Mother is a Verb

Mother is a Verb

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2009

In the first month of ’09, my true love refused me… start-up funds for my new company.
Throwing caution to the wind, I pointed to him, declared “You’re It!” and cashed in my life insurance. The fact that the policy would have paid some poor slob over a hundred thousand dollars a year to do what I have done for free the past twenty was mildly offensive…but not nearly as insulting as the pittance with which it rewarded me for surviving all of those hazardous years! Nevertheless, it was a start.

In the second month of ’09, my true love shook with jealousy… when my attention was devoted solely to my brand new company.
Imagine finding out that not only are you not the father of the new baby, but she turns out to be the most demanding yet! To top it off, home-cooked meals are a dim memory, clean clothes a virtual fantasy, and the mention of date night produces a guffaw.

In the third month of ’09, my true love prevented me…from hurting some admissions grunt for rejecting strumming, crooning, high school bound Nicki.
When the anticipated acceptance letter from Denver School of the Arts was nixed due to a last minute decision to cancel the guitar program, I had what some might refer to as a Phil moment (minus the vein). Thus it was quickly decided that Nic would make a damn good double bass player. And I wonder what the hell I was thinking as we load the 6 foot instrument in the back of my Highlander every ^$%&%^# morning.

In the fourth month of ’09, my true love made a plea… “end the eight consecutive weeks of school break revelry”.
Not one to be dissuaded by the lack of a vacation fund, Cam ponied up scads of allowance savings (i.e. about forty two bucks). With a little help from Mom, and a lot more help from Dad, he & I spent his spring break road tripping from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to Connecticut to New York to Pennsylvania. As a last hurrah, we treated my brothers’ family to the pleasure of Cam’s company while I unselfishly sacrificed one final weekend of parental bonding for the demands of my annual Girls’ Weekend. We did our best to challenge the world Bananagrams record, while supporting dairy and grape markets from France to California.
In the fifth month of ’09, my true love was set free… when graduation ended our indentured relationship with day school, Graland Country.
After 27 total tuition years, we were rewarded with…a six second mention at the graduation ceremonies. Oh yeah, and an alumni giving appeal that arrived in the mail the following week. But in an effort to ensure us that at least he was still pursuing higher education, Cam informed Phil that he had learned a new “bad word” tho’ he wasn’t sure what it meant. Even Phil was stumped on how to explain to a nine-year old a simple vocabulary word spelled “H-O-R”.

In the sixth month of ’09 my true love waved good-bye to me, as we headed east for summer
A month alone, (or actually not so alone) in the bay house gave Kristen the laughable notion that the house belongs to her. She had a rude awakening when the rest of us descended in late June, and challenged her and Jeff to play Housus Interruptus. Of course now that she is practically a full-fledged nurse, she or one of our family members have suffered from a rash of life-threatening illnesses ranging from a latent TIA to an enlarged (and possibly ready to rupture) spleen, severe hypoglycemia, as well as her personal favorite-a big ole neck goiter.

In the seventh month of ’09 my true love had good company…when Kevin stayed home, supported Subway, the Rockies, and generously worked for free.
Kev began the college exploration process by kindly informing us that it really wasn’t any of our business where he applied to school. Hmm, I guess he has a full-ride scholarship he’s going to surprise us with. Meanwhile, Will earned enough money directing to cover nearly all of the ATM fees he incurred during his freshman year in NYC. Apparently, in New York, they charge you a fee not only to withdraw money, but also to just fantasize about withdrawing money. And for those of you who don’t know Will, he has a very rich fantasy life…

In the eighth month of ’09 my true love bared his chest quite gleefully…after months of lifting he could show off - finally.
After devoting numerous workouts to preparing his body for the display opportunities of daily boat excursions around the bay, Phil was bitterly disappointed to find that the more money spent making a boat sea-worthy, the less sea-worthy it was. By the time said boat was repaired, it was time to dry-dock for the winter…and pay our next installment on the maintenance-free guarantee.

In the ninth month of ’09, my true love sighed with ecstasy…when MidChix launched and he thought I just might make a little mon-ey.
Then I found that the only thing being a stay-at-home mom had in common with being a stay-at-home mom with a full-time job was that they both paid nothing. Nevertheless, I love my new status as Chief Chick, and have learned more than I ever imagined (including the fact that people who get paid the most, usually do the least). While I have chalked it up to “live and learn”, my personal banker, Phil, continues to be saddled with “live and lend”.

In the tenth month of ’09, my true love gave to me… a trip to the local room of Emergency.
When October found Phil doing ten pull-ups too many, and ending up in the ER, we realized that life had become far too stressful and that it was time for a major change. After much in depth discussion, we made the joint decision to switch to screw-top wine. Things have improved dramatically since then. Though Phil was a bit put out when cleaning out the fridge he discovered my emergency supply of two snack size containers of chardonnay hidden behind the Joint Juice.

In the eleventh month of ’09, my true love gave to me…the dubious but highly-prized present of a super-duper squeaky clean alley.
November got off to a good start when Daylight Savings ended and we got an extra hour sleep. Things continued on a positive path as membership on MidChix grew, Kevin was accepted at Tulane, and Phil had multiple opportunities to use his commercial grade leaf-blower. Then, I began a ten-day East Coast trip at my parents’ house, and that was the luckiest thing I ever did. After complications from surgery the following week, my Dad was moved into ICU on Thanksgiving, and we lost him ten days later.

It may seem contradictory to say that the past two weeks have been both the worst and best of my life. There are few things worse than losing a loved one. But having the opportunity to hold his hand, tell him I loved him, and honor his memory is the greatest privilege that I can imagine.

In twelfth month of ’09, our family sends its wishes for warmth, love, health and peace to you and your families. With love, Gretchen, Phil, Kris, Will, Kev, Nicki & Cam

PS. If you are 40+ and female, please join (if you do it before 12/31, you could win a free flight on Frontier). If you don’t do it, you could be removed from the Christmas Letter List. ☺

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