Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dear Everyone: My Holiday Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

So, another year has come and almost gone and it's time to relieve my guilt over not staying in touch or visiting, or calling or wishing you Happy Birthday on Facebook by catching you all up on our lives over the last 365 days.

Where to start?...?

We began last January with a goal of paying down our holiday debt by March; a worthy goal as of yet unrealized. We did manage to transfer it all to a no interest credit card that will help us realize our goal by March...of 2016. On the financial upside, I managed to save enough promotional stickers at my local grocery store this Fall to acquire two lovely Cuisinart stainless steel pans, and all for doing what we already do, buying food that nobody's in the mood to eat, which forces me to buy more food which gave me more stickers. It's a cycle made less vicious by the shiny new cookware.

Teenagers 1 & 2 are embracing their adolescence with a fervor that were it spent on homework would guarantee a full ride at the Ivy League of their choice. They do pursue their interests with commitment and curiosity which could logically lead to an eventual Assistant Management position at Gamestop or an unpaid internship at Youtube as a "Video Entertainment Tester." To say we are proud would be a thing to say.

Teenager #1 took the brave, and mature beyond our expectations, step and moved to a new school for his junior year. The move has initiated a massive reshuffling of lifestyle which includes our family living apart for a good portion of the week. We have discovered that this is both hard and better at the same time. Initial results yield the following data:

  • Teenagers 1 & 2 like each other more when they see each other less.
  • Grocery shopping for two households is about twice as much fun as it is for one.
  • Pajamas and socks seem to be the number one forgotten item in the weekly packing process
  • Passive aggressive miscommunication increases at the same rate as logistical details
  • Teenager #1 is empirically happier which makes it all worthwhile until the next time he pisses us off
Teenager #2 has discovered sarcasm and is still unlocking the secrets to its comic effects and limitations. He has shown refreshing independence in adjusting to his freshman year in high school, is arguably more mature than the rest of us and will likely be taking over the world as long as no one messes with his free time or takes his Doritos. These strides can obviously be attributed to superior parenting skills, and Husband and I are eager to take full credit for his success and achievements since that is why we had the children in the first place.

Husband continues to work hard at his dream job, cultivate his sense of guilt and obligation, exercise patience with an imperfect wife, perfect his excellence at sleep (which conveniently helps with cultivating his guilt), indulge his uncommonly acute and delightful sense of humor even when no one else is in the room and take abundant pride in the fact that he washes and irons his own work shirts, a task he assumes absolves him of doing any other laundry or changing the sheets on the bed.

And as for me, well, given the above, could I be any happier? Who has time to know? Am I right? Seriously, I continue my search for the Holy Grail of jobs that allows me to perform, direct, write and knit, pays me a living wage, gives me a ridiculously inappropriate end of the year bonus and sends me to exotic travel destinations at least twice a year. If you know of any openings, you know where to find me. On the personal side, I am maintaining my on-again-off-again relationship with cleaning, I am consistent in my yo-yo parenting-having moments of inspirational clarity worthy of a guest spot on ELLEN counteracted beautifully by moments of staggering incompetence worthy of an appearance  on any talk show aired by Fox or the CW. I've lost 17 pounds while still enjoying gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, salt and processed foods which makes me a poster child for absolutely nothing. To sum up, I feel blessed and restless, motivated and tired, panicked and zen; in a word I feel human, wonderfully ambiguously, cluelessly human.

And finally, Family Dog is still adorable and finds comfort in eschewing the conventional store-bought doggy memory foam bed in lieu of the wide variety of piles of clothes which, luckily, can be found in every room on floors and chairs alike.

So, as you can see, with the joy and contemplative call of the holidays, we all keep our priorities firmly in line and look forward to relaxing days with each other marked by erratic yet predictable spikes in stress from the togetherness to which we have hitched our holiday wagon.

I will close not by wishing you Happy Holidays as that ups the ante of the potential pressure cooker that is this time of year. Instead I wish for you presence, perspective, a kick ass pair of shoes and an appreciation for the courage each day requires and each one of our unique ways to unleash that courage(which, for me, conveniently, usually involves a kick-ass pair of shoes.)