I feel like it's been a long time since I got caught up with the peeps ! So much is going on here. (Not to mention Christmas!)
First, I had a wonderful Holiday. It's so funny how things work out. The event that is a big peak experience is rarely the one you think will turn out that way.
Just a couple of days after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Allie had her piano recital. She was excited, and we bought the glittery dress, and she practiced, but of course a pall hung over Tom and I because of that shooting. Allie got all dressed up, and we tried to be cheerful for her. Then we got to the church where the recital was held, First Baptist in downtown Marietta, and it was like all the pain sort of fell away.
I can't tell you what an amazing day it was and how healing this event was. The church was lovely and quiet and peaceful. The teacher, Kyley Smith, is lovely and peaceful. All the parents and kids were dressed up like people used to dress up for Christmas events at Church. All these healthy, well cared for children were wandering around, shiny eyed and well behaved. All the parents, of course, were thinking of the parents of Sandy Hook, so maybe that was why everyone was so kind to each other, so careful to be considerate. The kids sat with their parents until their moment to perform, and we were all remarking on the beauty of the children, the beauty of the day.
The recital started with the 4 year olds. Now, seriously, this is as cute as watching puppies play the piano! Not a dry eye in the house, as each one successfully waded through their selection to waves of love and applause. When each performer returned to their seat, they were treated as conquering heroes by all parents nearby. The performers were sorted by age, each one older than the one before. One eight year old boy played Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter, and was dressed the part of Harry Potter, right down to the stuffed white owl! He was almost too cute to bear!
This teacher is so extraordinary that there were almost no errors, and she was sitting unobtrusively by if the student got lost in the music. So often these things are not well organized, but this went like a dream. We all bathed in the music, the children and their innocence. Allie was the first of the advanced kids and she did really well. She has some real ability and long, long fingers, and did a fabulous job with Carol of the Bells, a piece which I dearly love. When she returned to the pew, all the folks around us fussed over her, as we did for each child. There was such a sense of community and the caring we all felt for each other's children. It was heavenly.
For the finale, Kyley and her most advanced student did a hilarious medley of frenetic piano music for two people on the same piano, finally exchanging seats while playing, all flawlessly and at lightning speed. It brought down the house and left everyone laughing and applauding madly. No one wanted to leave. We milled around, taking pictures of the kids with Kyley, with Mom and Dad, whatever we could think of to stretch this moment, when all these children, at least, were safe. It was such a gift, this small island of peace and music. This, I thought, is Christmas. I was able to hold that peace for a long time and warm myself by it even now.
I guess it really is all about community. Human beings are pack animals and we need each other in times of crisis. So why don't you join some members of your quilt community at one of our late night sew-ins! We'll be sewing and jabbering Friday night, January 25th from 6:00 until who-knows-when. Hope you can come and contribute to the warm fuzzies!
Love from all of us at Red Hen!!