Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Miracle of the Turquoise Violin


If you have kids who believe in Santa this may not be the post you want them to read.

If you have kids who believe in the good nature of people, they'll love this post.


"Mom, guess what I want for Christmas..."

"Umm, a horse?"

"Nope. A turquoise violin."

When I looked up at Brother from whatever it was I was doing at the time, I kind of laughed, "Oh, really? Well, I don't know about that sweety. That is a pretty tall order and I don't think that a violin is in the budget we give Santa."

"A turquoise violin mother!"

"OK, OK, a turquoise one... which I really don't think you will get. Maybe you could think of something else."

I really didn't think much of this request when he brought it up at the first of December.

Our kids go through phases. Obsessive phases sometimes. They can't seem to move past a certain idea or want. Last year he wanted a Harry Potter train and a Nintendo DS. As much as I wanted to do that, it just wasn't going to be possible. But, a few days before Christmas he switched his focus to more Thomas the Train trains to add to his growing collection and we had convinced him that the DS just wasn't a possibility. Luckily I had foreseen that coming and hadn't gone out of my way to get the Harry Potter Train.

When he came up with the turquoise violin request I assumed it was the same thing...

Then he brought home his Christmas list he had written up at school.

Turquoise Violin
White Christmas

He crossed out the DS because he still remembers from last year that we couldn't do that.

But, heck, let's ask for the possible, right?

A Turquoise Violin and a White Christmas.

No problem! (total sarcasm here)

He was so proud to hang his list on the fridge.

Then that same week is when he got to go to Stringtown and sat on Santa's lap to tell him he wants a Turquoise Violin. (you can read about that here)

I was starting to get a little worried with Christmas being about 10 days away...

Marc and I decided that we would just make him a pretend violin... you know, because we weren't sure if he really wanted to play a violin or if he just liked the image of it he had showed my on his iPod that he had found on the internet. I mean, really, how could we possibly afford a violin, especially a turquoise one?

Then, my friend Tanya emailed me and asked if we had a plan to get Brother his turquoise violin. I was a little shocked at first that she knew about it, but then remembered that she was there at Stringtown to hear Brother's request of Santa.

While I was waiting for her reply I had talked to Brother trying to prepare him that he may not get a violin and he VERY confidently informed me that Santa was going to bring him a turquoise violin. I don't think I have ever seen him so sure of anything. I really, honestly thought that he would give up on the idea until I heard him say that with such conviction.

How could I possibly not get him a violin now?

He had been on YouTube the entire week taking violin lessons! He would come up to me and show me how to hold a violin and how to hold the bow.

He needed to have that turquoise violin.

But, how could we do it, if we couldn't afford it?

It was the Friday before Christmas at this point! What were we going to do?

I called my brother-in-law, Jeremy, to see if he could maybe cut a toy one out of wood. He was very willing but also suggested that I look online for a used one and even said that I should ask my mom to look for one because she was the miracle worker when it came to finding things you need cheap/used. I had to agree with him, but there were no yard sales this weekend and I wasn't sure if my mom knew how to buy things online.

Kirsten and Jeremy texted me to let me know they had found a violin online for $25 and another one for $40 and thought I should look into those. I agreed and told Jeremy not to worry about cutting out the toy violin.

So, I frantically started looking online for used violins under $50 (I know, crazy, right). There were 2, believe it or not. There was a half size one for $25 with a hard case but no bow and there was a $40 full-sized one with the case and a bow! I emailed both sellers in hopes to here from them soon so that I could get the violin painted and ready for Christmas Day.

Then I heard back from Tanya that night and she informed me that her father, now deceased, had fixed instruments for a living and had some old violins that were in need of repair that she was willing to just give us to see if we could make something of it, quickly, for Brother. So, I thought, what the heck. It's free and this way if he is just wanting it to want it he will at least be happy to have one regardless of whether it was in disrepair... it just needed to be a turquoise violin.

Saturday morning I heard back from one of the sellers I had emailed, it was the one that was for $40 with the case and the bow. I responded that I had figured something else out, but thank you for responding to my inquiry. Then a few minutes later Tanya and her husband showed up in our driveway and brought 2 violins in their cases to choose from. My heart was so full because of their generosity and love they had for Brother in wanting to help him have a Merry Christmas, I wanted to hug them and squeeze them to death! Finally, I chose the one that I thought might be the least work to fix up, wrapped it up in a blanket so that I could disguise it as I walked through the house and took it into my bedroom to hide it.

As I walked past my phone I noticed that I had received a text while I was outside. It was from my mom and it read, "Found violin!"

I quickly called them to inform them that I already had one and not to worry.

My dad answered my mom's cell phone and sounded quite happy, but rushed.

"Hey, dad don't worry, we got a violin. It's in need of some repair but, hey, it was free."

"Too late, I am already on my way to get it. It's actually not far from your house. We picked it up for $30 and they were asking $40 but your mom told them the story and they went down on the price. I guess they have a daughter with Autism so they understood your situation."

I tried to explain to my dad and mom that it would be OK to just use the one we got for free but my mom, almost in tears, said, "I know he needs this one. I know he will play it and this is the one he needs to have."

Later into the conversation I realized that they had bought the violin from the same person I had contacted earlier only a few minutes after I had declined the offer.

The lady selling it offered to remove the strings from the violin for my parents to make it easier to paint. (Now remember all this is happening the Saturday before Christmas.)

My mom searched everywhere for turquoise spray paint while my dad sanded the varnish from the violin so that it would hold the paint. My mom couldn't find turquoise spray paint anywhere and was in a bit of a panic thinking she was going to have to paint it by hand with a brush. But, she did it. She painted it by hand and they hung it from their fan overnight to dry. My dad inspected my mom's work very closely to make sure the brush strokes were smooth. I would call my mom every so often to see how it was coming, wishing I could be a part of all the magic but I also knew it was impossible with my kids and all that was going on that day.

The next day, Sunday, they put on the varnish and let it dry. All the local music stores were closed, of course, but luckily there was a dear man in their neighborhood who plays the violin and offered to put the strings back on for them.

Knowing that there was going to be a violin for him on Christmas morning made my heart soar even more as I watched his face on Sunday morning at church during the Christmas program as one of our friends played some beautiful numbers on her violin. Brother's mouth didn't even close while he watched... I'm not sure if he even remembered to breathe...

Sunday night I was able to get the violin from my parents and we had it all ready for him on Christmas morning.

On Christmas Eve my sister, Kirsten, who plays the violin, played a beautiful number for us and Brother was mesmerized and so intrigued watching her every move and made sure to inform me that Santa was bring him a turquoise violin.

Christmas morning he was so anxious to find his violin wrapped under the tree.

He told me later after he had observed it for a bit, "Look at these brush strokes, Mom, the elves did it beautifully."

Yes, they did Brother, yes they did...

He hasn't stopped playing in since he got it. Yesterday he played it from the time we finished presents, to 4 o'clock that afternoon. His collar bone was a little sore he told us so Marc's mom is going to make him a pad to put there for when he plays.

First thing I heard this morning at 7am was his violin.

He loves it.

He really is so proud of himself.

What could possibly be better than seeing him be proud of himself.

This was a gift to him and to all those around him.

I think it is truly inspiring to hear that so many people would work so hard to make his dream come true for Christmas!

Here's the video of him opening it on Christmas morning. My favorite part is when he peeks inside. Oh, I love his smile. It's contagious. (And you'll have to turn the volume up so you can hear what he is saying because I am so loud... sorry)

He hugs his violin a lot too.

And if you like the story of this little Christmas miracle, wait till you hear about what I got for Christmas! That post to come later...

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