My perfect daughter (age 8) recently drew a picture. This is not unusual, there are very few pieces of paper in the house that she hasn't drawn something on, including things like bills and newspapers I haven't read. This picture, though, was all in shades of blue, a blue house with a blue sidewalk and a little blue girl with medium length blue hair and a blue hobo sack, and was titled (in blue) "leaving forever". Naturally, this caused some concern, so I gathered in the perfect daughter for a talk.
I started by asking her what the picture was, and she hemmed and hawed and avoided, a skill that she has learned from me, and very well. When it became clear that I wasn't going to get an answer, whether because she didn't want to tell, or couldn't tell, we went a different direction. I told her a little bit about how I thought that art, or music, was good for showing things that were hard to say. I said a little bit about how I thought you could tell a lot about how a person was feeling or what they were thinking about by how they played a piece of music, if you paid very close attention. And we talked about how you can learn important things about a person from the pictures they take, what they choose to take pictures of, which pictures they show people, which pictures they keep in little boxes just for themselves.
And then I let her go, told her to go draw more pictures. I'm still not sure who was leaving in that picture or why.
But it brought me back to a question I've been asking myself for a long time, and to an answer. Not a good answer, or a final answer, but an answer. The question is, "Can you tell someone that you love them through playing a whole note?"
And the answer, for now, is, "Not if you don't play one."