This is a video of Grace at her piano recital. I'm biased, of course, but I think she's pretty good for her age.
The problem is that behind this piece is two full months of practice. This video doesn't show me sitting next to her for two to three hours each week--demanding that she curl her fingers, clap out the rhythm, modify her fingering, play those five measures ten times in a row, okay just three more times. You can't see me asking her (for the EIGHTIETH TIME!) to take her feet off the piano keys, to stop wiggling, and sit up straight, please. You can't see her slumping to the floor in despair to cry and sob, "It's too hard!!"
I am experiencing a collision of priorities in my brain. I want Grace to work hard at something. I want her to reap the rewards of practice. I want her to find confidence in being really good at something difficult.
But I also want her to be happy. And I want us to be friends.
I've let her relax with her practice lately. I haven't sat next to her every afternoon. I haven't yelled at her to focus. I haven't made her practice at all, frankly, which means I'm losing some money every month. Instead of practicing, we have started to talk. Chat. She has started to tell me about friends in her class. About things that happen in school. Grace is not a natural conversationalist, so her chatter is precious.
Are these issues related? The fact that I'm not demanding perfection and the fact that she's starting to talk more?
I remember reading some mothering advice Marjorie Hinckley gave to her daughters: "Save the relationship." At the time, I didn't agree (and, in retrospect, that was stupid). I think I want a good relationship with her more than I want her to be a concert pianist.
Should I just help her find something else? Something that she loves? Or are you still too appalled by my horrible mothering to respond?