Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Precious Gift

This is my dad's cello. Like me, he's been playing the cello since he was young, though I admit, he has always played much better than I. I remember the first time I sat down with a cello. I was in the 4th grade when the middle schoolers came to "draft" us grade schooler into band or orchestra by letting us try out any instrument we wanted. I first tried the flute. After getting very light headed and dizzy I decided against band altogether. Next I tried the violin. I thought that I would love the violin and was really excited about making it my instrument of choice, but it didn't quite fit. The music teacher there suggested I try the cello. I didn't have plans to try the cello, in fact I didn't really know what it was since my dad didn't yet own one for himself and I was unaware at the time that he even played. Reluctantly, I sat down with a little half size cello that fit my 10 year old self and something clicked. I know it sounds cheesy, but it seriously felt right. I imagine we all have things in our life that just feel good and right and a part of us, for me the cello is one of those things.

Lets set the record straight though, I'm not that good. Though I love it, I regret that the perfectionist in me has kept me from taking lessons or practicing much (if you are like me, you'll get what I mean by that). Only now am I learning to let that go and enjoy the process of learning and improving in pretty much everything in my life, flaws and all (and they are many). Anyway, once I started playing, a cello was often in the house and I got see my father play. He often played the Prelude of Suite I from Bach's Six Suites. Whenever I hear it, I think of my dad. In fact, that is the piece that my dad and I danced to on my wedding day.

I think my dad never owned his own cello for the longest time out of selflessness. You see he was a music major before serving his mission for our church, but after going back to school he realized that for him he needed to do something that he knew he could support his family with and music as we all know is risky. And cello's aren't exactly cheap (especially before cheap chinese imports, like my handy makeshift cello, were available) so it wasn't really an option to own one or to even have time to enjoy one when he was busy giving all of himself to his family. I was a senior in High School before my dad finally got one. Now I'm his 7th child, so he went a good 30 years or so without one. I was so proud of him for getting it, and he's been such a good example to me. I like to think that maybe I'm part of the reason he got it.

Now this precious instrument has come to me. I always knew it would come into my care some day, but I regret the circumstances surrounding my premature possession of it. Without going into personal details, my dad can no longer physically play and so, it comes to me. My dad even got his coda bow re-haired for me. My parents brought it when they visited a few weeks ago. I feel like I have received a part of my father. A part that is just for me. I wish I could have beautifully played Bach's Suites for him, but unfortunately its been quite awhile since I've played much. Though time and neglect have taken their toll on my skills, I've been working those weakened muscles and rebuilding calluses this past week, and its been a lot of fun. Truthfully, I've never been able to play Bach's Suites, but I hope soon I will be able to. (Practicing for the first time in my life :))

I'm not very good at articulating myself both speaking and in writing, but if, Dad, you ever read this... thank you. I am honored. I love you. -Maegan


Marissa Smith said...

gosh maegan you made me cry. yep. and i think that you understand competely why.

Anonymous said...

You should feel blessed that dad chose to give it to you since Jennie, I and Nate play the cello as well. What a special gift, take care of it.