me: "No, not in this one." Her: "Could we watch something that has singing?"
I grew up in music. And I mean it, in music. Our formal living room houses somewhere in the neighborhood of six musical instruments (all of which my mom plays), and has at one time or another housed upwards of eight or nine by my count. The center of our home is my mom's baby grand, a creamy colored, beautiful wooden piano, with dig marks above the keys in certain octaves where our fingers have rubbed the wood away. She bought that piano just before she got married, one of those purchases she knew she wouldn't be able to make otherwise, and a purchase she wanted to be all her own. Some of my fondest memories are falling asleep to the sound of my mom's fingers on that piano. She is incredibly talented in everything she does, but it seems to me that perhaps her fingers become a little bit magic when they find their home above those keys, and music just effortlessly tumbles out. We began piano lessons as soon as we could read (age four), and while we often fought her on practicing, we all grew to love the piano and music in general. I believe music - sung or played or even listened to - shapes the brain into something marvelous. It lifts spirits. It speaks to our souls. I believe music is vital to life just as water.
For Christmas, Grandma Lichelle gave Annabelle a guitar. Her very own, very real, acoustic guitar, "just her size." Now she can be "just like Maria!" which of course, was my mom's intention. But most important to me, she can sing-sing-sing while she plays her beautiful little tunes. She has yet another way to let beautiful music fill our tiny apartment. She has a harmonica as well (also from Grandma Lichelle) that she got for Christmas the year before. Just yesterday I heard her puffing away on it, random sounds harmoniously melding together in a strange combination of non-matching chords, her cheeks making clouds on the sides of her pretty little face. Suddenly, she pulled it away from her mouth and explained, "That was The Hills Are Alive!" And she was so proud.
Here's to my musical baby. And the hopes that it stays a part of her heart forever.