Olivia has longer fingers than most kids (which is considered to be part of her condition). This often leads nursing to call her a future pianist. When she’s awake, she entertains herself by energetically wiggling them.
Since birth, Olivia and I (this is Dad writing) have been studying the ontology of classical music in our alone time. Although the so-called “Mozart effect” has been debunked, it has been fun to jog down memory lane. My parents enriched a lot of my early life with music. We went to the New York Philharmonic frequently as kids, and I picked up the trumpet for a brief stint (sadly, putting it down for “social” reasons).
One morning, bored with Baby Mozart, I began searching for “modern classical” and came across Yanni. My family had his “Live at the Acropolis” album when I was growing up and I must have listened to it a gazillion times.
I played it for Olivia and she loved it.
Over time I’ve found our favorite song to be “Until the Last Moment” and she and I listen to it daily. It can bring about a smile or a snooze from Olivia, and often a tear from Dad. I can’t easily describe how it makes me feel other than to say it’s beautiful, like her.
Yanni himself describes the song as meaning:
Life is precious. All of life. One must try to take in as much of it as much of it as possible.
This meaning really hits home for me. Back in May, when attempting to return back to work, I described my reasoning as to why I was coming back to work to a good friend and a close mentor of mine. I said “we don’t know how long she can make it, and if she doesn’t, it’s going to be really hard on us and I’ll want to be there”. Thankfully, my friend pointed out the flaw in that logic – spending time with her while she’s with us is more important than mourning her after. He shared the following passage:
And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”
When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?”
And they said, “He is dead.”
So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’
That frame of mind has dominated my thinking ever since, I’ve focused more on spending time with her here and now, and we’ve really enjoyed our time together.
So join us and have a listen, if you so please. When we listen, we follow along to the piano part (which Yanni plays himself). Olivia will sometimes mimic the pianos dynamics (make sure to have your volume up parts gentle) with her little hands. It’s the cutest.