Read the Story and Listen to "Elisabeth's Waltz" by Daniel Carter
My Daughter, the Dancer
From a very early age, my daughter, Elisabeth, loved to dance, and was enrolled in several lessons and classes throughout her early life. When she had her fifth birthday, I presented her with a gift of Five Dances for a Five-Year-Old Girl.
I came home from work that day and after dinner, I told her I had a gift for her and I played the first piece in the work called, Elisabeth's Waltz. She danced around the room and when it was finished she said, "Play it again!" So I did, and she grabbed her little brother, Michael, only two years old at the time, and they danced and tumbled around the room, laughing and giggling. The whole scene probably lasted less than 10 minutes, but it has been one of the great joys of my life. That memory has sustained me through a lot of life's ups and downs.
The next 25 years of my life would be filled with all kinds of setbacks, emotional, financial and physical. In fact, for a period of about 18 years, not only did I go through marriage losses, but also the loss of homes, belongings, and found myself unable to meet my financial obligations, even though I worked multiple jobs and typically worked 60 to 80 hours a week. Through those dark years, I was estranged for a period from my children. It took time to rebuild my life and develop good, loving relationships again. But the work paid off. It paid off for me, to be honest, open, and own up to my own mistakes and take responsibility for them. In time, that process has led me to a far better, happier, and more grounded life.
As I look back through the years since that moment of watching Elisabeth dance to the waltz I composed to her, I still have the same feeling of being surprised at her joy, and wonderment. The bond that this little piano solo created between us eventually helped us to reconnect in much healthier, stronger ways, which has not only been a benefit to both of us but has made us more honest, more understanding, people.
Music Video of Elisabeth's Waltz
This video was created by Liz's friend, Brittney. Brittney is a wonderfully talented person. A fine photographer. This video is a Christmas gift from both of us to Liz.
The best things that ever happened in my life are my two kids. They are wonderful, smart, talented, honorable people.
When my kids were going through their adolescent years, I required them to take piano lessons for two years. That didn't really happen the way I imagined it, but they did take lessons for a little less than a year. They would say, "Dad, music is your thing, not ours." But to this day, Michael can walk up to any piano and play Pop Goes the Weasel exactly the way he did when he was five years old, so that year of lessons really did pay off. That, and the fact that as he and Liz continued into high school, Michael, the sports obsessed son, picked up a guitar and never put it down. Liz was also active in sports as well as dance, but she played piano and wrote her own songs. She has won several awards for her original compositions from early in her life. I even notated a couple of them for her, and she claims she has no memory of some of them whatever. I'm just glad I took the time to notate the ones I did.
Michael called me in those teen years to ask me technical music questions.
"Dad, what chord is this? It's totally awesome!" and he would play the chord, then each note, and I would tell him what it was. One time it was a more complex chord, like an E major seventh with a flat nine and no third.
"Whaaa…..how do you know this stuff?!" he asked, puzzled.
"Because I paid a lot of money to learn it in college, that's why!" I said laughing.
Liz is now married to Brandon. Michael is married to Tiffany. Both still love music and they both continue to write music. Every once in a while I see Liz dancing around the room. It always makes me smile, and takes me back to that moment on her fifth birthday. She is a beautiful dancer. Liz also has a blog and is very active about it. She's an interesting and witty writer.
This Piano Solo Is Available in Sheet Music
Purchase this piano solo at HolySheetMusic.com.
Merry Christmas, Elisabeth. I love you.