Merry Christmas everyone! It has been difficult for me to make up a Christmas wish list this year because I feel like we’ve been so blessed. Some blessings in 2015 were obvious, others were harder to put into words, but I will try.
The Gift of Courage: Going into it, we knew that Leslie probably had the most to lose this year. We knew that we would be building a home—in a different town. Leslie (14) took it like a champ. Instead of moping around the house with no friends all summer she made two very courageous choices. She decided to attend Girl’s Camp with the teens in our new neighborhood before we moved in, all strangers but soon friends, and also to join the MMHS Marching Band as a freshman for summer and fall. It was a tough regimen and a steep learning curve for her, (there were many tears on the hard days), but she loved it, stuck with it, and recently commented to me that the band was really her backbone this year during the transition. She is so grown up.
The Gift of Peace: There were some touch and go moments as we were planning the logistics of our housing. We had a few months of uncertainty about where we would be living if the house didn’t get finished on time. I am usually an insomniatic stress case about such things, but for some reason I had full confidence the entire time that everything would work out wonderfully, and it did. I consider this a spiritual gift of some significance. The peace has just continued all year and I am loving my stage in life at home (in my new home).
The Gift of Joy: Luke (3) is home alone with me this year, and he is one fun kid. He keeps us laughing with his big personality and big voice. (Who knew, with his heart defect—now doing great—that he would more than make up for it with an extraordinary lung capacity?) Although he occasionally demands that we pick up the kids from school before it’s even lunch, usually he is a great companion to my daily activities. My favorite is that he loves to sing (yell) at the top of his voice when we go grocery shopping. Nonstop, broken-record, full-blast. And it’s usually something very non-toddler like, Darth Vader’s theme song or “The Final Countdown”, brightening everyone’s day. Current fave? “Carol of the bells!”
The Gift of Determination: Macy (6.5) has grown up tremendously just in the last couple of months. She is one of those people who has so many things that come easy to her—school and friends—that she tends to avoid things that are even a little bit difficult. Recently, however, she decided that she was never going to let her room get messy again. I was very skeptical (whooey, you should have seen it before…), but she has set her mind to it, putting away her things every night, and it has been vacuum-ready clean for about a month now. She is now usually the first one to get her chores and piano practice done. She has also made a commitment to not lose her Irish temper (letting “Anger” take over, thank you Pixar’s Inside Out!) and is doing admirably.
The Gift of Hope: For over a year now Cooper (8.5) has had an all-consuming love of football. He practices constantly to the point that I have to tell him to take off his receiver gloves to eat and sleep. He adored his flag football season and also watching the BYU games with Mark and Boston. He asks us regularly if he can play high school football (yes) and college football for BYU (well...), reiterating that he doesn’t care about pain because he has had so many cleft-related surgeries anyway. Lucky for us, Mark pointed out that he is a really great sport and doesn’t get too upset if his team loses. (I am so thankful for a husband who sets a fabulous example by keeping an even temper.) Other great loves? Peanut butter and math. He includes gratitude for learning new things at school regularly in his prayers. The future is bright.
The Gift of Love: Boston (10) is the first one to give me a hug at bedtime and when we wake up. He has really enjoyed making new friends at school and even little friends in our neighborhood—he likes to be a helper for the 2-year old across the street and surprised us by volunteering to watch him during the sister’s birthday party (apparently they also needed a little help with pin-the-bow on Hello Kitty—it’s a tough job...) He and Cooper are pretty tight and Luke adores him, but he also ventured out on his own this year with some new things, playing Mustang League baseball, flag football, and a robotics/programming club after school that he begged to do, loving it.
The Gift of Motivation: Mark surprised me this year by announcing he was “changing his story” about not being a fix-it kind of guy. Our new home has an unfinished basement and he has really thrown himself into the construction work, learning the skills bit by bit from YouTube, friends and mentors (who also lent us tools), and I think he has surprised himself even by really enjoying it. Work is going well at Rocky Mountain Mortgage, and he loves his team and clients.
We wish these gifts and many more from our Savior to you this year! Love, the Days