Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hit a sour note

Yesterday was piano recital day. We've been practicing for months. I don't know why I said "we." The Cowgirl has been practicing. I've been enduring the practicing. I mean enjoying. She is actually really good. When she stops making the keyboard sound like a harpsichord or trumpets or Gregorian chanters and just plays the piano it sounds great.
But I digress. Recital. Twelve children. One piano. Nervous parents. But no one was as nervous as my Cowgirl. She stopped talking about an hour before showtime and only answered with terse nods. By the time she stood up and took her place at the piano she looked like a brave heroine about to walk the plank- stiff chin, terrified eyes and all.
And then, despite our every reassurance, it happened- she played the wrong chord. Her chin started to shake. Her eyes started to tear.
 I started to cry because she was so miserable I could feel it from across the room. She plowed through her two pieces, fled from the piano and threw herself in the Artist's lap where she commenced silent sobbing. She was mortified. Devastated. She still doesn't want to talk about it.
Every other child made a few mistakes or started over or lost their place and smiled in embarrassment and soldiered on. My child- not so much.
She expects so much out of herself. And if she does everything perfectly, she considers herself just adequate. It's ironic how some of the best people I know are the ones who feel like they just don't stack up. And some of the not-greatest people I know feel pretty snazzy about themselves. Just ironic.
Luckily, the Cowgirl has a sister.
And luckily her sister came wrapped in sunshine and smiles to brighten up our lives when we take ourselves too seriously. She stood guard while the Cowgirl sobbed, patted her head, occasionally tried to get a peek at her wet face- but no luck. That girl was hunkered down for over 40 minutes!
I've always known there would be tough things in life for my girls to face. I just didn't expect playing the piano would be one of them. At least when this trouble hit she had a warm lap and a loyal sister. I guess we should all be so lucky.


  1. Cowgirl, congratulations! You have now entered the elite world of making mistakes. It makes us stronger. Truly, I feel bad for the poor saps who do it perfectly the first time through...they will never know what a glorious feeling it is to do it perfectly AFTER you have made a mistake.

  2. Dearest Cowgirl...who, just WHO would ever want to do everything perfect their first time around??? A wrong chord just made you wiser, and oh so much more prepared for next time. You are one of the coolest almost-perfect-little-girls I know, but to be honest I am in AWE of you mostly for the way you represent kindness everywhere you go. That's what REALLY makes you almost-perfect.

  3. Oh that's so sad. I'm so sorry for her. How incredibly brave though, just to get up and do it! I have never been to a recital without mistakes. Hopefully she recovers from this quickly!

  4. Poor girl! I always hated piano recitles for just that reason...I knew, just KNEW I would mess up, so I rarely did them. So glad she has you guys to put your loving arms around her.