My mom and dad were divorced and living apart when I was trying to make my way in Nashville; and every time I went back home to visit San Antonio, I always stayed at my mom’s. This was a source of contention for my dad, who couldn’t understand why I didn’t split my time and stay at his house too. I told him, “Dad, you put too much pressure on me. I’m comfortable at Mom’s. Please stop asking.” He did stop, but one day said, “Wait ‘til you see what I just got for you!” He had bought an electric piano to try to woo me over to his house. It was a nice piano and I sat at it once or twice but never really played it.
My dad died a few years ago. My sister, Cheryl and her husband, Steve, were the kind souls who drove from Austin to San Antonio to pack up all my dad’s things. When my other sisters and I arrived, Cheryl said, “What are we going to do with this piano?” I sat down at the piano for the first time in years and noticed that there was still plastic on the petals. No one had ever played it. I sat down with so much regret and tears streaming down my eyes. I played a song on it for the first time and realized that I should have done this a lot sooner.
Since it was years old but essentially untouched, my sisters and I decided to sell it. My mom was the first in line. I said, “But you don’t even play!” She said, “That’s alright. It’s a nice piano and I like having music in my house. Maybe someone will!”
My mom has had it for 4 years now. I went back for a visit a few weeks ago. I sat down at the piano and turned the power button on. When my foot pushed down the petals, I realized that they still had plastic on them. It was like brand new. Knowing what a wonderful singer my mother is, I asked her, “Do you wanna learn how to play it?” Her eyes lit up and she said, “Yes! Can you show me?” So I moved over to give her room on the bench and we had our first lesson. She actually squealed when she heard the first chord ring out as she spread her fingers across the keys. Before long, she had learned three chords… all the chords she needed to play three of her favorite songs.
I said, “You have to promise me you’ll practice, Mom. You’re really good!” She said, “I will! I will!” and asked me to write down everything she learned that day so she could refer to her notes when I went back to Nashville.
I feel badly I never took the time to sit at the piano with my father. I’m trying desperately to make up for that with my mom while I’ve still got her.