It’s high time I told you about our band.
It’s called Fiddle Dee Dee, in an unabashed reference to Gone With the Wind, and is comprised of two members – me and Isadora. Not fiddlers by trade, we began taking lessons together in September. And it’s been a bumpy ride, Folks. So bumpy.
Learning something new is HARD and it makes one quite uncomfortable. She was shocked by this; it may have been the first time that something hadn’t come easily to her. It didn’t help that Momma wasn’t facing quite the same amount of resistance in learning, due in no small part to that whirlwind fling* a few years back.
She dug in her heels and turned every attempt at practicing into a tug of war that lasted a half hour and ended with her defeat, a bucket full of tears, and the promise to adopt a better attitude. Somewhere in every tearful conversation was a reference to “muscle memory” and the promise that it would get easier. But she wanted to quit, and was pretty vocal about it except during our actual lessons, when she would actually try and then shine under the encouragement of our teacher. “Not even I like to practice,” he said. “And you’re a PROFESSIONAL!” she said, with surprise.
Still, the tug of wars persisted. And we didn’t practice all that much as it was. How long should we keep this up, we wondered? How long should we force the issue – maybe it’s just not right for her? We decided that quitting before she was able to give it a fair shot would be doing her a disservice. We all need to experience that uncomfortable bit at the start of something and learn how to push through it, usually with lots of hard work. Right? 6 months, we told her. You can’t quit till February.
Then came “Cluck Old Hen,” our first old-timey song. Lesson night had turned into Special Date Night for The Girl and The Momma, indulging in some one-on-one time together, often at the table of the local taco joint after lessons. And we started jamming together as a family.
All of this was great – the preciousness of date night, the chance to play together, the desire to please her teacher, but the real breakthrough happened when, in a fit of utter defeat, I declared that I would no longer take responsibility for her practice. I handed it over to her entirely, suggesting that she think about how she would feel at the next lesson when it was clear that she had not practiced at all. Bingo. It was like I turned off the Stubborn Switch (hers) and she began playing all the time. God, I have so much to learn about parenting. But I’m taking notes.
More nights than not now, Fiddle Dee Dee takes the stage with The Guitar Men, (so dubbed by Errol) and I daresay we bring the house down. As for me, I am completely smitten with the fiddle and foresee an enduring love affair.
*The Guitar and I have remained on friendly terms, though the passion has waned. I decided that the match wasn’t quite right and needed to see other instruments. (insert fiddle)