Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ours To Give

An elephant plodded down the aisle along with rhinos and other animals. Lion King had begun.

Surely it is impossible to raise children and grandchildren without wanting them to have some of what you had as a child and more of what you did not have. We were a family of the arts so attended community concerts seeing musicians like George Shearing, Ferrante and Teicher and so much more. This child was exposed to classical music at a very young age. Our family always rang with music. We all played the piano. Mom had played a banjo, Peg played the sax as did I, June played the clarinet. Once in awhile we were used as extras in church plays.

I was given conducting lessons and had my own singing group when I was a teen. When about eight, my mother stood me and three of my friends next to the piano and taught us to sing harmonies. We traveled from church to church singing. My father when a young man traveled with a group singing gospel. In the '30s group had once sung as a warm up for a new singing group from the nearby Piqua, Ohio, called The Mills Brothers. We were given a rich, artistic experience.

My children were given as much exposure to the arts as we could afford. The same falls true for my grandchildren. I am gathering old instruments so the girls can experiment with them. Of course, it involves my learning to play them as well. We have ukuleles, a small banjo, a small violin, bongo drums, a tambourine, a recorder and of course, the piano. I am still looking for an Indian Pipe and a saxophone. We are having fun.

I give to my family, the things that influenced my life as well as enriching that experience by giving them the tools to learn more. Many days we pull out drawing pads or paint and create new pieces of art, rich moments together. The girls have a bin of dress up clothes, old scarves and hats. Bins of art supplies fill the closet. Wiffle balls, plastic bats, tennis rackets reside in the garage. Non-technical ways to create and have fun.

My sister had told me about a fun little dessert she had been served. So the kids and I tried it as well. A small votive candle on a plate, a pile of mini marshmallows and wooden toothpicks soon became our table top campfires. A bit of chocolate on the side for dipping added to the experience. It was a hit.

What a gift we are given in imparting new ideas and experiences to our families! What a wonderful way to make memories....and to gain them in the process! We are the doorway to creative thinking.

The life-sized puppets came to life. Grass moved in beautiful choreography, lions sang, a baboon drew us in...into a beautiful evening. A time of family, a time of growing up, a time of Lion King.

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