I got a call at work from an excited Grace after school last week. I could tell by her tone that she really, really wanted something but was scared to say it.
In a carefully phrased conversation that was purposely vague, she told me about a piece of paper she left out for me that detailed something she was very excited about but was afraid might be too expensive.
It turns out she wants to play the violin and join orchestra.
I wanted to dance and shout. Instead, I tried to play it cool. There's nothing like an overeager endorsement from Mom to make an adolescent instantly question her decision.
After having fruitless conversations with Benjamin over the years about taking up an instrument and most recently about playing in band, I didn't have much hope that Grace would be any different. But with many things at this age, all it took was interest from friends to get her hooked.
I couldn't have planned that if I had tried.
After confirmation that she does indeed understand she needs to practice and completion of the paperwork, we are on our way.
Little does she know how much her choice means to me. I played Suzuki violin through my sophomore year, when the years of pressure and practice finally got to me along with a lack of friends in the orchestra, and I quit.
On and off over the years I've hauled my violin from the closet to see how much I remember, and it's like learning a new language and never speaking it again. I no longer am fluent. After playing for 11 years, I went completely cold turkey when I stopped and wasn't remotely interested in picking up the instrument again until I had kids. They have seen me with my violin but never truly heard me play.
I'm going to take a decidedly lower key with Grace. If she plays for one year or for nine, I will be happy that she at least tried.
I don't expect her to have a starring role in the symphony one day or be a professional violinist, but I look forward to hearing the sounds of a bow rubbing on strings - however squeaky - once again.
- Julie Gilkay: 920-993-1000, ext, 319, or email@example.com. On Twitter @JulieGilkay. She is the mother of Benjamin, 12, Grace, 10, and Lucas, 8.