Hey Mom! I want to play the violin!

Violin RecitalOh so hard to believe, but this week my baby turns 21! Where oh where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was standing in a grocery store line with this cranky baby and his loquacious 3 year old sister in tow.  The “middle-aged” woman next to me leaned over and said, “Enjoy them while you can. They grow up too quickly!” I was in a sleep deprived stupor and my first reaction was to say, “Lady! Are you kidding? I can’t wait for them to grow up!” But instead I smiled meekly knowing that there was surely some truth to what she said. Today as I stand behind young mothers on the grocery line I resist the urge to say the same to them.

My son, who is turning 21 this week, has a very creative soul. And to his credit, he was aware of it even before we were. One day, when he was around 5 years old, he said to me, “I want to play the violin.” I looked at him in astonishment thinking that I surely misunderstood. It never occurred to me that any of my children would be musical. As a child, I had a bad experience with accordion lessons (perhaps the topic of another post), and swore I’d never make my children play an instrument. To be certain that I understood what he was saying I asked, “You want play with a violin?” “NO!” he insisted, “I want to play the violin.” Still not sure about this, I asked, “Are you saying you want to make music with a violin?” “Yes!” he said in an exasperated little voice.

I am certainly glad I listened to him. Now at 21 he still plays violin, as well as alto sax, and clarinet. He even picked up my old accordion for a while, and played it better than I ever could! In the last several years, he has also taken an interest in photography. He is the photo editor for his college newspaper, and has won several awards for his pictures. I’ve included a few of my personal favorites with this post.

Happy Birthday!I write this not only because I am a very proud mom of a wonderful son, but also to encourage parents. Should you happen to have a little one at home asking for crayons, paint, clay, paper, fabric or musical instruments, be sure to do your best to get those items into their little hands. You never know what they’ll be doing by the time they are 21.

Happy Birthday Most Wonderful Son!

17 thoughts on “Hey Mom! I want to play the violin!

  1. Ron Hopkins says:

    Wow. Hard to believe Marcus is now turning 21, although he has been an adult for quite a bit longer. I do so enjoy playing music with Marcus and his tremendous talent, effervescent smile, and positive attitude is contagious and brings out the best in all of us. When Marcus returns to Connexion in the summer, it brings a wholeness that we miss during the rest of the year. Happy Birthday Marcus!, and Happy Birthing Day Margot!

  2. Mark Urban says:

    Dear most wonderful son,
    How can it be??!! What happened to the little guy who slid across the floor on his arched back and head on the floor? To the guy who was patient when dad boiled his guppies, ran out of gas on the way to college, ran out of gas to buy gas 3 cents cheaper, to the guy who kept the family calm, and had the most even scores on the personality tests? Awesome, you’re 21 and have grown into a fine young man: mild, talented, intelligent, creative, great sense of humor (yay Adam Sandler), dependable, and capable. Believe and achieve! You can do whatever you put your mind to. We are here to help (if you want it!)
    I love you, Daddo

  3. Sandy Telljohann says:

    Marcus is 21! How crazy is that! I remember the Flame campouts with
    the games, horseback riding, and always the messing with the campfire.
    And who could forget the serenading around the campfire on Sunday mornings
    with the violin accompaniment. Remember the SUMC family retreats
    at Lakeview. Those were some fun times. We are so blessed to have watched you
    grow up and become such a fine young man. We are very proud to know you and
    and hope to someday see your name under some famous photo. Enjoy
    your birthday !

  4. Nancy Shortsleeve says:

    Happy Birthday Marcus! In some ways I can’t imagine that you could be turning 21 and in other ways the depth of your being makes it hard to imagine that you didn’t turn 21 several years ago! I love the hear the sweet sound of your violin and cherish the summer worship services when you “return to the fold.” I am amazed at your calm approach to life and know that I have been realigned more than once by a conversation with you. I can see you shrugging your shoulders right now and saying “what’s the big deal…just another birthday!” Well, maybe so, but as each year passes, you become more of what God had planned all along for you to be. So celebrate the milestone and keep listening for God’s guidance and direction. He has big plans for you Marcus and I can’t wait to see what they are! Happy Birthday friend!

  5. Gary and Kay Burleson says:

    Happy 21st Birthday! So hard to believe that all the Flame kids are on their way to becoming stellar adults. I guess one of my fondest memories is watching you little guys playing the game of pickle.
    Hearing you play the violin at Family Retreats was amazing. Was it really you playing or was it Memorex! Wait–you are only turning 21 you probably don’t remember that Memorex commerical.
    Strawbridge MDO was blessed with your participation for many years. I think your Mom would agree that during those years you had the energy of the Energizer Bunny.
    You have grown into a well-rounded, multi-talented, Christian man. You have done great with the first 21, just keep it up for the next 21.

  6. Erika says:

    My favorite Marcus memory is building a fort out of the couch cushions and watching you giggle at the mice in Cinderella for the 200th time. Or swimming all summer, you always reminded me of a shark with your super crazy teeth. And of course I was a big fan of the phase when you always walked around with a hammer in your belt, just in case there was anything interesting to bang on. Yup you are a pretty cool dude. In all seriousness, I so admire your creativity, your rock solid sense of justice, and the sensitivity that you approach the world with. I’m very glad you are my brother and that I get to know you, and share your infectious laughs. Happy birthday! Love your big sister.

  7. Christopher Ellis says:

    Bueno Marco! Happy Birthday buddy!!!

    Well Marcus just because a smart man once told me, “You can’t be an alcoholic in college” doesn’t mean we have to go test that with Pre-Class shots, Pre-Breakfast shots, or afternoon Bloody Marys… although I’m sure you would never anyway!

