Emily groaned. “Can you please do me a favor? Can you not videotape me this year?”
“What? Why?” I didn’t try to hide my disappointment. “We have every piano recital since you first started lessons.”
“Well maybe this year you can just listen – and not video it. Okay?”
“Fine.” I shrugged. Anyway, I still had my cell phone if she changed her mind.
Like always, recital began with the youngest, most-inexperienced musicians first. Some could barely reach the pedals. One-by-one each kid took their turn playing their masterpieces.
We heard a quick version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Then the ‘ol reliable, Hot Crossed Buns. Then a heartfelt rendition of Ode to Joy. Each kid ended their songs with a little grin and a big sigh of relief.
A girl played the first couple of measures of The Entertainer. Curt and I looked at one another and nodded. How many times had we heard a girl plunk out that song from the piano in our basement?
I leaned in toward Emily. “Are you sure I can’t record you? I promise I won’t videotape. I’ll just record the sound on my phone.”
Emily shook her head.
“But it’s your last recital, Em. You’ll never do this again.”
She smiled. “I know.”
She was glad it was her last recital. I was tired of “lasts.” This year has been full of them. Her last volleyball game. Her last homecoming. Her last performance in the school play. Her last senior banquet. Her last day of school.
The piano teacher called Emily’s name. She walked to the front and began playing a song called, Butterfly. I was tempted to record it on my phone. But I didn’t. Instead, I honored her wish and just listened.
“Butterfly” was a fitting name for the song. As she played, I imagined a little caterpillar emerging from its cocoon. I pictured its crumpled wings slowly straightening. As the tempo fluctuated, I thought of a delicate butterfly fluttering gracefully in a summer breeze. Its brilliant colors sparkled in the sunlight. Butterflies have no idea how beautiful they are. Neither does my daughter.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. I really hate change.
But I also know. Caterpillars have to go through a change if they’re going to become a butterfly. And Emily has to go through her own transformation as well.
All I can do is release her. And let her fly.