2016 Williams Christmas Letter, the long version.
Dear Family & Friends, (Unabridged Version)
Know that you are loved and that we wish you a Merry Christmas and a productively happy, and/or happily productive, New Year. As I am just starting this epistle a few days before the postal service goes on vacation, there is a chance this will come after the holidays. Just think of it as an opportunity to keep on being “merry,” per my belated letter’s request.
At the moment we are all healthy, and are being kept that way thanks to the magic of vitamin C, and luck. With the many opportunities given kids for collecting infections to be brought home for the sharing, I am amazed we don’t all have variations of colds, flus, bacteria, and viruses, not to mention lice and fleas. There are times when I wish my kids would just keep all contact with the rest of the world to the elbow-to-elbow tap (see the movie “Young Frankenstein”).
I, Becky, am going to give you some sort of an update on our family. As a kindness, I did ask my kids to write a paragraph’s worth of their favorite events, or experiences, of the year. I will also share what I can from my perspective. I will fill in the blanks in their narratives as I see fit (a scrivener’s prerogative). As it so often happens, most things worth remembering happen in the warm flexible days of summer.
I’ll start with Reed, he being the oldest by 2 minutes or more (I was pretty medicated and didn’t get an accurate count between baby removals). He is 14 now, but will be 15 on the 10th of January. He still has blond hair, blue eyes, and is starting to make me feel very short; he’s “almost” 6 feet tall. The most memorable part of the summer for him was when, for 3 weeks, one after the next with maybe a day to shower and sleep in his own bed, he attended 3 different camps starting June 20th and ending July 8th. In his own words he writes, “First was scout camp which included: climbing, repelling, running, hiking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, shooting, swimming, and snacking with joy. The next week was Yellowstone which included chilling with the relatives, getting driving lessons from aunt Jodi, canoeing down the river, snacking and doing the many of the other things one does while up there. Then, the next week after that was track camp at BYU. I was able to meet a lot of people from everywhere, as well as work on my athleticism. A final trip, separate from the camps, was our trip to Capital Reef, but we stayed in a hotel so it can’t be called camping. To summarize, it all came down to snacks, work, and lots of fun.”
Next, Douglas, the second born. I’m not sure how the Dr. decides who to pull out first in a C-section. Is it the one sticking a foot out? Actually, I don’t really want to know, gross. He is also 14, almost 15 and is now just as tall as me, which is 5’9”, when we stand up straight. He has dark blond hair, dark blue eyes, and like his brother, now has to shave. Not often, and not much, but I have threatened to wax their upper lips while they sleep if they don’t use those razors. I don’t think Douglas realized how much I’d share about his life before he gave me his “paragraph,” or else he would have written more in his own words. However, this summer we were very happy and proud of him when he, at the age of 14 1/2, earned his Eagle scout rank. As he says, “This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to earn my Eagle Scout rank. With the support of my amazing scout troop, I completed my projects and all the other requirements. This was one of many highlights of the year.” The Hill Air Force base near us, has a lot of old aircraft that they mean to use for different purposes. Douglas and those in his troop, cleaned out an old C-130 in order for it to be fitted out as a classroom for teaching kids. Douglas also participated in those camps and vacations Reed mentioned. I’m so glad they have a love for the outdoors and camping. The love of camping was inherited from my side of the family, for Chris has absolutely no love for it.
Isaac, I-Man or, as aunt Jodi has nick-named him, “Socks.” He is now 11 but is the size of a 13-year-old and, according to his doctor will most likely hit 6’5” or more. He still has blond hair, and big, innocent-looking, brown puppy dog eyes. I can’t prove it, but I think he gets away with a lot more mischief than he should, because of those eyes. At my prompting, he took more seriously the definition of a paragraph of info when he shared his favorite experience of the year. “I liked when we went up to Jodi and Dave’s cabin at Island Park. One of the best parts was when we floated down the snake river and my dad hurled up his breakfast into the river. Another time was when we went to see the geysers. Also, when we saw the wolves, bears, and birds. Lastly, the summer was epic!” I’m always interested to learn what one or another person finds of interest in shared experiences. Maybe the episode of Chris getting sick while canoeing wasn’t as “epic” to Chris, but unfortunate. I didn’t even remember it until Isaac brought it up (no pun intended) again. I was in the canoe ahead of his and my view of the river was quite glorious.
