(Cliff’s notes version: Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!)
Dear Family and Friends (who include all of those we love, like, and can endure respectfully for at least a day),
The self-inflicted pressure of writing a Christmas letter has driven me to my basement lair with a large diet coke and an extreme yearning for chocolate. No chocolate means a lot of staring at the almond colored wall 3 feet in front of me.
Like a person who has to say out loud what they are looking for until they find it, I must review this year’s calendar to remember what we’ve been up to for the last 12 months.
Let’s see, according to January Reed & Douglas turned 16 (and if you know how the Gregorian calendar works, that means next month they’ll be 17!) To continue, someone went to the dentist, something about dry-cleaning, wrestling, and making cupcakes for something.
I drew a lot of hearts on February, more dentist appts., dance, karate, band, etc.
OK, I’m no longer focused on the almond colored wall and the year is coming back to me. Besides two of my kids turning16, they also got glasses and drivers licenses, and for some reason my acid reflux meds aren’t working like they used to. Baby A. and B., as the ultrasound lady first introduced them to me, are now taller than me and can sing way lower than I can. Reed joined track again and got into throwing the javelin. After we cut down our maple tree, I found him trying to carve one of the branches into a javelin, or spear --same thing. Baby B., aka Douglas, is one of our 3 karate kids and earned his second-degree black belt this summer – Hiya! I remember that I was so happy when my thoroughly exhausted son didn’t mind giving his mom a hug in public. Of course, I was then covered in at least 3 hours’ worth of sweat, so hmmm…
In March I have marked “girls’ fieldtrip to hospital.” If I hadn’t also written “bring lunches” in parentheses, I would have thought this was just another case of “humoring the hypochondriacs.”
April had its beautiful daffodils and clumps of colorful tulips. In our church ward, Chris was called as the Elder’s Quorum president –a busy calling, but spiritually rewarding. Sadly, in the Spring, Chris’ grandpa Stilson passed away at the age of 94. What a kind and wonderful man, and a great example for his family and friends of how to live a joyful and good life. Is it weird that the phrase, “they don’t make them like they used to” comes to mind when we think of him?
In May, our two youngest, A. and B. (part the second), Miriam and Elizabeth, turned 8 and were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Their two of older brothers, Reed and Douglas agreed to baptize them. It was a wonderful day and a treat to have so much of the family there to witness the sacred ordinance.
I also see that in May, our middle, unique, and the only one who got his own space while in mom’s uterus, had a band concert. It was not a surprise when he chose do percussion. Since I seem to be inheriting my dad’s hearing genes, it’s not too bad for me.
In June I might have gotten older, but it’s hard to recall…uh, what were we talking about? Ballet recitals, a return to warm days and water sports. July brought the official entrance into the teenage years for Isaac, 13! The symptoms that come with these years still only show up in moments of stress and when someone else ate the last hot pocket or peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.
July and August were soooo hot and all those lovely gardening plans I made in June wilted, unlike the weeds. A couple trips to Island Park, ID for me and the girls, kept us cool. Reed also made a trip up there to help Uncle Dave and Aunt Jodi work on their cabin. One of the highlights of the summer for Chris, our boys, Chris’ dad, and their cousins, was a trip east to visit a variety of sites from our church’s history. We have an awesome picture of them in front of the Nauvoo Temple as well as a humorous one of 5 teenage boys and to adults squeezed into our 7 passenger Suburban. Thank goodness for windows, AC, deodorant, music and audiobooks, especially while crossing Nebraska. You’ll have to talk to them about more of their experiences.
September…dentist, school, homecoming dances (dating—a frightening side effect of turning 16), oil changes, band concert (…and that’s Douglas on the trumpet!) …Oh, and I started my part-time job as the computer lab lady at my girl’s elementary school. I love all those kids, but the 6th graders would have a hard time fitting into my “can endure respectfully for at least a day”-letter category. A happy shout from across the school of “Merry Christmas!” might be about all I can manage on some days, but then they might have the same opinion of me, hmm.
October, the month I made Isaac a mostly complete Gandalf the Gray costume, which I finished on Halloween afternoon. The night before he was therefore forced to go to our Trunk-o’-Treat as Randolph the Red, Gandalf’s much more stylish roommate.
November! Thanksgiving in St. George whose residents all seem so smart in the winter, but not so much in the summer (I fit that category several times in my life as a St. George resident) …renew vehicle registration, Dr. appointments. Chris aged. He’d been doing so all year, but I don’t think he realized it until he played pickleball with his sons and nephews. I’m sure he doesn’t remember, but I have the feeling his subconscious self was looking for the shuffleboard while waiting in the drinking fountain line. Nah, he’s quite the racquet ball player, and this was the first time he’d played pickleball.
December, at last! Dentist, no really, Isaac had a cavity. Also, a month full of hope, and a reminder of the wonderous things about life, filled with kindness, charity, love –and most importantly, the celebration of the birth of the person who most embodies those qualities, Jesus Christ.
A month by month review of this year, both in its simple and not-so-simple moments, reminds me of how important and wonderful life is and can be. It’s the daily experiences not penciled into the calendar that are also of great value. The hugs, kisses, kind things, learning moments, sad times, hard times, family, friends, and lots of love, are what makes every day count.
“As we Seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always.”—Thomas S. Monson
Lots of love,
The Williams Family (Chris, Becky, Reed, Douglas, Isaac, Miriam, and Elizabeth)
P.S. Sorry this is so long. I know after getting into the habit of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, anything longer than 3 sentences can be taxing on us. Glad you made it to the end of this epistle!