Fear

Fear

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Fear

... mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.
~Emily Dickinson

“Here we are.” My mother held my hand as she led me through the front door of the shop into a small, cramped room. I’d been taking piano with my mother for two years and I was really excited about learning how to play the recorder. At least, I had been excited.

Now that I was here at the studio, I was a little nervous. Make that a lot nervous. Okay, I was terrified.

We sat on plastic chairs facing a large black curtain. From the other side of the curtain, the instructor yelled at a student for not practicing enough. I shrunk down in my seat.

My mother leaned closer. “I’m not sure I agree with his teaching methods. I’ll understand if you want to leave and find a different instructor.”

I licked my lips. What if the next instructor was worse? Sure, my mother never yelled at her piano students, but she was my mother. Maybe all other music instructors were mean or maybe it was just those who taught the recorder.

“No. I’m fine.” I clenched my knees together.

On the wall clock, the minute hand slowly crept toward the twelve. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted time to move faster or stop all together. I told myself that I was a big boy and that I could handle this.

The curtain parted and a smaller boy stepped out, a recorder clutched to his chest. He stumbled across the floor, dropped onto a nearby seat and stared at the door we’d entered earlier.

I said, “Hello,” but he didn’t even nod.

My mother squeezed my hand.

The instructor poked his head out from behind the curtain and barked he’d be ready for me shortly. The curtain closed.

My mother gave me another squeeze. “Good luck. I’m sure you’ll do just great.” She paused. “Once your lesson starts, I’m going to run across the street to the bakery to buy some decorations for your birthday cake.”

What? The room dimmed and I felt my chest pound. The thought of being trapped here made me want to cry. “No. Please stay.”

“I’ll stay if you want, but then you won’t have any decorations on your cake. This is my only opportunity to get them.”

“I’d rather you stayed.”

She kissed me on the top of the head. “Okay, honey. I’ll be right here then, waiting for you to come out.”

I no longer remember that first recorder lesson, or how many more I attended before finally quitting. I don’t know what decorations my mother had intended to buy, or recall anything about the birthday cake I received the next day.

What I do remember is that when I suffered a crisis of confidence and asked my mother to stay with me, she did so with uncritical love.

Her kind words were music to my ears that still warm my heart.

~Stephen D. Rogers

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