Holiday Letter 2004

(Photo credit: Microsoft)

Oh no! Oh yes! (Depending on your point of view.) It’s that time of year again!

The Top Ten Things We Learned in 2004

10. Generation-crossing moments can hit unexpectedly. Hailey signed up for baseball camp which meant she needed her first mitt. She didn’t want anyone to put her name on it so Marjie dug out her own childhood mitt and showed Hailey the faint letters where Grandma Barbara had written “DeWilde.” Suddenly, Marjie realized that the two gloves were exactly the same size. As her eyes teared up, she carefully lettered Hailey’s name on the same finger in the same direction. Some moms get mushy over jewelry; Marjie chokes up over a chunk of leather.

9. On the other hand, some ceremonies aren’t meant to be. Anna’s preternatural fear of getting her head wet makes every bath time traumatic. When her hair was long, it was particularly horrible because she shrieked during the entire washing and combing process. Her hysterical cries of, “I no like that!” every time we mentioned a hair cut prohibited the obvious solution. Finally, after yet another harrowing hair washing, David had had enough. He yelled for the scissors, grabbed her long ponytail, sawed it off, and threw it away. The good news was that we could calm her much more quickly. The bad news was that it was an hour before we realized that we had missed her first haircut.

8. It’s never too late to see someone anew. A few days after one of the nice teachers at daycare had fixed up Anna’s chop job, Marjie and Anna were painting. Anna was concentrating. Something about that brown color just wasn’t working out right. Her brow was furrowed; her lips were pursed. A shock of recognition surged through Marjie. It was forty years ago, and she was sitting next to her little sister Barbara Kay.

7. Good parents shouldn’t try to explain everything. Hailey opened with, “My bottom smells like poo and pee.” Being a good parent, Marjie said, “That’s how most bottoms smell.” Hailey replied, “Not Lisa’s.” Alarm bells ringing in her head, Marjie should have stopped there, but she persevered, “How does Lisa’s bottom smell?” “Like sandwiches.” To this day, Marjie cannot think of an adequate reply.

6. Some things about this world are simply wrong like the fact that your mother’s ashes come in cardboard while your pet’s ashes come in a handcrafted, wooden box carved with a pastoral scene and a little brass nameplate. We’re thinking of putting Shan’s ashes in Flapjack’s box. She’d have gotten a kick out of that.

5. Cats may be smarter than dogs. After David’s sister Trish died, her cats Harley and Bentley needed a home. So far, we haven’t noticed that they’re much different from Flapjack. They destroy whatever’s on the floor, they cry to go out, they want to be petted, they beg to be fed, and they wake you up in the middle of the night for unfathomable reasons. They are marginally trainable, but they do have one clearly superior instinct. They run from the kids.

4. We need a bigger garage. The situation is getting desperate. We now own four cars, one race car, one trailer, one motorcycle, one Barbie car, three boats (one deflates), three bicycles, one Victorian bicycle, one unicycle, two children’s bicycles, one tricycle, and one wagon, all of which we have managed to park safely – until recently. David has started building another boat necessitating one boat’s eviction from the garage to the front lawn. And while David may successfully argue that this is legal, Marjie fears junkers in the front yard of her future.

3. Cousins can share a little too much. Kaylee and Wesley came to visit us in June. Since Hailey and Kaylee were the same size, swapping clothes was inevitable. We didn’t know how far it had gone, however, until Kaylee said, “Hailey, pull up your pants. I can see my underwear.”

2. Don’t make up non-existent references. For years, Marjie has been quoting the fictitious “Mommy Book” every time she wants to make a rule that she doesn’t care to explain. Her most common citation is, “Mommies get to go to the bathroom all by themselves; it’s in the Mommy Book,” as she flees down the hallway. One day, after getting especially annoyed with Hailey, Marjie threatened to toss her out the car window. “You can’t,” Hailey said. “Why not?” asked Marjie. Hailey replied confidently, “It’s in the Mommy Book.”

1. Sometimes you count your blessings by their absence. Anna was sick this year, so sick that she didn’t have enough energy to walk the length of the hallway and had to rest in between attempts to crawl into our laps. After an unending litany of doctor and hospital visits, no one could tell us what was wrong. We decided that we would be happy if it just went away even if we never knew what it was…

We are happy.

We hope that your holiday season is as happy as ours and that you remember to count all of your blessings.


Marjie, David, Hailey, Anna, Harley & Bentley


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