Thursday, December 3, 2015

Can you play for me, Peanut?

The day Desirae was born, before they had even weighed her, my mom said "Oh, look at her long fingers, she's going to play piano!"  She doesn't really have long fingers and I'm not sure why I never forgot that, but it's one of the clearest memories from the day I became a mother.

Desirae took a year of piano lessons in 2009.  She picked it up quickly and loved it, so we continued... but the following year, I decided to pick up guitar lessons at the same place and for the next two years, we went together to our lessons and our home was full of beautiful, imperfect sounds.  The first year happened to be while I was pregnant with Rachel - and the next, the year after I lost her.

I almost forget that I was taking lessons with Rachel there with me, but I will randomly come across blog posts that mention me going to or starting my lessons again.  I only took a couple of weeks off after she died and went right back... I did the same with homeschooling... and honestly, knowing how I felt in my mind and heart back then, looking back, that seriously amazes me.

So, in 2010, after figuring out that Des indeed liked and wanted to play piano, we upgraded from her big keyboard and got a used piano that, even with all it's imperfections, made her and her mama smile... a lot.  I have absolutely relished in hearing my little girl play her songs.

Two years ago, she wanted to quit and being the mean mom I am who can see down the road better than she can, told her no.  It was part of her homeschool curriculum in my opinion.  She pushed through and that year, performed in a piano recital.  She hates playing in front of people so this was a big deal.  My whole family came to watch her and were all so impressed at how well she did... and my Grandpa was there and we went out to eat with him afterwards.  It was awesome.

This past year, she begged to quit.  She would hide in her room when the piano teacher showed up and she never practiced in between lessons.  I still forced her because deep down I knew she was meant to play piano... she has music in her.  She is gifted and I didn't want to let her just walk away from all her years of hard work.  But in June, when the lessons ended - so did the sounds of the piano in our home.  She didn't touch it again.

A couple of months ago, Desirae and Isaiah started school outside of our home.  This has been an incredibly difficult decision and transition for our family - and for as much as I hoped it would help my relationship with her by giving her space, it has done way more the opposite.  Our relationship hit an all time low, one I never thought I would ever see with us and it has stayed that way for weeks.  I have found myself daily wanting to pull her out and begging God to let me know if I made a mistake and if I am one day going to regret it - or if it will smooth out with time.  They are in a Christian school full of teachers I respect and trust - but I have yet to have peace about her being there and it's not changing...  being a mom is so freaking hard.

Recently, while trying to figure out where we were putting a new baby in our already very tight home, we decided it was time to give the piano away.  I second guessed it, but it just wasn't being used.  I asked Des if she thought she would use it anymore and she gave me a solid 'no'.  And since the baby is going to take up residence in our living room...  I posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted it.  And that night as I was confirming the plans for someone to come get it, I started to feel really sad about it...

I called to Des and as she turned to ask what I wanted, I couldn't speak... I motioned for her to come over to me and through a sudden onset of a flood of tears whispered "Can you play for me, Peanut?"

She looked at me and fell onto the couch and started to cry too.   Teenage girls are complicated.  But I totally get that....

I asked again... "Can you play me a song?  Do you remember how to play?"

She got up and without saying a word, pulled out a book and started to pluck slowly on the keys.  After getting frustrated, she put that book away and pulled out an older book... and slowly, she started to play... and slowly, the songs came back to her... and slowly, I watched her body change and it was as if a weight was lifted from her.

She is meant to play music... she needed that too.

I sat and listened and I couldn't stop crying.  I didn't totally know why, all I knew was that it wasn't something I was going to be able to stop.  I listened and cried as my big girl played for me for over an hour.

And when she was done, we sat and hugged for a few minutes and then watched a show together at 11pm, just because.

As I thought about my emotional breakdown after she went to bed, I realized a few things...  For one, we bought that piano while I was pregnant with Rachel.  I hadn't even thought of that, but it must have been in my memory deep down.  I remember telling my friend Jill that I was pregnant again after just showing her the piano we bought, which means we bought the piano in April or May of 2010.  That was the same day Isaiah disappeared on us and we had a neighborhood wide search happening, but that's a different story! lol.

I also remembered that I decorate that piano with Rachel's 1st Christmas tree each year... and that Desirae's music has lingered through our home during the most trying times of my entire life.  I realized that I myself have been far off from music, which is comfort to my soul as well.  I realized that the piano, and more specifically Desirae playing it, have been a consistent beautiful distraction to my pain... and I have dearly missed listening to her play.  Not only because it was relaxing and enjoyable for me, but because her deciding she no longer liked it was also a sign that she was growing up and that it wasn't going as I had imagined.... and has been way harder than I could prepare for.

I asked her if she wanted to keep it.  If I should tell the girl that we changed our minds.  I thought that perhaps I should get Rachel's hope chest out of my living room instead since Rachel is gone and Des isn't and Rachel doesn't care if I have her stuff displayed in my home.  I just wanted to do whatever this little girl needed...

She said to me "It's kind of strange that all this is coming up right now because today at glee club, I sat down and tried to play something and got really upset that I couldn't remember anything."

"Until your overly emotional mother asked you to play a song... ?"

"Yeah, until you asked me to play a song... now I don't want to stop playing..."

We talked about getting a big keyboard like she used to have... one with headphones and a pedal so she can play when the baby is sleeping.  And she is excited about that - so I'm happy with it.  I will miss the sound of a real piano filling our home - there's nothing like that - but as long as my girl is happy, I'm happy.

The next day, the original taker told me she couldn't make it and I was again faced with the option to back out.  I asked Des and we agreed that it was time to make a change so that the baby's stuff could fit cutely into our space.  Des is just like me on the interior design thing so she gets needing 'cute' - lol.  So I moved onto the next person able to get it quickly and yesterday afternoon, we cleared Rachel's photos from the top of it and emptied out her lesson books from the last 6 years and watched another family drive off with our piano... and it was ok.

We started setting up for the baby... which I don't tell her but it makes me nervous because if we do and the baby doesn't come home with us, that would kill me to have to move that stuff out... but I think it was the next step in our faith walk.

I'll have photos of the baby's corner in our living room later, but for now, I just wanted to share this one... I know words could never do justice to what was happening in my heart as I watched her play late that night, But I will forever be thankful for the way God worked in my home in that hour.  I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago now and hadn't posted it yet, but Des and I have been in a different place since this night.  I don't know how or why, but God is so, so good to us.


  1. I sure remember that day with Isaiah on the loose! Little turkey...all the while he was just in your van that whole time we were freaking out ;) I don't think there is another comparable experience in life like parenthood that causes one to experience such deep and raw emotions with the same level of highs and's a wild ride, huh? Thinking of you today and remembering Rachel. Praying God holds your heart in his perfect peace today and in the days to come as you wait for baby E's arrival. Love you!

  2. I so love reading your posts. I cried and smiled through this one. Relating to Des and you while thinking of Stephanie and I. You're doing a fantastic job momma! You and Rachel were on my mind all day yesterday. And like Jill said, I pray God holds you close in his arms leading you to the day Baby E arrives. I love you. <3 BIG hugs!

  3. Any indication from Baby E yet that she is ready to make an appearance? <3


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Thank you! ♥ The Aubes