Hello sweet girl and Happy 125 Months! It’s Christmas Eve and dark outside the windows by the desk where I’m sitting and writing to you. The sun hasn’t risen yet, but I have, because IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE! It’s too exciting for sleep!
Truth be told, I think Christmas Eve might be my favorite. Of course Christmas Day is wonderful, but Christmas Eve is so full of excitement. I’m looking forward to all of it – to baking goodies for neighbors with you, going to my favorite church service of the year with candlelight and beloved songs, dinner with family, and then tucking you in tonight, wide-eyed with anticipation for the morning reveal.
Christmas also means seeing loved ones, and this week we made our annual pilgrimage to North Georgia to visit Mr. Glen in Big Canoe.
You LOVE Mr. Glen and you love his cabin in the woods. And even though you claim to loathe hiking in general, you adore his particular waterfall hike and have declared it to be the only one you like.
This year you didn’t feel compelled to stick right by our sides, and led the charge up the trail. You’d often leave the path to explore some rock outcropping or side route before scampering back. It’s fun to see how your independence has grown year to year.
We also had a chance to visit your Grandma and Grandpa and see their cabin in the woods for the first time. It was a perfect winter week in nature except for the lack of snow. Oh how you are wishing for snow, but with Christmas Day temps in the 70s it doesn’t seem likely.
This has also been a month of music for you. Something seemed to “click” recently and your previous enjoyment of music-making is becoming a passion. Your Daddy and I used to have to remind, cajole and scold you into practicing your viola. You always seemed to like playing once you got started, but rarely picked up the instrument on your own.
Not anymore. You play often and unprompted, trying new songs and relishing old ones. You love playing while your Daddy strums guitar, creatively improvising songs on the spot.
Add to that – the clarinet. When you told us at the beginning of 5th grade that you wanted to join the school band, your father and I tried to talk you out of it. There are no strings in band, so joining up would mean learning a new instrument. We were still struggling to get you to play viola at the time, and didn’t welcome the idea of nagging you about another chore.
You informed me that all of your other friends were joining band, which seemed like an exaggeration until I messaged their mothers and discovered this to indeed be true. On top of that, we found a clarinet to borrow (and avoided any additional rental fees), so we relented and you joined the band.
And I’m so glad you did. You love playing with other musicians. Between orchestra and band, I think the motivation to make good music in a group is part of the reason you practice so much now. Without our pestering, you not only practice viola independently but clarinet too, working way ahead of the class in your music book because you just can’t wait to learn how to play the next note.
You can now read alto clef and some treble clef, and you’re picking up other instruments as well. Your Daddy has taught you a few chords on the ukulele, and you are teaching yourself to play piano by ear. Given a lazy Saturday, you’re likely to spend a good chunk of your time making music. And it’s wonderful.
You’ve had a chance to perform a bit this month too. Your school band held its first concert, and you proudly told me afterward that your clarinet only squeaked once.
Then you and John Foxx played a lovely violin/viola duet at church. You played “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from the choir loft, and I loved hearing the strong, beautiful notes float over our heads in the sanctuary and seeing the two of you up there, pulling your bows in unison and then in harmony. I’m so proud of you.
Ah – you are awake now too, the two of us the only souls in the house unable to sleep past sunrise. Another reason I’m so excited? Nana and Granddaddy are here!
For the first time in your life and mine, we are hosting Nana and Granddaddy for Christmas! This holiday used to be one of the biggest work days for your Granddaddy with services to lead at church. But now that he’s retired, they’re able to join us for the holiday instead. I’m so happy to have them here.
Ok – I’m off to begin some Christmas Eve cooking and baking. I look forward to donning our matching Santa aprons and sharing kitchen space together today. You bring me so much joy in every season, sweet girl, and I’m so thankful for you.