Today, my family celebrated my eldest son. He goes off to college in Boston this fall, in a matter of days really, and I spent the moments leading up to the quiet celebration thinking up a list of foods that would best express his personality. For me, each child is their own era, containing their own rich history, version of culture, and expression. The world is better, because children sprout on top of it, grow into a full grown life, and leave behind their own impressions and energies wherever they go, changing forever the places they inhabit.
For me, Michael, is the fat baby who pounded away at the piano to entertain himself, the toddler who refused to sleep unless Miles Davis or the Gypsy Kings were blaring in the background. He’s the little Catholic school boy who needed coffee in the morning, starting in first grade, in order to fight the grumps that made him tear at his neatly pressed navy blue dress tie and call it, “Stupid!” and “the scarf that old men wear!”
He’s the cool-headed middle school student who never complained when his parents told him that we had to uproot him from his friends and grandparents and move to a new school and a new, much older, house, because the one he’d grown up in was too expensive for us to afford anymore.
He’s the high school freshmen who discovered, endured, and conquered severe anxiety through faith, reason, and mindful practice. He’s the high school sophomore who took a risk by auditioning for a performing arts high school, and graduated from there with a plethora of musical knowledge, a stretched artistic ability, and a talent that is unmatched in even musicians twice his age. He’s the young man who applied to just one prestigious music conservatory, just one, and got in just as he said he would, and received a mammoth scholarship to encourage his dream.
Someday, Michael will be the composer you all know…
…and he will be that for me as well, but he was also the fat baby at the piano, and he makes my heart swell.