A 12-Year-Old Girl Following Her Dreams

At the Wedding. Touching a Cello for the first time.

At the Wedding. Touching a Cello for the first time.

She says she’s going to Juilliard. Who am I to say she isn’t? Right now she’s in her bedroom playing cello for the second time in her life. The first time was last night at a wedding. She approached the cello player, who then invited her to sit down, and showed Crystel how to hold the stringed instrument. Within minutes she had Crystel strumming, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Today, within an hour of bringing home the cello from Schmitt’s, I recognize Amazing Grace coming from her bedroom.

Crystel has wanted to play the cello for eight months. She’s played piano for five years and flute for one. Sometimes, I’m not sure how serious she is about an endeavor or if she is just trying to be the only one doing something. There is no cello player at Richfield Middle School. Her mother (me) doesn’t even know how to pronounce the instrument correctly.

To gauge her seriousness Crystel had to do at least three things. Stop wearing her socks outside without shoes. Figure out the cost of renting a cello and taking lessons. Decide where that money was going to come from.

Being sized at Schmitt's.

Being sized at Schmitt’s.

“You know what I see, Crystel?” I’d say, when I’d see her outside, once again, wearing only her socks.

“What?” She’d respond with a blank look.

I’d nod at her feet. “A nice looking sello.”

“Chel-oh, Mom, chel-oh. Not sello.”

I explained to her that it wasn’t about the socks. It’s that her parents told her time and time again that shoes outside was important to them and that she continued to disregard our request. “How can we know that you can take care of a sello …. ah … I mean, chello, if you can’t follow a simple request?”

After learning the cost for renting a cello and getting lessons, it didn’t bother me about the socks. I’d think, “That’s right, just keep wearing them outside, girlfriend.”

All the while, Crystel has continued to play piano and take lessons. National Piano Playing Auditions gave her a superior rating. Her distinction was Top-Talent Circle rating which means that she could appear before any audience anywhere. Right now, she plays once a month at a soup kitchen.

ah, my cello

ah, my cello

I know she is passionate about piano because Jody and I never have to ask her to practice. On many occasions, the piano is the last thing she touches before leaving the house. We can hear her rushing out a melody while we are waiting for her in the car. It’s like she has to have a tune in her head to carry her to her next activity.

A few months ago, I started noticing that she was putting shoes on before going outside. They were MY shoes but they were shoes nevertheless.

Is she going to go to Julliard? I don’t know. But, one thing I learned about my daughter, is that when she’s decided that she’s going to do something, she does it. At 3-years-old she couldn’t speak intelligibly. Only Antonio knew what she was saying. She went on to become fluent in several languages: English, Spanish, and music.

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This entry was posted in Music, piano, Raising children and tagged , , , by Elizabeth di Grazia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Elizabeth di Grazia

An artist, I follow the nudge inside of me. This nudge led me to write Peace Corps stories, find the front door to the Loft, and to graduate from Hamline’s MFA program. The story that became my thesis for Hamline is woven into my book manuscript: HOUSE OF FIRE: From the Ashes, A Family, a memoir of healing and redemption. It’s a story about family. And a story about love–for my partner Jody and the son and daughter we adopted from Guatemala. Most days, I can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. When I am not at the foundry I may be volunteering as a Police Reserve Officer for Richfield, MN or kicking butt at Kor Am Tae Kwon Do.

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