Squeaky Sneakers

Published Date: November 21st, 2011
Category: Weekly Thought

I almost threw up today because I was so nervous.

So nervous for my son’s first piano recital, that is. And why was I nervous, you wonder? Because in my SEVEN years of piano lessons, I absolutely refused to participate in any sort of piano recital. Or to play the piano in front of any human being.

But did I make my son play in HIS recital?

You betcha.

He didn’t even know it was a choice (kind of like my mother never even knew I had the choice to participate in a recital as a child. See how this all works?)

And in the preceding week prior to his recital, I found myself dangerously slipping into Tiger Mom mode. It was truly scary. Not my proudest moments.

I would sit down in the rocking chair in our newly created “music room” that was supposed to ENTICE all these people to buy our house (has not worked yet) and “listen” to him practice.

With each minute, my blood pressure would go up just a little bit more. Because a Van Cliburn he is not.

Even though he had been practicing “Squeaky Sneakers” for nearly THREE WEEKS, he still just couldn’t really play it. Without taking 2-3 minute breaks. Or basically just playing many wrong notes. And all I could keep thinking is,

“Oh God. He is going to absolutely BOMB up there on the church stage. And then I will die.”

So I would slide on next to him and make him practice each page twice and then put it all together and play that twice.

And then he would get upset and I would say, “I don’t understand how you still can’t play this!” and he would stomp off and I would realize all I was missing was well-shaped eyebrows, a satin dressing gown and dainty slippers, and some wire hangers. Because this piano recital had turned me into THAT mother. I realized that something needed to change. And that change was me.

So my solution, you wonder?


I was pretty much banned from the music room while he practiced and concluded that if he bombed his first piano recital, that’s okay.

Because he is six-years-old.

It took me a while to get there. Some coaching from my husband and sister-in-law. But I made it. Kind of. Because I have to be honest—I was a NERVOUS WRECK the day of his recital. I really hid it from him and was supportive and told him that however he did, as long as he tried his hardest, we would be so proud.

But on the inside, as the minutes crept up and his turn got closer and closer, I was just a LITTLE bit closer to pulling him from the stage and whisking him out of there so he didn’t have to experience this hell called, “performing in front of other people.”

Then a magical moment happened. Right before he was going to play he looked over at me and smiled. And I realized that my panic was exactly that—MY PANIC. He didn’t care. He was really just going to go up there and play his best and if it went well, great. And if it didn’t, well at least he would get some post-piano recital treats.

The time came. His name was called. He approached the bench in a no-nonsense manner, confidently placed his music on the stand, slipped onto the bench and without a blink, started playing.

And rocked it. Not one mistake.

I was so proud of him. And for the first time in my 6 short years as a mother I finally understood that although our children come from us, that does not mean they inherit all of our neuroses and psychotic expectations. They LEARN those from us.

So from now on, no more rocking in the rocking chair for me while he practices his piano. I’ll just hide in the kitchen, keep my mouth shut, and hope that piano recitals only happen once a year…

This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 11:17 am and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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