Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


How a Piano Became A Family's Unlikely Anchor


piano keys

My piano takes up a fair amount of space.

For many years I have moved it from one rental house to the next, accepting the extra costs of hiring special piano movers. It’s a beautiful bulky piece of furniture, and in Toronto-sized rentals, it never really fit in. But, throughout the years of enduring small spaces, my piano survived — including one very close call.

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About ten years ago, tired of hauling it around, I paid to have my piano carted to a music store where it was put on sale, but as soon as a family was interested in buying it, I regretted my decision.

“NO! I changed my mind! It’s not for sale!”

So, I again hired piano movers to return my beloved instrument to me.

Following its rescue, I was riddled with guilt. Sometimes I still relive that day, how close I came to saying goodbye to an inanimate object that, for all its loveliness, has no feelings whatsoever.

Let me give you some background on this love:

When I was a child, I wanted a piano so desperately I could feel the ivory keys beneath my fingers long before we’d ever met.Then, at the age of eight, my dream came true. I arrived home from school one day, and it had been any other ordinary day, until I opened the door and saw my mom beaming. A few feet behind her stood a brand new black piano; It was gleaming and gorgeous and proud in the way pianos are.

I was confused.

My parents certainly couldn’t afford the luxury of a piano, especially for a hobbyist player such as myself, yet, there it was. Later I learned that my mom had arranged a loan from my grandfather to pay for it, and she was radiating joy when she saw the look on my face. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Until that day, I’d been practicing notes on a sheet of paper with the keys marked on it, which, I can assure you, is a rather lackluster way to learn. For years, I tinkered away on those keys. Then a little less, and a little less still.

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By my late teens, I didn’t play at all.

Yet, there remains an unwavering emotional attachment to it. It symbolizes how much my mom supported my dreams and passions and that is everything. Eventually, I stopped moving around so much. I bought a house, had a child with the love of my life and, eventually, we married. Our son is almost two-and-a-half years old and lately the piano — which he calls the ‘iano’ — has captured his attention, however fleeting.

“I want to play the 'iano, mommy!” he chimes, and it’s like music to my ears.

And so we do.

We sit together smiling, with him banging the keys erratically and me trying to remember how to play anything at all.

In 1997, my mom passed away, but each time my son and I snuggle up on the piano bench to ‘play,' I feel she is near, laughing and smiling and watching over us as fresh dreams unfold and come back to life.  

Image Source: WikiCommons