As I write this, I remember that today is my mother-in-law’s birthday.
Weird, I would remember that, as she left us many years ago.
Still, when I see pussywillows softening roadside ditches and the earth going through the labor pains of spring, I think of her.
My mother-in-law was a no nonsense type of woman who didn’t have a lot of time for small talk probably because she was so busy in the kitchen; always moving, always making things; canning, cleaning, cooking.
They say communication is only ten percent verbal anyway, so it didn’t really matter to me that she didn’t talk much.
I liked her a lot!
I was only 18-years-old when I first met her. I was not much older when I presented her with her first grandchild; a healthy 8 lb. 1 ounce baby boy. To say the least, she was surprised. No doubt, she wasn’t expecting such a gift from me. I was, after all, the kid she had introduced to her lady friends as her son’s little friend only months before. I handed her the child when he was about two weeks old, hoping she would notice how wonderful he was and love him at once.
She took him in her capable hands, paused momentarily from hanging the washing on the line, examined him thoroughly and before long her knitting needles began clicking and her sewing machine began whirring and, as it turned out, the child, as were his sisters, was dressed by grandma pretty much until they started college.
We lost grandma several years ago physically, but we really lost her many years before that when she left this world in her mind, only returning in brief, lucid moments to grace us with a smile or a gentle squeeze from tired, bony fingers, the parchment skin stretched so tightly across them, it seemed like it would tear at the slightest pressure.
I loved grandma for a lot of things, but mostly because she loved me back, I think, but even more importantly than that, she loved my children.
And, also, she gave me the piano.
The piano has been with us for many years, traveling unceremoniously to all our houses, being hauled in and out by many strong men, who got to show how very strong they were, indeed, by hauling such a piano.
It has sat in our last home, in its place of honour in the living room, for almost 20 years.
And, if the truth were known, there has been months, when it has gathered dust and its keys have been still and quiet.
It’s different now.
In one of my ‘self improvement’ ahaa moments, I decided I needed to expand my horizons. I had many options. Learn to tweet, retake math 30, oops, I never did take math 30, join a knitting club, (never learned that either), or start piano lessons again.
I decided to go with the piano.
It is slow; painfully slow, but I so do love it.
Right now I am learning the Sound of Music, which, surprisingly is even beginning to sound like said song.
I know this because the other day I asked my husband what his favorite song was that I could play and he said the one about the hills!
There you go!
I notice he turns his hearing aids down when I play, but I refuse to take that as an insult.
Besides, I have discovered the ‘loud’ pedal!
ON THE OTHER SIDE