Our Holiday Letter

Dear friends and family,

Season’s Greetings and a joyous New Year to all of you! I hope this last year has been one that holds wonderful memories and many things to be thankful for that you will bring into the new year. I know ours has.

This year was the year that my son decided that he would stop brushing his teeth. Trips to the dentist would result in menacing looks by our family dentist as he chiseled layers upon layers of plaque off my son’s teeth. And even after horror stories from the dentist about cavities and tooth loss, my son has stuck to his goals. Every morning and every evening I would ask my son if he had brushed his teeth, and he would promise that he had. And then he would smile, revealing teeth with orange and yellow gunk covering them, his toothbrush laying on the counter dry as a bone. Even though he is nearly 9 years old, I have now taken to standing over him while he brushes his teeth, even going so far as to take over the brushing. The result has been bleeding gums and lots of complaints and tears over a mouth that is not used to being so clean. I am thankful that while my son is growing like a weed in front of my eyes, that he has allowed me to reminisce about his young childhood as I hold him in a headlock and scrub his scummy teeth.

My son has also decided to be more generous to those who are in need. At the beginning of every school year, my family and I supply him with a dozen new sweatshirts that are sure to keep him warm. He wears these sweatshirts proudly to school each morning, clean after being freshly laundered. But when he comes home after school, the sweatshirt is missing. In only several week’s time, all of his best sweatshirts were gone and all he had left were some ugly sweaters. Those ones were never lost, and much to my dismay would come back home full of stains from that day’s activities. The only explanation I can come up with is that my son is contributing to his school’s lost and found collection, the same one that they take to the Salvation Army every couple of weeks. His best sweatshirts would find their way into the Lost and Found, and were only discovered missing after the school would donate all the clothes. The ratty sweaters would make their way home because they were too ugly for even the less fortunate to wear. Just this past week, I had to buy him a suit to wear to school. He looked so sharp in his suit that he couldn’t wait to put it on. We even found a perfect sports coat to go over his shirt and tie. When he came home, he had donated that jacket as well, even though he only wore it once. I am filled with pride over my generous son who has given away all the clothes I spent my hard earned cash on. No doubt my giving son will do the same with all the clothes he receives for Christmas as well. You cannot teach generosity, it must come from within. And my son is naturally generous.

Speaking of clothes, this was also the year that my son decided to become a professional, unpaid shoe tester. This past year has been incredibly harsh on his shoes. I bought him expensive shoes at the beginning of the school year to try and head off this issue. But in no time flat, the top of the shoes started to come away from the soles. We had to break out the duct tape, and my son became the proud owner of expensive silver tipped shoes until we were able to find him a new pair.

This has been an eventful year for my son. There was the golfball through his grandparents’ window, the bully situation, and the phase that proved that I am never, ever going to get my son to move out of my house.

My daughter, on the other hand, has decided to do her part in water conservation. In her almost teen years, she has gone from taking showers every other night to fighting me on a nightly basis. Because the tween years bring on the familiar stench of gym socks after soaking in swamp water and then running for three hours on a hot afternoon in insulated sneakers, I have been encouraging my daughter to take nightly showers before bed. As a result, the nights have been ended in heated arguments, and the shower remains unused. But it was one day in the last month or so that my daughter came to her senses. Or rather, her sense of smell started to work a little better than usual. And even she had to admit that a nightly shower was necessary in these hormonal times. Still, I cannot help but be proud of my conserving daughter who was only trying to conserve our precious water supply. But even she had to admit that air pollution was a much bigger concern than water conservation, and a worthy cause to fight for.

In these tween years of childhood, my daughter has also discovered how much she likes boys. No, “like” is too mild of a world. Obsession is more like it. She has taken to listening to the god-awful music of Justin Bieber, and taking part in puppy love romances like the rest of her peers. Recently she confessed that in her 11 years, she had already received her first kiss! Oh how the innocent times of childhood get whisked away in the blink of an eye!

With her boy crazy tendencies, this was also the year that my daughter’s heart got broken for the first time.  At first she wouldn’t speak to me, resorting to the grunts and clicks that are the natural language of tweens and teens. But over ice cream and hot chocolate, she poured out her carefully guarded heart and we swapped stories of stinky boys who don’t know a good thing when she’s looking him in the eye.

My daughter has become a victim of poor body image at such an early age, almost went to the ER for the 5th time in her 11 years, and has grunted hello to me on more than one occasion on her Moody Tween days.

And myself? I finally got rid of the Aerostar Van, the car that had the sliding door that fell off when we tried to open it and would leak black goop all over my hands when I touched the steering wheel. I found an awesome way to get rid of my chicken leftovers that my kids never grow tired of. And I admitted (sob!) to being the mother of a videogame junkie.

I am proud of my mediocre and troublemaking children who have placed many a gray hair on my head. 2009 has been a great year of lessons learned over and over again. I’m sure that 2010 will offer lessons of a different variety, and more stories that aren’t much fun to experience, but sure entertaining to write about afterwards.


Happy New Year to all of you, from my family to yours!

Love Crissi and family

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