As you may have noticed, this year’s letter is very late. We could make lots of excuses. Some of them are even valid. But the truth is that we’re procrastinators! At any rate, here it is…
The Top Ten Things We Learned in 2001
10. Buckle up for safety! We’ve said this a million times, whenever we put Hailey in her car seat, high chair, or stroller. We didn’t know the message was getting through until the day Wesley, our nephew, was in the garage giving sit-down skateboard rides to Hailey and our niece Kaylee. Poor Hailey was having a lot of trouble staying on. She finally dragged her car seat up onto the skateboard, sat down in it and waited for Wesley to push. Well, at least we know she listens.
9. Don’t trust a husband who suddenly remembers the checkbook. David has devoted hundreds of hours to surfing websites and reading classified ads in his search for a new car. After a few years, however, Marjie decided that he would never actually buy a car. Little did she know. We were out for a family drive when David casually mentioned that we weren’t far from the Subaru dealership. They had called that morning to tell him they had one of the new Subaru WRX Imprezas in stock. These cars were so limited that you couldn’t test drive one unless you intended to buy it. “Too bad,” I said, “We didn’t bring the checkbook.” “Yes, we did,” he replied. An hour later, we were the proud owners of a hot, new, racy car. Marjie’s head is still spinning.
8. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We now own six cars, so David promised to sell his 1990 Nissan 300ZX. The only problem is that he wants too much for it. He sees a beautifully cared for, excellently maintained, stylish sports car. Marjie sees a high-mileage, over-raced, sluggish engine that blows so much smoke when you stomp on the gas that it took a panoramic camera to frame the full plume. And we won’t even mention the tin can riveted over a hole in the muffler. Anyone interested?
7. It takes a lot of tests to become a teacher. Marjie is working on her teaching credential. Besides a full year of school, she has been astonished by the number of tests she has had to take. She is happy to report that she has now passed the CBEST, GRE, MSAT, RICA, and U.S. Constitution tests. Registration fees and study guides for all of the above cost over $600. Marjie sincerely hopes that the California state legislators are happy with her qualifications and that the testing companies don’t invent anything new.
6. Time flies when you’re having fun. David’s mother Shan hasn’t been well. In August, she was hospitalized for over a week and then transferred to a convalescent facility until she was well enough to go home. It was a long, difficult time for all of us, but apparently not as long for Shan. At one point, she said, “But I’ve only been in here for a week.” No, Shan, it had been 18 days and it would be 3 more before you went home. But we’re glad the drugs they gave you worked so well. And we’re glad you’re finally home.
5. No one tells you the real parenting skills. Like most first-time parents, we (well, Marjie) read the books. But they left some things out. Like how to concentrate on driving with a screaming child kicking the back of your seat. Or how to attend two birthday parties in the same day. We have also learned how to cook dinner with a 25-lb weight attached to one leg, how to catch a ball thrown at point blank range, and how to safely play jump rope in the house.
4. Like father, like daughter. One of the drawbacks to having six cars is that one of them is always dirty. During warm weather, David can be found washing a car just about every day. Hailey loves to help him. She specializes in the tire brush. Then one day, she absolutely insisted on going outside. Why? “I want to wash my tricycle,” she said.
3. Retirement is grand (again). In June, David finally retired! He had two goals, teach Hailey to swim and regrow the lawn. Six months later, Hailey had completed her swimming lessons and David had put in not only new sod, but a sprinkler system as well. Maybe this time the lawn will survive a new baby.
2. Appreciate miracles. Yes, we did say “new baby.” It’s a girl. She’s due in May. We had a 1% chance of conceiving her, even with infertility treatments. When we count our blessings, both of our children top the list.
1. Kids say the darnedest things. There Hailey was, sitting in Marjie’s lap for the thousandth time, when she touched Marjie’s face, and said, “I make you happy, Mommy?” Yes, Hailey, you make Mommy very happy. Her favorite moment is when she hears you padding into our bedroom for a morning snuggle. It’s a wonderful way to start any day, or season, or year.
We wish you the best for the holidays. We hope that your new year contains all of the joy of our morning snuggles. There’s nothing better in this whole world.
Marjie, David, Hailey & Flapjack