There is something cathartic about the Holiday Letter for me each year. As I sit down to write this (after several – we’ll call them subtle – hints by Val considering the Christmas cards arrived almost a week ago now), I re-visit 2010. What has happened? What was good? What was bad? And what would you want to know about our short little clan scurrying about in the woods of 01833? Everything right?! Well, considering that many of you suffer the burning curse of Catholic guilt, you know you have to read this in its entirety so I will edit for brevity and significance as there will be a follow-up quiz at Easter.
That being said, I present to you the ’2010 State of the Durneys’ which unabashedly includes a hint of sarcasm and a heap of gratitude.
We started the year off with a splash! Swim lessons at the local YMCA for Zoe & Ava! Now this certainly seemed like a great idea at the time and the girls absolutely LOVED it but there were a few things that didn’t occur to me at the time that may have changed my level of initial enthusiasm.
1. We thought the rates were a good deal for 8 or 9 weeks of classes but for some reason, we forgot we had an extra kid (sorry buddy). So our “good deal” didn’t take into account the weekly babysitter we needed for the extra offspring. I was never good with numbers but I think we lost out on that one.
2. The summer had ended and I had already replaced my washboard stomach with my winter fat suit. It did not occur to me that swimming lessons in a pool during the winter time would require me to partially disrobe and that my blubberized body would be visible to the world. This was especially embarrassing when I first entered the pool and it overflowed. Not a proud moment for Daddy.
3. Kids pee (and more) in pools. Enough said. Not to mention the vertigo I developed and the ensuing 4 months of walking into doorways.
So, even though the girls excelled in their class (no doubt a result of their mother’s professional experience as an Aqua Bear herself) and were even able to swim (with the aid of a bubble) to the deep end and back, there were a few personal aforementioned challenges with which I needed to contend.
Overall, the year was eventful for sure: Ava got glasses just like Zoe (now try and figure out who’s who!) and Preston got bit in the ass by Coco (another dog) which required stitches and the dreaded Elizabethan cone. Val added more letters to her name by passing her exam and is now a Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator (CCTC)! Hooray for Val! And wisely sensing a longing for my own lofty letters, Val graciously awarded me a few of my own: PITA.
I was attacked by a large deer and Connor made his first trip to the E.R. (not his last I’m sure considering his incessant inclination to climb things). And to top it all off, earlier this month, Val I went to a movie – in a theater, at night, with popcorn, and Milk Duds and no children in tow. It was the first movie we’ve been to since Chariots of Fire was all the rage. I’m not sure what movie we saw as we both fell asleep but we told everyone it was ‘wicked awesome.’
And then there was Connor – my favorite son for sure. Most of you know of the horrific challenges we faced with Connor’s sleeping patterns. For 16 months we did not sleep for more than 2-3 hours at any one interval – Val even less. But one night in July, he slept through the night. Just like that. Connor decided when it was time – not us. And I reluctantly fear that will be the pattern of control we have over our children for the rest of our lives.
So as we continue down this meandering road of life with seatbelts fastened, there are a few things that we’ve learned and a few things we’ve reinforced this past year:
• Kids are smarter than we give them credit for
• Marriage is not just about love and respect; it’s about communication and remembering the little things (and let’s face it, a little tolerance of the man in the pool)
• Friends and family are everything.
• And the most important revelation of all: you can kiss a dog on the lips. Mmmmuuuh!