For the first time in ten years, I did not write a Christmas poem.
(Cue the sobs or cheers depending upon how you feel about Christmas poems.)
Before you get too excited or depressed however, please remember you’re reading this which constitutes something perhaps worse. Or better.
That’s right: The Holiday Letter.
Why a letter? Well, I loved last year’s poem so much I didn’t think I could match it. Also, 2013 was just plain weird and there aren’t a lot of rhymes for Landlady from Hell. Or Insurance Adjuster. Or Fire Truck. (Trust me on this one, okay?)
‘Twas three weeks after Christmas when in our garage,
Some flames started cooking and – Dang. Nothing rhymes with garage, either.
(Now, if you’re thinking ‘barrage’ does. Ha! Julie really dropped the ball on this one, well. You’re my kind of people.)
I didn’t want to belabor the challenges of the past eleven months but I couldn’t completely ignore them, either. The whole fire ordeal was too big and too long and too much. So. I decided instead to make two lists: One for things that changed for us, one for things that didn’t change. At least not much.
What Did Change:
- Our garage door. And our roof. And the driveway, my car, and everything inside our garage and basically the entire garage because it was gone.
- Our exterior paint and stucco (much to the chagrin of our Home Owner’s Association) and also the interior paint and drywall and our flooring (which the HOA doesn’t care about).
- Our electronics and beds and pillows and cushions and anything that needed to be plugged in or turned on (don’t giggle) and our curtains and shades and stuffed animals and lots of books.
- Our address. (For five months while they rebuilt our home and we rented the house of the Landlady from Hell. Go ahead. Try to rhyme it. She won’t let you.)
- Our perspective.
This last one’s tricky. We were already a pretty grateful family but WOW did the fire give us a quick booster shot of HERE’S WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT IN LIFE AND GUESS WHAT IT’S NOT STUFF.
(But you knew that already, didn’t you, Smartypants?)
What Didn’t Change:
- My crow’s feet and gray hair, dang it. They’re still here. I blame the writing. (I’m not sure why, but let’s go with it.)
- Bill’s work ethic. (Someone has to make money while I make gray hair and crow’s feet.)
- Karly’s height. (Sorry, Baby. I think you’re stuck at five feet tall but at least you’re the sweetest person who ever lived.)
- Jack’s sense of humor. (Sorry, Baby. I don’t know what one snowman said to the other snowman* but at least you’re the most hilarious person who ever lived.)
- Our unending love for our friends and our family
and for these two
and these two
who now look like these two
and for you and for each other, multiplied by forever = all the math I care to do today. Or forever.
So in the end, the things that matter didn’t change. We’re still here. We’re still good. We’re still imperfect people trying to be better. And in 2014, we will keep trying. And trying.
May this New Year bring you all the Changes you wish for and the Not-changes you need. (And the wisdom to know the difference. Or something like that.)
With much love (multiplied by forever),
*“Smells like carrots.” Duh.