Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Christmas Letter

I wrote this spoof of an annual Christmas letter last year, after receiving one too many Christmas letters from distant relatives summarising the perfect events of their perfect lives with their perfect families.

I didn't send it.  Obviously.

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, another year has flown by, and it’s time to reconnect and share our news with you all. And since I’m really too busy to write personalised notes to those of you who I don’t contact regularly, everyone, even those really close friends and family who probably already know all my news, are going to receive this standard letter with my electronic signature on festive paper, that I hurriedly wrote at work while the boss was in a meeting.

The year started off with a bang, literally, when our oldest, Rebecca, crashed into a tree while learning to ski on our family trip. Although she suffered a concussion, she had no broken bones and was a real trooper. So far, no long lasting effects of brain injury are evident.

After Hannah’s first birthday in February, it was time for me to return to work. I was actually looking forward to escaping the chaos of a house full of 3 girls under the age of five with their daily whining and arguments over whose princess toy was whose. I figured that work would be somewhat of a vacation since it is easy to get away with looking busy at the office while not really doing anything productive at all.

Being a working mom again is difficult, although I revel in the challenge of balancing my professional, intellectual self with being a caring mother, cook, house-cleaner and laundress. I deal with the stress mostly by eating a lot of sweets and baked goods, knocking back a couple of glasses of wine each night, and lazing away the evenings in front of the television. My face may be getting more wrinkly, my hair more grey and my figure more rotund, but Greg says he still loves me, as long as I’m happy.

While we would have loved to have the girls return to the day care centre in the neighbourhood school, the spots were full. The cost would have been prohibitive anyway, so we ended up with the most reasonably-priced nanny we could find. The girls really like her, probably because she lets them get away with nearly anything, doesn’t make them tidy up (she doesn’t do it either), feeds them lots of McDonald’s and sweets, and lets them sit around and watch soap operas with her all afternoon.

Greg is as busy as ever at his job. He took on a new management role in May with a large team of mostly young women. While he often has to work late, and has even taken a couple of overnight business trips, he loves coming home to the family and tries not to be too grumpy with us. The women he works with are very nice, often staying late at the office with him to give him massages and help him relax. He is keeping in excellent shape; he frequently goes out running and plays in a football league every single weekend too.

Hannah has grown so much over the past year. Now 22 months old, she is just about ready to potty-train. She is also sleeping in her own toddler bed for at least a couple hours of the night. She also really loves waking us up several times a night, just to be tucked back in her blankets again. Hannah is saying many words, and even some partial sentences, such as “Hannah awake, back bed, please”.

Rebecca and Leah have both been enjoying lots of recreational activities: swimming, ballet, gymnastics, and trampoline. While Rebecca seems to excel in ballet, Leah loves gymnastics and trampoline. That she continues to fall off the balance beam and trampoline will not deter her. Hopefully by the time she is 4 next year, she will be better coordinated and less bruised. Unfortunately, her instructors have told us that it looks like she will be too chubby and uncoordinated to ever pursue gymnastics at more than a recreational level.

Rebecca started Senior Kindergarten in September. She really enjoys sitting alone at the craft table, and doesn’t seem to mind that the other kids laugh at her when she talks about the stars she sees in her head and the bumblebees humming in her ears. The teacher says that Rebecca is a pleasure to have in class and not to worry, eventually she’ll learn to focus her attention and figure out the sounds that the letters make.

It seems that I’ll have more time on my hands come the New Year as I was just let go from my job. Apparently, using company resources and time for personal use is frowned upon, even if you don’t think anyone has noticed.

Well, that wraps up the highlights of 2011 for the Hargrove family. I wish everyone a joyous holiday season and all the best for the New Year. And while I hope that we might do a better job of keeping in touch in 2012, I know that the next time I will probably even think of most of you is when I print off your address labels for next year’s letter.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Average Working Mom

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