An Unexpected Choice

Lesley is known for her brilliant ideas. She’s an ideas woman. Sometimes, I also have great ideas. Two weeks ago, I had one of those brilliant ideas. Of course, like most good ideas I have, it backfired.

At the beginning of the summer, the girls committed themselves to the summer reading program at the library. With the program they received a booklet to track their participation and outlined the rules. For every book they read and library program that they participated in, they could color in a number. For every five numbers they would receive a prize. Never have there been two girls more motivated by the prospect of a prize.

Also with the tracking sheet we received a list of library programs for the summer, one of which was a wonderful event that would bring the local symphony to the library, giving the kids a chance to try out instruments. The moment I read the description, I remembered the program I went to as a kid to choose my instrument. The excitement!

And so the good idea was born. This would be the year the girls began music lessons, and they would choose their instrument at this event. It was perfect.

In a twist of fate, Girls Inc held a program that same day introducing the girls to a local harpist. Riley was taken with her and pumped to meet the other instruments at the library that night. When we arrived, Riley tried out every instrument. A flute, a trombone, a clarinet, a violin, and others. She loved all of them.

Surprisingly, Maddie was much more timid in the situation but finally found her groove with the violin. A match was made!

Riley didn’t find her match. She tried each instrument but was thinking about the love she had met earlier in the day. The harp.

She chose the harp.

Since that day, we have spent every night reading the biographies of every harpist who participated in the 2016 local harp concert. The program was a takeaway from the Girls Inc program. Riley practices strumming the harp and dreaming about the lessons I promised her. It is her new obsession.

And so, my good idea has left me doing things I never thought I would do. My days are filled with emailing the IU harp department for local instructors, pursuing websites like, and wondering if I will be buying her a car or a harp for her sixteenth birthday. Hopefully the extravagantly expensive lessons will pay off.