    I can’t wait till you’re up in Sherman so we can celebrate our 21sts together in our new place with Zane now that he’s back from Aussie-land! We can try some of that nasty bacon-flavored Vodka I’m sure you’ll love so much… haha

    I hope you have a great 21st and thoroughly enjoy you’re glutton-free birthday cake!

    Your Best Friend Forever,
    Chris 😉

  8. Will Slinkard says:

    awwww…Marcus McCuteykins happy birthday!!! You’ll always be that little 5 year old to me. Best Wishes!!!!

  9. Emily Leake says:

    Marcus! You’re growing up, lol
    I hope you have a wonderful birthday and next year as you continue to be crafty 🙂 All the best,
    Until we meet again!

  10. Nealio!!! says:

    Marcus!!! You put Dan Dominic and Berenice Abbott to shame with your creativity and ability! Have a Happy 21st Birthday man!!! Go crazy!!!

  11. monica martinez says:

    MARCUS! even though you said “maybe” every time i asked you to marry me, i know that you will have a bright future 🙂 i’ve never heard you play the violin, but i have watched you ninja almost everything you have ever done, especially downloading scrubs episodes for us all to enjoy! you’re wonderful, and happy birthday!

  12. Courtney Johnson says:

    I love my Marcus! I don’t get to talk to him much anymore but I sat by him in band everyday for a couple of years…until he got better than me of course and passed me up! My favorite Marcus memory is prom! I am so glad I asked him to go with me and we had a great time with everyone trying, and failing in their attempt, to make him dance! I always loved his smile because he has the best teeth of anyone I’ve ever seen! Also, when Christina and I made t-shirts that said “Marcus is my hero” for superhero day during homecoming week and when we graduated we left him a shirt that said “Christina and Courtney are my heroes” Ahh memories. I miss those days of band and Mr. Stewart and picking on Marcus because you never knew what he was going to say! He also made me and Julie Morris believe that his middle name was Arnie for about…a year. Good one Marcus and happy birthday! I miss you!

  13. Cindy Schofield (Bodt) says:

    I’m trying to get some writing done, but as happens so often, the internet distracted me. I went to the stained glass museum in Chicago while I was at a conference last week and was reminded again of your stained glass and wrote myself a note to check out your site. The note fell out of the pile of papers I’m working with today. So I found your site–SO GLAD I DID! Your work is beautiful! (despite your post about the honeymoon being over) As to the big birthday–We just experienced the same milestone with Adam. So strange, and yet so right. I miss the little boy, and yet, there is still so much of the boy in the young man. I love seeing him perform, hearing him analyze performances, and just socializing with him as an adult. So now, all four of our children are over that hump and on their way. How did this happen?!! Wish we could talk about it all over ice cream at Eddy’s. Well, just wanted to say hi. Congrats on the grown-up son! Mark–did you really boil his guppy??

  14. Onkel Frank (GOD Father) says:

    Along time ago I was Blessed with a “charge”, to be the GOD father of a wonderful baby boy, Marcus. I say I was Blessed, because as the years went by I got too be a part of, and watch a wonderful baby grow into a young boy and learn music and make us smile and laugh. Now as he becomes a young MAN, I could not be prouder, to be a part of this very special life. Marcus may not know this, but my father knew his great grandfather. When dad needer glass, or have a picture framed. He went to his greatgrandpa Hertzog, and then to his grand father, oto. I, as a young teen back then, I made deliveries too their shop (my Dad had a butcher shop) Karesch Pork Store. This was when I got to know Marcus’s mother. I would bring a slice of wurst for her. 🙂 Know here we are, years later, I can remember holding you at your Christing, your grandmother Urban and I flew down. I was so proud, as I am now. To be blessed with you, and watch you grow has been a great amd wonderful part of my life .I thank GODall the timefor this very spical blessing in my life. Often I speak of you to my family and friends. Not having children of my own, I could not asked or wished for more of them then the way you have grown up, and become the wonderful man you have become. Thank you Marcus, for the maney blessings you have given me. LOVE YOU your ONKEL FRANK.

  15. Onkel Frank (GOD Father) says:

    PC. This may make you laugh. on one of my visits, your dad and I were shopping at the local food market. On the way back to the car he told me that he and your mom would like me to be the GOD father of their baby. Well I said ,as I turned the cart around, that we were going to need more food and lots of Champagne.:)

  16. Sarah Chilmeran says:


    Happy Birthday!!!!! Now you can have all the shots you want legally!!!!!
    Here’s something you might like to know…I wore my ‘Start wearing Purple’ a few weeks ago, and my sister and cousin were like ‘huh?’ and they looked up the song and are in love with it now 🙂 And my dad even knows the song now, like recognizes it, and my family is so much better off and that much smarter ever since you touched our lives…hahaha.
    Also, notice that one of the pictures your mom put up is the one you took of my kitten!!!!!

    Alright Marcus, I hope your birthday was absolutely amazing. I really do. I love you and miss you and yay 21!!!!!!!!!!!


  17. diane west says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! ( happy birthday song)

    What a joy it has been to see and hear your musical talents develop over these years. I remember when your family first came to the church and I found out you played “violin”. I think I was interim director at the time. It is so special for me to have
    children and youth share their talents in service to the Lord and you have been such an inspiration to all of us here at AUMC and
    a wonderful example of how youth’s talents are so important to us.
    You are such a well rounded young man and your parents definitely have a reason to swell with pride.
    Continue to serve the Lord with your presence and talents and all that hear will be touched with a true blessing from God.

    God Bless you “young man”,
    Diane West

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