Today Caroline decided that she wanted to draw Will’s steel guitar. "I draw tar" she said, grabbed pen and paper and sat down beside the guitar, drawing lines from one page to the next until I offered to help her (it was my work notebook after all). Caroline handed over the pen and pad quite officially and then stood by the guitar, posing solemnly, hand on its neck for an entire ten seconds until she considered the job done and came over to see the results.
I drew for her the guitar's shoulders, its tuning pegs and the sharp curl of string ends. I named the frets and the resonator box and after every line drawn and identified she repeated the names back to me. Then she took the scarf that I had given her at breakfast for her baby doll (a chilly morning), and wound it around the guitar’s neck. "There" she said, "now we go out." Instead, we sketched the scarf into the drawing.
It is a mighty fine looking guitar and I don’t wonder that she has taken to it more than to Will’s other instruments. It sits out for one thing, free of its case, reflecting the light from our balcony window off its steel brightness, ice cold from its spot by the door. And it is loud - even the carpet beneath it can't dull its sound.
Sometimes Caroline will slip away from a babysitter and run in here as I work, to stand by the guitar and pluck a note, then use it as her cue to sing for me until I swoop her up and carry her back out to the kitchen or to her room, kissing her for all she’s worth until it is time to go back to my work, back to solitude and concentration.
And if you ask me, would I trade the work or the time together, I'd answer - both are made sweeter by the other, like a note from a steel guitar, resonant from its metal casing, but clear, too.
If I'm not working or hanging out with our 10 year old while a bouncy 5 year old dances around us, there's a good chance I'll be hammering away on our piano, reading a book or trying to sketch. I live in Prague, Czech Republic and hail from the U.S. South.