A couple of weeks ago while Yan and I were killing time at Sierra Madre Music during Cade’s and Ella’s piano lessons, Yan said to me, “We should take music lessons, too, since we’re here anyway… what would you like to play?” I played trumpet when I was a kid but the thought of learning a new instrument sounded fun and challenging. “Harmonica,” I replied. “That way if I’m ever in prison I’ll be able to entertain the other guys in the cellblock.” Yan frowned and stated unequivocally, “Okay, I’m signing you up for guitar.” So on the plus side, at least she feigned interest in my input…
Fast forward to this weekend and my third guitar lesson. Boy, those steel strings sure are hard on the fingers! There’s nothing natural about playing guitar – at least for me – and it is difficult. But I’ve already learned the simple riff for Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and I’m now tackling the intro for Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” My kids are excited, too. Ella requested “Black Bird” by the Beatles the very first day I brought my new guitar home (and every day since). She loves that song because I sang it to her every night as a lullaby for the first several years of her life — I’m working my way up to that one, baby girl!
I’m not a natural, at all, but I’m having a blast trying to imitate my favorite guitar riffs. I don’t have dreams (illusions?) about being a rock star, but I do like the idea of being an integral part of bringing more music into our home. So it’s a cool family thing. It’s also a cool personal thing. Opportunities to push my boundaries and stretch my comfort zone are always worth exploring – even when those “opportunities” come in the form of assignments from my wife! And I’m actually glad she championed the guitar. As I said, I’m finding it very challenging -and even downright painful. But of course most worthwhile things in life are both of those things.
So we had a fully packed weekend, as usual, but the biggest event had to have been Sunday night’s lunar eclipse. I have a high-powered Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope we take out on the roof quite often. We can see the moon, the planets, the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and even distant galaxies all in stunning detail, right from our rooftop. I have always been awed and amazed by what’s out there. I love seeing that same sense of wonder and awe in my children. I think it’s important they know how big and spectacular our solar system really is, and that our sun is just one of billions of starts in our galaxy, and that the milky way is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. The vastness of what we’re a part of is truly mind-boggling.
It means that even though the challenges may be great, the possibilities are limitless. Literally. I love sharing that message with my children. We have a great classroom right up on our roof, looking out at the cosmos through a telescope. And I am thrilled, as are they, when rare and spectacular lessons present themselves like Sunday night’s super blood moon eclipse. And then there are also the more subtle lessons like learning piano, or guitar, or violin (as is Yan, but that’s a story for another day). I hope my kids always reach for the stars and relish taking on whatever challenges appear on their horizons.