Christmas was really good this year. I was just reading my blog post from 2005 and it's kind of incredible the difference a year can make. I kind of feel like this year everything was brand new. "A Christmas of Firsts" - if you will.
I played at Mom's church on Christmas Eve again, but this year I brought along one of my private students - a junior in high school who's interested in pursuing a career in music. We were the two trumpets in the brass quartet and it was her first "gig." I was really proud of her and glad we could share the experience. It made me think of my very first gig, which happened to be at the very same church. I was a high school kid and it meant the world to me to be playing beside my own teacher.
On Christmas day, I woke up and went out for an early run. It occurred to me that it was my first Christmas as a marathoner! I lost myself in the bittersweet memories of my summer training, and before I knew it, I was back home again.
The morning was wonderful. It was just me and my Mom: chatting over coffee, baking up one last batch of cookies with my leftover dough, and just sharing quality Mother/Daughter time. She offered to make my wedding dress. I happily, tearfully accepted. We laughed a lot, listened to Christmas music and got food ready together.
In the afternoon, my family arrived. My brother came first, and we three caught up for a while until my other brother came with his family. A little later, HE arrived and we all opened gifts, shared laughter and just enjoyed 'being.' My heart swelled as I looked around at the happy faces of all ages who embody my life - my love.
It was my first Christmas being engaged - our first Christmas together, in fact. HE was subjected to my family's quirkiness, and was fortunate to experience my sister-in-law's inaugural litter box cake (which I fear may become a new tradition.) HE played with the nephews and the cats, and fit in as if HE'd been there all along.
We dressed the baby up as an elf, terrorized the cat with Bean's remote-controlled car, drank cheap wine and made fun of our creepy relatives. It was the first Christmas where everything was picture-perfect... at least in my eyes.