On Starting Over

All of life is a lesson in perspectives. A first grader’s piano recital is a small thing in the scheme of things. Infinitesimally small, if you take a look at the scale of the universe.

But to that first-grader and her family, the 115 second performance expand to fill all of space and time.

We sat on the edge of our seats as Miss Maya stepped up to the grand piano. The first bars of Tedescho began playing in our heads even before her fingers struck the keys. We all know it so well now, we hum it in our sleep. Da-dum-dum-dum, da-dum-dum-dum….

She kept to the edge of hers too, only remembering to take a seat after the first few notes had escaped.

She played so beautifully.

Until she didn’t.

We’ve all hit that rut, that moment where our spirited beginning turns into a muddled mess. Thankfully, her teacher was nearby to give her the advice we all need in such moments.

She turned a wild eye toward him, and he made a circular motion with one finger in the air and whispered, “It’s okay. Keep going.”

She took his advice, and in a moment she completed the piece with a flourish. Afterward, her teacher proudly told us that this moment had surely taught Maya more than her first year of lessons. This one moment would live on as the day she learned she could finish what she started, no matter how rocky the beginning.

It’s advice I needed, too. As a mother more than a little overwhelmed by the rushing tides of parenting three little people, I need to hear that though some days are not my best, hard work can bring things around. As a writer with practically no time to write but plenty of drive, inspiration, and a wonderful opportunity to actually get paid for words, I needed this moment too. Already I’m learning from and with my children. That half-finished novel that still generates new ideas, for example. Maybe that is one false-start that deserves to keep going. It’s okay.

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