I sold my old harp, and, four months before I expected your arrival, I committed to buying a new harp. Unlike most harpmakers, (or, I would argue, most business people with good sense), this particular harpmaker does not require a deposit before the harp is made. He has a $100 a month “rent until you own” program and just requires that if you go on the smaller payment plan, he sees you before he relinquishes his harp. Then he says to try it out for a few weeks, see if you like it and if you don’t, you can return it. It’s amazing! This guy lives in Southern Maryland, which is not too far away in the grand scheme of things, but it’s far if you’re both a non-driver and pregnant. When I explained this he said, “Well, my daughter can drive it up to you.” Not only that, he has actually been recommended by all the harp instructors I know enough to email, so he’s not a pervert.
Anyway, it’s guilt-inducing to commit to pay $100 a month for a couple years when I’m expecting you in the world. But it’s not as crazy as blowing my entire savings. I should even still be able to maintain a savings.
So I’ve been thinking of you as a hearing baby and have been pondering the instruments of your life. When you’re a baby, both in and out of utero, it will be the harp. I must, out of necessity, hold the harp against my stomach, so as soon as I try out this harp, you’ll know. I can also get some harp music recordings going for you when you’re trying to sleep, and it might even help.
When you’re a toddler and younger child, it will be the piano. I have a lot of memories of the piano, even before piano lessons. Mom was never a lullaby singer, but during the day she would teach us songs, either singing them or playing them on the piano. When I was maybe three, she played me “The Little Drummer Boy,” and I climbed up on the piano bench beside her. (Speaking of climbing on the piano bench, there is an embarrassing video of me in the archives at my very first piano recital, climbing over the bench as if I’m about to straddle a horse, my skirt up and underwear showing. I’m jealous you won’t go through that). Back to the Drummer. At the end of every few measures, there was one high note played rhythmically, and I learned to play the note in the right spots in the song. When I was very slightly older, my sister taught me the names of all of the keys by their pitches one day, and I always knew them after that. I took piano lessons, and sometimes my mother and I would play duets. Whether you ultimately end up liking the piano or not, it’s a very accessible instrument for a kid, easy to understand compared to others … and not squeaky! I do intend for you to have toy instruments too, and I intend for myself to have some headache medication on hand when you’re playing them.
Then? When you’re older? I can’t imagine if you’ll want to play or what instrument(s) you’ll pick if you do. The trumpet? The guitar? All I know is that if you want to play the drums, like my younger nephew, I hope that, like my sister, I have a house with a basement by then! Not so you and I can be secluded from each other but so that if I’m working, you can play in peace.


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