Last night, we had Matthew’s first music teacher over for dinner. Matthew, who is now in 7th grade, took piano lessons from “Mr. Dave” in 2nd and 3rd grade. We’ve stayed in touch with him via social media, where he’s watched our kids grow up virtually, but it had been about 3 years since we’d seen him.
I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Dave, who patiently taught a 7-year-old Matthew to read music, play the piano, and gave him his first taste of performing in front of others at piano recitals. And last night, I had a reminder of why – he couldn’t wait for Matthew to play the saxophone and sing for him, and he accompanied him on the piano for both. He didn’t judge Matthew (or us) for not continuing with the instrument he’d taught him to play, but seemed genuinely happy that Matthew still has a love for music (which I will always be grateful that Dave helped nurture).
So, when I was getting a little misty last night, listening to Matthew and Dave playing music together, I was thinking about the many adults in my kids’ lives, the roles they’ve played (and continue to play) and how happy I am that our paths have crossed.
When Matthew was a baby, I remember feeling bothered that he enjoyed the company of other people who weren’t me. I know it was my own maternal insecurity, which evaporated when a seasoned parent told me, “Kids can never have too many adults who love them.” And I’m sure now that it’s true.
We have neighbors who have seen our boys playing outside and stopped what they’re doing to come and have a catch with them. Friends and relatives who have come to see concerts, games and performances. Teachers, coaches and camp counselors who have understood and appreciated their strengths and quirks, and have nurtured their love for sports, music, theater, art and more.
So, despite the fact that on occasion, I feel slightly crestfallen (I do still like to think I am my kids’ favorite grownup) when I think my kids prefer the company of some of these wonderful adults in their lives, I will always be grateful for these fantastic people in our kids’ lives who are helping shape them into the pretty awesome people we think they’re becoming.