Posted by: learningwoman | June 26, 2008

This morning I am a Tonic

Today I have made a difference. Today I was needed, not in a packing the lunch, doing the washing, keeping the house tidy and getting S. to school on time sort of way but in a different way.

My singing teacher cancelled our weekly lesson the other day, her sister is sick, dying and she needed to be there, to say goodbye. So our lesson for this morning was cancelled. Until last night, when she rang me to say she’s back and would I like to come. I said yes.

When I arrived, ten minutes late, she offered me a coffee and we talked for about twenty minutes. This in itself is unusual. She’s a dynamo, likes to get things done in the most efficient way, believes in giving the best of her talents to her students, which doesn’t include much small talk.

We talked about the children, mine and her granddaughters. We talked about what a beautiful day it is, and about her sister, drugged and quiet but back at home to die peacefully in her own bed with her family around her. It felt so poignant and she looked suddenly smaller, less robustly sure of everything.

She’s a truly amazing person and she’s had a profound influence on my life. She’s bullied and harangued me into giving my best performances. She’s taught me to just keep going, even when it feels too hard and I might have given up going to lessons. She hugged me when I cried about not being able to conceive a second child (until I got pregnant with Z.) and then came bearing gifts after I’d given birth.

I love her and I admire her, so much. She never stops moving, she’s kind, in a straightforward, no nonsense sort of way. She’s the matriarch of her family, a teacher of piano and voice, a reader of historical novels, a grandmother, a friend, a singer in one of the big church choirs in London, a choirmaster of the local women’s choir, an organiser of singing events, an adventurous, big-hearted, thoughtful, sometimes very irritable, scrupulously honest woman. I’m grateful to know her.

She reminds me of my grandfather, who died before I met her.

So today, when I went to her house and she greeted me at the door, telling me the kettle was on for coffee, we talked. And talked. And talked.

Then we sang. We chose happy, uplifting pieces and then we sang the morning away together.

When I was leaving, she told me I looked ‘bonnie’ in my red shirt and that my smiling face and our singing was just the tonic she’d needed today. I hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek.

This morning I was a tonic and it felt good.



  1. How nice to have been able to be there for someone else … because you can, not because you have to.

  2. It was 🙂

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