November 07, 2008

At piano lessons

Every Friday

My kids' piano teacher is beautiful woman with a lovely Russian accent who grew up in Cold War Country. She's recently been working with Shaggy Hair Boy and With-a-Why on a song they are playing together. Sitting in the studio with my laptop, I can hear their music and their chatter. My boys talk to her just the way they talk to their aunts. She'll tease Shaggy Hair Boy for the way he'll just grab anything handy to use as a belt: a measuring tape, for instance, or a telephone cord. She gives him effusive compliments about his long hair and the way he can improvise when he's playing jazz. She's one of the first adults that my very shy With-a-Why would ever talk to.

Last year, she said to With-a-Why one day, "I have news for you." She held up the weekend's newspaper, folded to a photo of a group of people getting sworn in as American citizens. She was one of them. At the time, I was feeling angry at the Bush administration and ashamed of how my country was acting, and I was touched by the idea that someone still wanted to be part of this country, despite all of our problems.

This week was the first time she was able to vote for an American president.

When we talked before the kids' lessons this afternoon, I asked what she thought of the election. "It was so exciting!" she said. "I took 56 photos!"

She sat next to me with her little camera, and we looked at the photos on the viewfinder — 56 photos of the television screen. They were surprisingly clear, and looking at them brought back the emotions of the night. "There's McCain giving his concession speech! There's Jesse Jackson crying! Look! Barack Obama!" We kept saying the same things at the same time. "And he's SMART! We are going to have a president who's SMART!"

We sat there for a few minutes, two women who grew up on opposite sides of the world, on opposite sides of the Cold War, two women raising our children in a country that had just elected a leader who is giving us reasons to hope. She clicked off her camera and breathed the words people all over the world have been saying this week. "Finally."


jodi said...

Your boys have beautiful hair. And it is nice to have a smart president isn't it?!

BlackenedBoy said...

Wow, Shaggy Hair Boy is a lot smaller than I thought; I'd never seen a picture of him next to With-a-Why before, but they look about the same size.

It's funny how different their hair is--similar in length, opposite in texture.

By the way, is that a '90's srunchie he's wearing?

I completely agree with you about Obama. When the result was announced at eleven o'clock, my brother Thomas and I jumped up and down in our kitchen, hugging each other and screaming.

It was also my first time voting in a presidential election, and I can't think of who I'd rather have cast my ballot for.

I am so proud to call him my president.

jo(e) said...

Blackened Boy: Yes, that's one of my old scrunchies he's wearing. He'll grab anything available to tie back his hair or use as a belt.

It's funny that the two boys look about the same size in the photo because they aren't. It must be the different benches and the angle. Shaggy Hair is very thin, but he's about six feet tall. Perhaps most of his height is in his long legs, which aren't in the photo. And With-a-Why is sitting up straight while Shaggy Hair is slouching.

This was also my son Boy in Black's first time voting in a presidential election. He was pretty low-key about it, though. He said he knew all along Obama would win since he was the logical choice.

Lorianne said...

"And he's SMART! We are going to have a president who's SMART!"

I've felt that throughout this election; in fact, that's why I supported Obama from the beginning, voting for him in the NH primary & never wavering even through the long slug-fest between him and Hillary Clinton. As a professor, it's just so damn exciting to hear someone who "thinks like a professor" speak.

Rana said...

t's just so damn exciting to hear someone who "thinks like a professor" speak.

Oh my gosh, yes!

I'm laughing a little about Boy in Black's confidence about the election outcome. I have a theory that one's first election sets one's political attitudes, so he's off to a good start. (Me, I was sitting in a dingy basement with the only tv on campus and about 20 disappointed wonky students in 1988.)

jo(e) said...

My first election, I voted by absentee ballot for Jimmy Carter. But that was in 1980 and he lost ....

Jodie said...

Just think. A president who can pronounce "nuclear", and who actually knows the Constitution.

My own vote was based mostly on leadership style. But what a nightmare it was, the thought of McCain winning and then dying before taking office. OMG

Yankee, Transferred said...

Your boys are so lovely and swell.
And yeah-SMART! It's been a while since we had a SMART president. I have to remove some of my bumper stickers and replace them.

I am so proud.

MonkeyPants said...

Your boys at the piano are lovely.

And the SMART president your nation just elected? I think he is wonderful!

liz said...

Now I'm all sniffly again! One of the most memorable things about being at the polls all day on Tuesday was all the first-time voters who came out and brought people with them. The new citizens with their families and the just-turned-eighteens with their 17-year-old friends. The excitement, the envy, and the real pride when they came out with their "I voted" stickers.

Artist Friend said...


Lilian said...

Oh, this post moved me. As another "alien" this election had me in the brink of tears every single day. Two elections from now I'll be voting too.

And I second this too! :-) :
it's just so damn exciting to hear someone who "thinks like a professor" speak.

David said...

I'm captivated by the picture of the piano teacher, especially the angle of her hips and the way her skirt drapes in the back. It is every bit as sensual as any naked pic you've ever posted. If I'd had a teacher like that when I was young, today I'd be Victor Borga, pianist au extraordinaire. Lovely.
(The kids are cute, too!)

Bitty said...

Finally, indeed.

Every time I turn on the TV or radio and hear someone say "President-elect Obama," I feel some of the same thrill I felt on election night and sometimes cry the same tears.

I have a feeling this won't fade any time soon.

[Boy in Black] said he knew all along Obama would win since he was the logical choice.

Indeed he was, but this country doesn't always do the logical thing...

At least we did it when it counted.