We walked from car to auditorium, wondering what the evening would hold. Violin case in hand, my seventh child had been looking forward to this meeting for weeks.
Gentle breeze, bright blue sky, beautiful campus, this was the setting of my latest stretch. No McClay child has taken violin lessons before, even though there is a large strings program here in the valley. McClays sing in the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, take piano lessons, and play various band instruments.
Strings are something new.
We sat with friends and listened to introductory comments in English and Spanish. She stood in line with friends from school to be measured and fitted to the correct violin size. I chatted with a former neighbor. My girl needed a size up from the loaner violin that had been generously provided.
Back to square one.
I scanned the list of used 3/4 size violins for sale, noting several names and phone numbers. Many were familiar, which happens when one has lived in the valley for over twenty years. Some emails were sent and a facebook plea posted. I heard back from a friend this morning and will take a look at her violin with my girl after piano lessons.
The stretching presents itself when I have to reach out, to ask, to step into unfamiliar territory. It is in listening to and hearing another daughter’s desire and trying to help it happen. It is about being willing to take on an unknown to see if it is a good fit.
It is letting go of comfortable control, disguised as we don’t do violin, because it means one more thing. That one more thing is something to this child. It is choosing to see her as a unique individual in the sea of faces that are our many children.
Strung out. I am. Tightly wound. Like violin strings. Like the broken string we had replaced on the too-small violin. Like the sound that comes when my daughter tries to play music by ear on the too-small violin before having any lessons. That is the sound coming from my heart.
Out of tune. Harsh. Shrill. Tense.
Something that could be beautiful if it were cultivated, which is what I am trying to do.