It is the classic “if this then that” predicament. I find that each.and.every move this short “Hott” mama makes is a culmination of a deal of some sort between me and the kids. Do you find this to be true at your house? In order to achieve results, I feel like I am forced to beg, borrow, steel, and negotiate everything from teeth brushing, trips to the mall or Toys-R-Us, to simple homework. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
For Violet, who somehow manages to occupy a room resembling a tornado zone, we are constantly threatening that “if you don’t clean up that room, then you’re not going to gymnastics tonight!” Although this normally works, well… last night, it.did.not. Needless to say, she went to gymnastics and conveniently forgot to put her laundry away. At one point, I think we lost Levi in the mess.
The ultimate con, Levi is the king of “Let’s Make a Deal”! After listening carefully to a conversation between Dan and me discussing the upcoming end of our cell phone contract, Levi realized that Dan wants to change providers. So, he puts on his investigative hat and quizes Dan about how this whole new phone thing works. Quickly, he realized that there is a potential that ole Dad is in the market for a new phone.
“Dad!” yells Levi (no one ever speaks in a normal volume around here). Eager to beat his siblings to the point, Levi continues “Can I have your old phone? Please? Please! Pleeeeeeeeze?!” Now, what exactly would a six year old need an iphone for is beyond me. Of course, Levi plays more Angry Birds on Dan’s phone than he uses for calls. Get this, in exchange for the iphone, Levi offers Dan hugs and kisses. (I’ll have to keep you posted on this transaction. I sincerely doubt that Dan will agree to it.)
So, then there is Isaac. Completely and utterly consumed with building and re-building Transformers, Isaac recently proposed a deal that was a “win – win” for me. Actually, I am a little embarrassed to encourage his proposition.
Here is what he offered: In order to get a new $10 Transformer toy from Rite Aid, Isaac promised to
1) pick up his laundry every day for the rest of his life,
2) hang up his wet towel instead of leaving it on the floor,
3) brush his teeth without being asked every day,
4) use his own money to make the purchase, AND get this:
5) play not just one, but five – yes 5! – songs on the piano every day, for the rest.of.his.life!
What? Now that’s a deal! Not only was this transaction appearing to be completely free for me, I was about to get my house a little more tidy AND enjoy the pleasure of hearing my children play piano. Hummmmm…
At this point, let me fill you in on something unique to Isaac, our 8 year old. When he was very young, Isaac showed an unusual interest in playing piano. Before he was three, he could play songs by ear. By five, he was composing his own little songs.
And, he had perfect pitch. Have you ever seen a five year old say to you that the sound of a noise is the second “c” note above middle c? So, I finally convinced a teacher to begin lessons.
In the beginning, Isaac whizzed through his books. He was enjoying playing piano, and often would do some unusual things like sit under the piano and try out songs “backwards”. Hey, whatever makes him happy. He was playing music.
He was playing music? Oh yes, and it was some crazy things like the theme song to Mario Kart, Indiana Jones, or Star Wars. At seven, he would play pop songs much to the delight of his sister’s friends. It was quite a scene. Isaac banging out a song with half a dozen 11 year olds circled around him, all singing along while he played. Believe me, Isaac felt that was pretty cool! (Unfortunately, Violet scowled from the corner.)
Then, after last May 2011 piano recital, Isaac stopped.
He barely touched the piano for six months. No interest. No music. No piano. He refused to play. I tried all the “deals” I could use to get him to play piano; new Lego’s, new transformers, new games. No. He was not interested.
So… five songs a day? It’s a deal!
The first day, he sat down and played a song. It was beautiful. After not a note for nearly six months, how he remembered the song was pretty amazing. Four days later, no more piano music. So, I approached Isaac and said that he owed me 19 songs. After all, we made a deal. It is a good lesson to keep your word, right?
Tears, tears, and more tears! Oh my goodness, he howled. He cried, and he bawled for an hour. Finally, here is what he told me:
“Mommy, I just hate myself!”
What? I was crushed. How could this gentle heart say such a thing? Isaac said, “I do. I hate myself. I know how much playing piano makes you happy. I tried to play, but I just don’t like the piano. So, I hate myself because I can’t make you happy mommy.”
Oh dear God, I prayed. I did this to my baby. How could I have done this? My heart was literally aching to hear him say these words. Okay, I get it. I will never mention playing piano again. And Isaac can keep his transformer from Rite Aid. It’s just not worth it.
So, from that day (which was about a month ago), I never asked him to play piano. I just don’t bring it up. I know he has a gift. I have been told he is even a prodigy. I really miss the music. But, to see him in such pain was heart breaking. So, I figured that if God wants Isaac to play piano, I will just have to let Him do the asking.
And guess what? Without asking or any “deals”, Isaac has been playing piano again.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved