This arrangement was fine for the Branch President, whose family is very musically inclined and all are singers. No problem for the other counselor, either, who had children in the Branch and who were also singers. They just had their kids sing. Not so easy for Jake and me. I play the piano, but as I recall, we had been specifically requested to SING. Jake loves to sing, and he sings to our kids all the time. But he is not a "singer." OK, let's be honest, there is no tune carrying going on with my awesomely capable and perfect husband. I can carry a tune and read music, but that is as far as I go. Jake informed me that Prez Jimenez (or PJ, as we liked to call him) was not going to budge on this one. As Christmas got closer and closer, we were still at a loss.
Finally, the day before the program, I decided to take one for the team. I went to Deseret Book and found a children's Nativity book with big Nativity scenes and stick-on characters. Then I showed Jake how it worked. I had Jake call Sister PJ and ask her to play the piano for us.
This is how it went down. I sang the song "The Nativity" from the Children's Songbook. (That's the song that starts "This is the season beloved of the year, Sing a rhyme Christmas time soon will be here..." and goes through all the scenes of the Nativity.) Sister PJ accompanied me. Jake had the Nativity book on a big easel and went through each scene that I sang and added characters to the scenes.
So, I know this sounds kind of dumb, but still understandable considering the circumstances, right? Well this is how you should picture it. I was very pregnant (see photo below). I am not a singer and my voice doesn't carry. And the best part was Jake, who was (1) unfamiliar with the song and (2) unfamiliar with children's books with stick-on characters, was frantically turning pages, finding the right scene, and then finding the right stick-on to go with the scene. I saw him breathe a huge sigh of relief at the end.
Our part of the production ended, and I saw more than one raised eyebrow, including someone from Stake leadership. I remember Jake was slightly concerned about that particular raised eyebrow.
Aah...the good old days of Albuquerque, where we always had to do things a little bit differently! Merry Christmas!