As I remember it, my mother was made to do every extracurricular activity there was when she was a girl and, not wanting to force things on my sister and I like she had had them forced on her, she never made us do anything.
A piano teacher lived two doors down from us and we never took lessons. Never took dance classes. Never played sports.
The only thing she made us do was learn to swim and that was probably because my sister jumped, without fear, into a hotel swimming pool when she was a toddler and scared the bejeezus out of my mom. After that, we took swimming lessons every summer.
The only thing I ever did do was take tennis lessons because it was the only thing I ever asked to do. I'm sure it was because the tennis court backed up to the swimming pool and, heck, why not take some tennis lessons while waiting on my sister's swim lesson to be finished?
I'm sure my mother asked us me if I wanted to do things. I'm certain she would have asked me about the piano lessons. But, what child says "YES!" to that when all she has seen is her friends dragging in the door of the piano teacher's house after school and hearing them complain about practicing?
Not this one.
As a result, I am now a 42 year old woman taking dance lessons at the studio where my daughter goes. Yup. I finally realized that I wished I had danced and decided to do something about it last year. I even danced, dressed up ridiculously as a rabbit, in last May's recital and will dance again this May. In just a year, I've matured from the lady who had to down a glass of wine before attending class to the one who won't curl up in the corner when some of the teenage dancers are in class with me.
Several years ago, the local university was switching out all of their practice pianos for new ones. We ended up with one of their old pianos and I bought a basic adult piano book so I could start to learn to play. I tried it a couple of times and it was frustrating.
I want to play Clair de Lune. I swear, that is my goal. And there is nothing in that book that is even close, let me tell you.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which always makes me think back to my upbringing in the Lutheran church and the feeling it left me with that I need to give something up for Lent. I thought about it this morning as I wrote my morning pages. I didn't really strike upon anything that seemed meaningful (chocolate? Diet Coke?) or doable (TV? being passive agressive?) to give up, so I decided what I needed to do was to take up something instead.
Maybe it's time to pick up that beginning piano book again and start the work to get to Clair de Lune. It's not like the ability to play it is just going to come to me one day. I have to work towards it.
And, really, isn't that the way it is with everything that is worth having?