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Ode to Joy

posted Monday January 4th, 2010

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I can’t shake the bit of melancholy that’s been hanging around the edges of my world, this whole holiday season. Usually it doesn’t come til it’s time to take down the decorations and get ready to go back to school, but this year I have to admit that it’s been with me all along.

Maybe, like my dear friend Trish, I’m simply no longer a fan of Christmas. But I’m not ready to admit that, not yet.

I think I just need some reminders of what a nice holiday it was.

And really, it was. We missed my mother in law, for sure, and clearly that was the source of some of the malaise, but we had a good Christmas Day in her honor — and just about every other day between Thanskgiving and New Year’s held moments of pure joy, those instants I crave like the pink star sugar cookies I baked by the hundreds this year, in honor of my self-imposed but hardly followed “homemade Christmas”. (Yeah, that idea’s so gone next year!)

Anyhow, on to the (crappily photographed) reminders.

 abginger

Annabelle was a beautiful gingerbread person, marching with her fellow Brownies in our local holiday parade.

queen

And while I loved watching her onstage in the Snow Queen, one of the truly breathtaking moments came when Annabelle and a friend hid backstage and watched the adult cast rehearse — taking us by surprise when they burst into a rock-fueled warm-up better than any scene in A Chorus Line or the real Fame.

itouch

I hate to focus on material possessions — and this is one I resisted for a long time — but I’m glad I finally gave in and let Ray convince me to let my mom give Sophie an iTouch for Hanukkah. The look on her face when Sophie realized it was just for her was priceless, and Ray’s right — it’s just the thing for her, she’s a pro on it and I bet it’s the first step toward adapting to her writing challenges.

stained

Annabelle’s holiday piano recital (the teacher promises Sophie can take lessons when she’s 7!) was beautiful, as a couple dozen kids at all levels struggled one by one through a wide selection of Christmas songs. I thought Annabelle’s “Angels We Have Heard on High” was flawless (I would, I’m the mom! and I have no musical aptitude myself) and had to admit that church (the recital happens to be held in one) isn’t so bad, particularly when you have this stained glass to stare at.

ab doll

We celebrated Hanukkah a day late at our dear friend Estelle’s home — and Annabelle absolutely glowed under her balloon-hat when our friend gave her a Mexican doll just like the one her grandma gave her years ago (the one the dog had eaten earlier that day).

champ

I was lucky enough to grab a holiday dinner with a group of writerly friends (all five of us in glasses, happily nerdy) at a Mexican dive and a holiday lunch (complete with pink champagne) with a gang of fancier girlfriends at Modern Steak, the super-cool new restaurant next to the super-cool new Barney’s, where the Brillo-pad festooned Christmas tree deserved its own security guard to watch out for it.

barneys

We ate latkes with my extended family, and gobbled Ray’s mom’s stuffing (I think we’ve perfected the recipe) with his dad and sister. Then we spent several days with my own sister and her family, who came here from Denver looking for some sun. Luckily, Phoenix obliged.

After hanging with my favorite crowd of adults and kids, I got to ring in the New Year in our living room with my best friend from second grade, Amy Se., snoring softly (okay, breathing a little heavily) on the couch. Annabelle and I were the only ones who made it to midnight; she insisted we stay up. I’m glad we did.

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Yesterday wrapped the holiday season with our 12th wedding anniversary. Ray and I put off our grown-up date and took the girls to breakfast at Royal Palms, where we were married. It’s still one of my favorite spots in the world.

Later, I put Christmas and Hanukkah back in the Rubbermaid bins, folded several baskets of laundry and fell into bed too tired for one last Bailey’s nightcap.

That’s okay. It’s back to reality — and the continued pursuit of joyful moments.

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Tags: Filed under: holidays, Uncategorized by Amysilverman

2 Responses to “Ode to Joy”

  1. Oh I think that was one gorgeous holiday wrap-up. Sounds like a wonderful time!

  2. the photo of the girls from the back watching the adults perform is precious!

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