Music and More

Not long after Kate and I returned home from dinner Sunday night, Kate started working on her iPad. She quickly found it too difficult and directed her attention to her hair, her toes, face, and legs. I’m not sure exactly how to describe what she does, but it reminds me of a cat that preens itself. She began by pulling her hair. I turned on the TV to one of the NFL games with the sound muted.

I didn’t watch much of the game. She wanted me to watch what she was doing. That is becoming increasingly common. A couple times in the past, she has said she wants me to make sure that she is “doing it right.” I don’t know what that is, but she thinks I do. That’s what matters. After half-heartedly watching as I also tried to catch some of the Steelers/Ravens game, she wanted me to be an active participant. I had the distinct impression she wanted my help this time to keep my attention on her. Several times, she sternly said, “Are you watching me?” One time she caught me when she said, “Tell me what I just said.” I hadn’t really had a chance to get wrapped up in the game, but I admit to giving both the game and Kate my divided attention.

I tried to be obedient when she asked me to do the things she had been doing, but she sensed my lack of enthusiasm. She wasn’t happy. I was ready to take a shower, but she wanted my help. I needed something to redirect her attention and shift her mood. Not surprisingly, I thought about music. I suggested that I look for something on YouTube.

One of the first things I saw was a video entitled “Saint Paul’s at Christmas.” I assumed it was one of their Christmas concerts. I reminded Kate of our celebrating Easter Sunday at Saint Paul’s on a trip to England quite a few years ago. I told her how much we had enjoyed the music that day and suggested this might be fun to watch.

It took only a few minutes to discover that it was actually a documentary that focused on the preparations required to manage all of the different Advent and Christmas events. That led me to tell Kate that it wasn’t a musical performance (though there was some music in the program) and asked if she would like me to find something else. By the time I asked, she was already engaged and didn’t want to change. I watched with her a short time. Before leaving to take my shower, her eyes moved periodically between the TV and me. She made sure that I was watching. When she saw me on my iPad, she told me to watch the TV. It was an interesting documentary that included the beauty of the Cathedral itself and the preparations of the choir, but I finally got up to take my shower. By this time, she had gotten in bed to continue watching. She was sitting up. That was a good sign that she was interested in the program. I know it was far too complicated for her to have understood, but she enjoyed it. Her mood had changed significantly.

It was just ending when I finished showering. The video that followed it was an Andre Rieu Christmas concert, most of which was filmed at his home in Maastricht. It is a magnificent home that was beautifully decorated. The concert was outside with abundant and colorful decorations and lighting. I thought the concert itself was the best I have seen in a while. Kate and I watched the whole program sitting up in our bed. Both of us loved it.

The video ended at 9:40. It was time for me to say good night and past time for Kate; however, the next video was the New York Philharmonic playing Dvorak’s Symphony “From the New World.” It has been a favorite of mine since playing it with my high school orchestra. Kate and I have attended many symphony concerts in the past, but she is not generally as taken with orchestral concerts. I started to turn it off. Then I suggested we just watch a portion of it. To my surprise, Kate was immediately taken with it. We watched to the very end forty minutes later. I suspect the video enhanced her appreciation of the music. Of course, the music was also familiar to her. That surely helped, but knowing why she was so enraptured doesn’t matter. She had just spent almost a full three hours enjoying a documentary, a Christmas concert, and a popular symphony. She was happy. Once again, music played a key role recovering from what started out to be an unpleasant evening.