On with our 20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself series….
# 8 What Would I Love To Learn?
My step daughters are musicians. This is amazing to me. One plays violin and the other plays piano. I could listen to them play for hours. I imagine what’s going on inside their brains as they read their music and I WISH I could read it, too. The other day one needed help, and as she showed me her music book and the song she was learning, she looked at me and said, “This doesn’t mean anything to you, does it?” Maybe my face said it all. But I DID say, “I SO wish I could help you. But you’re right. I don’t know what any of this means. Let me grab your dad!”
This happens all too often, and not just when it comes to music.
However, music is something that has always fascinated me and mostly seemed to escape me. I took piano as a child, and then quit. My twin sister kept on taking lessons. Then, in high school, she took a guitar class, and it changed her whole life. She’s an incredible musician, both with her instruments and her voice.
I was the sister that my entire family giggled with in church when I belted out the wrong note during a hymn. I am the only member of my family (extended, too!) who has never been in any sort of choir. I went to one youth choir practice in middle school and said, “No WAY am I ever going back. That was so boring. The same song over and over again…?”
I tried playing guitar (for about a day) and the chords were too hard to learn. I didn’t have a basis on where to begin. I didn’t even know that when you sing a song, there’s such thing as SINGING ON KEY.
I’m proud and happy to say that I do know this now. I never made it with the guitar, but I was fortunate enough to land a free banjo in this life and so I decided I better learn how to play it. I had help from some of the most talented and patient musicians I know. I started singing, and it only took singing off key at an open mic ONCE to never make that mistake again. I learned how to recognize where my voice should be based on the chord I strummed at the start of a song. I sang on stage with my twin, too!
Here’s another thing I learned: I didn’t have to be very good, or even close to the best, in order to have fun making music. In fact, it took the pressure off, knowing that I was just in it for a good time. I made mistakes on stage. I smiled, because I was just excited!!! I don’t have the best voice in the world, but I love the songs I choose to sing (and the ones I’ve written with my sister.) I challenge myself to sing at open mics even now, in this far away land that was once anything but a comfort zone.
Now, given all of that, music might seem like the thing I’d love to learn.
But no. What I’d love to keep learning in life is that it’s never too late for great, amazing, and difficult things to happen. By difficult, I mean those things that take a lot of work to get done.
2016 becoming 2017 showed me this in an incredible way.
If I could sum up 2016 in one simple phrase, it would be this: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.
After a few years of worst moments, this past year was filled with the best. Here is a snapshot:
1. I learned that although I once had a broken heart, it wasn’t too late for it to be mended and stronger than ever. I learned that True Love exists. I met my match.
2. I learned to be a step-mom. I gained three step children and my life is forever altered. I mention it on Hey Lou often, but when I really do stop to think about it, this is HUGE!!! I can’t stress it enough — I never thought this would be my life’s story. I was taught that God knows exactly what he’s doing with me. He led me, step by unpredictable step, right up to where I sit now, writing this blog in 2017. Because of them, I found myself on a road trip on New Year’s Eve Day, only to then fall asleep well before midnight. They also showed me how funny it is to put such weight on things like “new years” or “anniversaries.” NONE of them were excited the next morning. I said, “Hey!! It’s a new year!!!” And they just sort of shrugged their shoulders and told me it wasn’t that big of a deal. My six year old step son said, “Melinda, that’s just adding ONE to 2016.” He knows his math.
3. I learned that I like the cold!! MIRACLE! It helps to have a cold-lover as a partner. And kids who say things like, “Don’t worry, Melinda. You’ll get used to walking on the ice. You don’t need to be scared.”
4. I learned that girlfriends will see you through just about anything. I found my people. I still have the gems from back in the southwest, but I added on to my loving list of friends ten fold. I feel so supported here. I AM so supported here.
5. I learned that CRISIS will make miracles happen. It is WHEN miracles happen. There were more than a few moments of crisis in 2016, and here’s what happened: 1) I became closer and more united with my husband. 2) I reached out to people I trusted and asked them to pray. Turns out calling your new sister-in-law in tears will not embarrass you, but solidify the feeling that you are now family. 3) I learned that God is in control. You’d think I wouldn’t have to keep learning this. But I re-learn it all the time. 4) Boring days became gold.
6. I learned that my heart could grow larger than I thought possible. I thought laughter was something in my life that I’d lost. I laugh more now than ever before. A happy heart is one that can laugh.
7. I learned that my husband looks really good in women’s skinny jeans. And that I look pretty darn bad in his clothes from the past. Uffda. (And I also have to admit that after years of hating Halloween — it really isn’t all that bad.)
8.. I learned that although I may not have many more “exciting” New Years Eves in my life, I do have random moments at midnight. Just not on the nights we think. It was pointed out at church this week that new years aren’t much…. but new days are, new hours, new minutes, and new seconds. We are constantly being made new. This is very hopeful news.
So CHEERS to this new year. And I am so thankful for this last one. It’s just a number, let the kindergartener remind us. But years do have significance and meaning…. so let’s just have this in our hearts: many strange celebrities may have died this year. A weirdo became the president. But hey, most of us survived. We’ll keep surviving and we better learn to laugh.
And like music…. I may not be perfect at any of this. I make mistakes all the time. But I’m here, I can never leave the stage that is my own life, and all I can hope for is that I sing on key most of the time.
So much love,
Lou (who will never stop laughing too much)