I have two guitars that have been following me around for the last few years. They have had to follow me from Asheville to Cleveland to Atlanta. They are patient, shut up in their cases. So cool leaning against the wall like cowboys, they have been hanging out in the guest bedroom waiting for me to come back to them.
Earlier in our relationship I took one with me everywhere. My fingertips were as hard and rough as gravel from hours spent clumsily navigating their fret boards. I worried when I had to leave one even temporarily in the truck. I kept them humidified in the winter; I worried about the heat and moisture in the air in the summer.
As I write this, those same fingertips are baby cheek soft, and they are livid, and they hurt as if sunburned. I started playing again the other night.
Over the last months, there has always been a reason not to play. Excuses like grading to do, books to read, and naps to take became too easy. (Not to mention that the whole commitment to being a parent seemed to take precedence over mediocre guitar playing.)
After a demanding school year, I realize that playing the guitar may be a healthy ingredient in creating balance for me, so I need to get back in the habit of making it part of my day—even if it is a small part. Perhaps it is a part that I can share with my daughter. This means that the guitars will no longer have to follow me around—I’ll bring them along.