Not long after I graduated college I visited my mom in Oakland. The morning found us inside of a giant, inflatable salmon made out of brightly colored nylon fabric where she sat at the head and told stories to children. The evening ended with an improvisational music and dance rehearsal at an abandoned warehouse. My mom played the cello. Using my best This American Life intonation, I made a little radio story (that never aired of course) about a day in her life.
The first few minutes are cruel, and now hard to listen to. I mock the salmon, the dancers, and her bohemian lifestyle. The following day as she drove me to the airport I asked her to tell me the story of why, as a child, she chose to play the cello. It's a story I've forgotten until now.
As Mother's Day approaches I'm reminded that I am the daughter of a woman who, at 13 years old, invited the entire cello section of the Pittsburgh Symphony to her house for tea.