I love going to my mailbox this time of year. Usually it is only filled with junkmail and bills. This month it is filled with friends. Their faces and letters make me smile.
The Christmas letter has always baffled me a bit. I love reading them and getting to catch up on people's lives. But I have never quite known what to say and never mailed off any of my own. Most of these letters seem a bit too polished. I don't mean grammatically.......more like some of the stuff of life has been left out. One of my good friends has always joked about writing a REAL Christmas letter. Starting out with something like, " This year we filed for bankruptcy" or "we managed to stay married for another year" or "my son is failing half of his classes". Imagine the response those would get!
So I will attempt a REAL letter. Some of the highlights as well as some of the lows.
(and this isn't my first attempt, I did a few years ago and posted it here.)
I started the year with a colonoscopy. Which was so not fun, but what better way to start the new year than with a shiny clean colon. And not so many answers on what is wrong with my stomach than I started with. Except maybe that I could use a little more sleep.
My Spring and early Summer was long and hard. Friends were sick, people died and I had way more questions than I had answers. I started to want to really pursue the idea of justice and compassion rather than just read about it. But that was going to require me to rethink some things. Like how many pairs of shoes I really needed or if I could limit my Starbucks intake to a few less times a week. I got only a little bit better at it. And I mostly didn't answer any of my questions. But startedt to stop being afraid to ask them.
Owen was much healthier than last year. We didn’t get pneumonia or chicken pox or shingles even once. And I think the people at Cooks ER might not even remember us by name any more.
Tess on the other hand had ear infection after ear infection and finally we scheduled surgery. I was hoping for a whole new kid. One who sleeps and was a little more laid back. And what I got was my Tessie without any ear infections. Still firey and high maintenance and easily woken. Months later she does sleep better. And even very very occasionally all night in her own bed. But mostly she ends up at some point in our room kicking one of us in the face. But there is no more screaming in the middle of the night. Well, unless she kicks one of us in square in the nose.
Owen started kindergarten this year. And loves it. He is learning a lot. He is starting to read pretty well on his own and can count over 100. What he hasn’t learned however is how to listen, to sit quietly, to not interrupt and to get his work done instead of talk to his friends and be silly. But lets be honest, neither has his momma.
He is also playing some serious soccer. Well serious soccer for a 5 year old. About a year ago we were bribing him with ring pops and pulling him out from under the covers on game days and offering up a nickel every time he touched the ball. Just about the time I was about to let him quit he started loving it. He may be the littlest and least scoring jaguar on the team, but he is by far the best dancer. And I think a kid who can play defense and dance at the same time must be pretty talented.
Tess is two. Officially a toddler. And with Owen I didn’t really understand what was so terrible about two. With Tess I know. This girl can throw a serious fit. She is stubborn and sensitive and knows exactly what she wants. Which is usually another cookie or chocolate or to put on all my make up or to watch “Princess and the Frog” AGAIN. But she giggles and wrestles and is so incredibly tender with her dozen baby dolls and loves to give kisses and is so stinkin cute that I think I'll keep her. She is super smart, starting to grow a little bit of hair and can out dance Owen in a heart beat. She potty trained herself on her second birthday like some magical gift for her mom. But only sortof. She is equally likely to poop in the potty as she is in the middle of the living room floor. But on the upside, we don’t have to buy diapers anymore. Clorox wipes, however we buy in bulk.
A lot is the same. We have the same house and the same jobs and the same dog and the same cars and the same messy kitchen. This blog and my thoughts on writing are in exactly they same status they were a year ago. We are all a little bit older and wiser and a few pounds heavier. Except maybe Shaun who goes to the gym more religiously now than ever, but I think that has more to do with the fact that we don’t have cable any more than it does actually working out. And there has been some new. A new tattoo, a lot of new questions, a brief stint with a nose ring, new books, new budgets, traveled to some new places and made some fantastic new friends.
Which I think makes for a pretty good year. Even if I don’t skip over the bad parts.
(and special thanks to my friend Rhonda for getting these amazing shots and for my friend Tina for help designing the card).