There’s nothing easy about finding the perfect present. I tell myself I’ll trust my judgment and buy the first thing I come across, which is when I give it the once over, decide it’s perfect, inspect it thoroughly, put it under my arm while I look for something else, compare it to something else, set it down, pick it up, talk about it out loud, and finally determine it to be totally and utterly wrong.
Last Christmas I convinced myself I would offer up a present to the readers of this blog: a piano solo. My husband sat on the ottoman in the family room and recorded as I played Cristofori’s Dream. My heart was pounding so fast my fingers became paralyzed. He hit delete and we tried again… and again, and again. I would sit down after a run and play it perfectly. He would touch record with no one in the room but us and everything fell apart.
In the end, the most perfect recording also included one of the dogs when he climbed onto the sofa for a nap, the wood crackling very loudly in the fireplace, and the clock that never chimes… chimed.
With my husband’s encouragement, I have practiced another song for this year’s present. Actually, I have practiced several songs. True to form, I could not decide. George Winston’s version of Carol of the Bells was my first choice….until I realized it may be next Christmas before I can actually play it. Ave Maria and The First Noël/Christmas Eve Waltz were rehearsed a few gazillion times before being eliminated. My husband yelled from the other room, “That’s it!” when I played Ora by Ludovico Einaudi. It was an 11-page masterpiece that I was sure I would slaughter as soon as he touched record. So, I’ve reduced it to a 6-page, 3-minute present that only took a few dozen times to capture on video without dogs barking, clocks chiming or fingers going numb.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from my house to yours.