Elizabeth, another twin also born approximately 2 minutes before her roomie, is now 6 yrs. old. She is tall for her age, has dark blond and very curly hair. She has also inherited the big brown, innocent-looking eyes that her brother Isaac has, but with long curled eyelashes, and the power to tear up on command. She too manages to get away with more than I suspect she should. She has a wonderful imagination and an honest perspective on life, always trying to puzzle out how things are and work. She has the biggest heart and gives great hugs and kisses. When I asked about her year, which seems to have only existed, like the others, in the summer months, she too talked about our trips. Quote: “I liked Yellowstone the most and liked watching the buffalo cross the road. I liked canoeing on the river and watching the squirrels on the trees next to the water. I liked sleeping in my aunt and uncle’s cabin and eating the breakfast uncle Dave made. We went horseback riding. My horse ran fast and I thought it was nice of the horses to give us a ride. My horse kept bonking me into the branches of the trees. I liked the cowboy who was teaching us how to ride the horse.” As I transcribed her words, I thought what do you mean you “liked” the cowboy? I’ll have to see if this liking of her cowboy (the college student working a summer job) leads her to an interest in Wranglers and boots, I hope not.
Our second daughter is Miriam, technically our youngest child, though differentiating between a couple of minutes seems somehow unfair and maybe to some, insulting. At this point she doesn’t care, other than having the novelty of being able to use the superlative when referring to her age. Being the “-est” at something can be quite a big deal for a 6-year-old. With Miriam, we have another blond, but with hazel eyes this time (Eyes that look blue one moment, green another, and gray most of the time. Whatever that’s called). She does NOT have that knack for appearing not-guilty. I think if she could figure out how to tame that high pitched scream, she might start appearing more innocent at the end of a bout with her siblings. Never the less, she’s still a sweetheart and can give a hug like a sloth clinging to its favorite tree. Now, to continue with her first person narrative of a memorable time in 2016: “This summer I got to ride a horse and the cowboy said I was pretty good at riding. I like summer and playing in the water at Capital Reef with my family, Grandpa Hartvigsen, and grandma Debbie. I like the summer so much that I would like to be in the water all the time and be a mermaid. I also like my whole entire family; my brothers Reed, Douglas, and Isaac and my sister Elizabeth. I love this whole world and Jesus and he always love us, and that’s nice.” Yes, that is truly nice!
Chris didn’t give me a written paragraph of his most memorable moment of 2016, so I get to decide for him (can you hear my wicked laugh?). Actually, if I could guess, I’d say he liked our trip to Yellowstone and the surrounding areas the most. Unlike Isaac, the memory of his bout of boat sickness will be suppressed, and replaced with the awesome views of waterfalls, incredible geographical and geological sites, and of the time spent with a family that loves him to bits. Chris works really hard and takes such great care of all of us. He’s a wonderful husband and friend and we are blessed he is ours.
I say amen to all of the great memories shared by my family. My memory is currently attached to the wall upstairs, and is at the moment labeled, “December.” Many of my own goings on seem to be contained in digital social media. I love, love, love my family. They are my joy, part of who I am, the people who make me laugh, and give me the most smile lines. I know I am so blessed to have them, as well as all of you. Christmas is the perfect holiday and is celebrated right when many of us are committing to make better choices and to live them. Christmas is celebrated because it’s a time to remember the Savior. To remember who he truly IS, why he was born, why he willingly atoned for our sins, why he died and was resurrected. Christ loves me and you and he is here for us all, to comfort and to save. I hope we all will remember this fact and go forward with the comfort and hope this truth offers. Have a Merry Christmas all!
The Williams Family