Our year, like Rossetti’s poem, opened with snow. Lots of it, piled in big, cold drifts in the mountains only 15 minutes from our home. We took the girls there to play, encountering crowds of other families. Our car even got stuck on a slippery place beside the road! Happily, a family we knew showed up in their jeep and rescued us.
Looking back, 2010 was like that. There were many high points, perhaps a bit of peril, and always a friend near to offer support and assistance. Early in the year, we visited the Santa Monica Pier. B enjoyed her first roller coaster ride, screaming her exhilaration across the blue-green waves. Her excitement was even greater when she won first place for third grade in the school science fair and got an honorable mention for her work at the District level. Her experiment: what type of food can cool the burn of spicy salsa? The results: milk and dairy products work best. Science with an everyday application!
J investigated the burning point of marshmallows for fifth grade and was thrilled to win second place. S and I were astonished that they both won (and also relieved to be done testing hot things!) In spring, S finished a myth class for grad school. He and J got to put the research into practice when they played genies in the local production of Aladdin. After months of rehearsals, it was a big deal --a flying-by-wire, life-sized elephant, cast-of-hundreds-scaled production. An off, off-Broadway piece that saw them painted entirely blue for their song-and-dance numbers. Plus S got to pull the elephant.
As the year warmed, our family was challenged to overcome adversity, mainly with a two mile hike to the top of the mountain just behind our home. We turned out with the community and made it to the peak, savoring the wild flowers and the forgotten vistas. We worked in 2010 on straightening out our lives, mostly when both girls got braces! They are thrilled and love their ortho visits, and their teeth are already on the way to teenage perfection.
This year I got rejected as a kidney donor for a friend – oh, the sting!— but I had my work accepted for publication. That makes two short stories in print, and more out for consideration. I lost a steady client of my grant writing business because of economic restructuring, but I became a substitute teacher for the local yoga studio. Balance in adversity, the yin-yang of daily life.
Rossetti’s poem is below, if you’d like to read it. It’s been one of my favorite Christmas poems for a long time. Besides the vivid use of language, I like the contrast she sets up. In the middle of bleakness and cold arrives the light of warmth and hope. Snow had fallen all around, but the snow was just a part of the miracle to come. Our year started with snow; maybe yours did as well. We’ve attached a little snowflake here for you so you know that we are sending along with this letter our love and our hope for your own special miracle.
Merry Christmas 2010!