"Since you don't have anything to do right now," she says, just after we've discussed the move, the end of term grading, the end-of-year optometrist and dentist appointments, the house we're buying, etc., "why don't you practice some Christmas music, so that we can sing carols when you come this Christmas?"
Her words are music to my ears... or at least they are when I sit down at the piano. I stack the dozen or so piano books containing Christmas music in front of me, and start to pick through them. And I am astonished at how much better I play than I did last year, even though I haven't practiced Christmas songs since last December. Some songs I could never really finish last year are pretty easy, even on the first attempt. Wow.
And Mom's request does two things for me, beyond giving me the pleasure of playing Christmas music. For one thing, she's given me license to play every day, even with stacks of papers to grade and a ton of other obligations. And for the other, she's made it clear, in one sentence, that she values me and my gifts and wants me to share them--that she is looking forward to Christmas just a bit more because she'll have piano music playing in the house, because I'll be there playing.
Nice mom. Even nicer because I don't have a tree up this year (no sense in decorating, since we're loading up the truck starting on December 10). Now I get my little bit of Christmas at least once a day, when I sit down, lay my fingers on the antique keys, and play.