My first few moments of relative peace in about 10 days started.... now!
All that happiness and preparation and scheduling and getting stuff done doesn't give you the time to reflect on what you have.
Fortunately, it didn't take more than a few moments to notice peace in the whirlwind.
During one of the rare days this month that was both warm and dry, I shooed the kids out of the house to burn off energy, even though my energy was long gone. Among the dormant shrubbery were a few azaleas and wild honeysuckle in bloom.
On a morning when I don't think I'll make it through the day with the kids cooped up and cold rain outside, an extended family of eastern bluebirds lines up at the bird feeder like a smorgasboard.
I had new music for my iPod. It had been quite a while since I explored anything new. I noticed that most of it came from acts who either worked with Barry or opened for him. Usually opening acts are something to endure but I became a fan of Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, and Straight No Chaser because of those connections.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are coming to Georgia Tech in January. It's been forever since I've seen these guys live and now they're in my back yard. (I hope they do Pas de Quatre!)
Ditto Straight No Chaser. I missed their last visit to Center Stage Atlanta in November but April 2010 will be a different story.
Had a pre-holidays visit with MIL and SIL. This one was important. Pete lost his eldest sister soon after TNLF was born. Those relationships can't be the same anymore so we took some time to rebuild them from the ground up. That was a good week.
This year we were able to contribute to every charity request we came across. Not just bell-ringers for the Salvation Army either. The local police force collected toys and brought the entire community together to serve each other - haves and have-nots alike.
One I'll always remember: a team effort between our church and the county foster care services. The congregation was asked to sponsor foster children who otherwise wouldn't get any presents. Ours was an 8 year old boy, the eldest of three siblings, who only wanted a skateboard and a new coat. How can anyone NOT fulfill that kind of request?? I hope he liked them.
At home this was our first Christmas where TOLF was old enough to understand and participate in what was going on. She's still afraid of Santa Claus, although she wanted him to bring her presents. Even going so far as to make various crafts with paper and glitter and crayons as gifts. But in person, she much preferred the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and the Pink Pig. (You have to be near the ATL to understand that last one.)
The kids are finally in bed and Pete and I can finish leaving "Santa's" calling card: a pile of presents and a half-eaten gingerbread house. I got to write Santa's thank you note. TOLF really believed Santa was there. Her little sister was just bouncing because something exciting was going on. She's a baby, not an idiot, she knows how to have fun.
Finally - I don't have to do laundry this week! The greatest gift of all!
I hope everyone's Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year/whatever you're celebrating was as peaceful in your own way as was mine. I know that some other fans out there have times that are more stressful. I dish out some harsh criticism on this blog when somebody starts acting weird. I won't apologize for what I think of that. But at the same time if I see that someone's truly struggling, know that when I read your story you'll be in my thoughts and prayers, always.
Barry, I hope you got some serious R&R and that your time off was had without papparazzi or other public demands on your private time.
Back to the family. I'll come up for air again some time after January 1.
Happy New Year, everybody!