The Christmas Tree is up. The mistletoe hung. The vodka-laced Egg Nog imbibed twice hourly. Yup, tis the season although it really can’t be declared official until you get through reading the annul dissertation covering all things Humphries in the Year 2009. Well, now that your kindly mail man has seen fit to deliver this parchment into your mittens, it’s time to stoke the fire, settle down into your favorite easy chair, pour yourself another glass of that nefarious nog and enjoy this little spin through our own special fantasia. As with every letter we’ve sent before, everything you are about to read is for the most part, true, save a little embellishment. It shouldn’t be too hard to spot the few spots that I’ve pumped up for maximum enjoyment. Without further adieu, I present the 2009 Humphries Family Annual Christmas Letter.
First up is Aria Leigh, who in 2009 received the call up to the major leagues and joined her big bro Colin in formal schooling. In September, Aria finally realized those dreams she’s had the past few years when accompanying Colin to school by enrolling in a preschool classroom of her own. While we feared the long gone separation anxiety might rear its head, Aria proved us all wrong by taking those first steps into the classroom, well on her way to blossoming independence, and never looked back. She absolutely loves it and as a side bonus, she has the same teacher that Colin had two years prior. While she’s continued taking swim lessons at the Y and scouring the pool at every opportunity hoping she’ll finally spy a singing crab or friendly flounder and fully realize her dreams of morphing into the Little Mermaid, our own princess added another activity to her dance card, enrolling in a popular dance program in the area. She is now on her second year after having performed in her first ever recital this past June – where our beautiful ballerina vaulted from the stage and straight into her parents’ hearts. Next stop – Dancing with the Stars. Oh, how I pray she doesn’t get paired up with Carrot Top, again.
Colin took another big step by moving up the ladder to first grade – a brave new world that eschews playtime in favor of MCAS preparation. Yup, he’s already had his first official test (a spelling test which he aced) so that’s another milestone down. In addition, he’s officially hanging in the dreaded realm of homework and despite some initial reservations at having to do more school work when he retires to home, he’s acclimated nicely. Of course, the time-tested battles that erupt between parent and child wages within our walls from time to time, especially on those occasions where he would rather add R2-D2 to C3P0 than 10 to 5, but then there are times where his homework asks him to pick any number and then count back by 5’s from it to zero, and he decides to choose 900 and then proceeds to make good on the promise. Somewhere around 465, we give him a pass, knowing there’s dinner to be made. In addition to joining Aria in weekly swim lessons, Colin also moved on up to a bigger bike right around his birthday. He was so excited to have a “big boy bike” – one that he promised to take extra special care of. Of course, the first time we headed out as a family to let the kids ride on their new bikes and enjoy a fine Spring Day, a rogue thunderstorm crept up on us, prompting Colin to bail from the bike, tossing it to the ground at the first clap of thunder. He also took that moment as the opportunity to shout “YOU DON’T TAKE VERY GOOD CARE OF ME!!!” at us for our apparent transgression in daring to bring him outside when there was even a 10% chance of inclement weather. Of course, that wouldn’t have been so bad had he not issued this stern proclamation within shouting distance of the annual Deadbeat Parent Awareness Spring Picnic.
Now we come to Andi who continued her Herculean feats by tossing a part-time waitressing job atop her jam-packed schedule that includes running the household, food preparation, child chauffeuring, singing at St. Josephs Church in Charlton, fairly regular gigs at local weddings and funerals, and making sure that her husband leaves the homestead fully clothed. Andi also followed up last year’s performance in The Sound of Music, by costarring in a local production of Godspell this past May. She has already been tapped for two more shows in early 2010 including playing Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz and she’ll essay a cabaret performance in The Love Boat. Next Summer, the Gateway Theater company is producing Beauty and the Beast, which she is currently pondering auditioning for – with the caveat that she can bring along her own personal Beast. And here I thought I was a shoe-in for Belle.
Finally we come to Ed. Heading into the year, one of my primary goals was to drop a few pounds in a bid to get healthier. Short of adopting the latest H1N1 fad diet that’s sweeping Hollywood, I was able to subtract close to 30 pounds in roughly 8 months through simple dietary changes and curbing my rampant snacking. With that mission accomplished, I eagerly look ahead to 2010 and brazenly declare it – “Year of the Donut”. That said, my 2009 donut deprivation allowed me to join alongside Andi as we both competed (and completed) in our first ever triathlon. In fact, it was our first ever athletic ANYTHING!!! Andi originally joined on board and then somehow suckered me into signing on too. (I swear she’s drugging my Mini-Wheats). Well, despite our mild trepidation at running, biking and swimming a combined 15 miles or so, we awoke one chilly September morning, dove into the cool waters of Wallum Lake and never looked back. In a year colored with a career setback, it was a major accomplishment – made even more memorable by the fact that we did it together.
And that’s where we stand at the end of this year. As our lives hurtle forward with reckless abandon, it feels as if the holidays and hence this letter come all too swiftly. As most of you know, I joined the legion of unemployed in the second half of the year when my position was eliminated in a staggeringly brutal series of cuts that rocked my company – and our industry. That said, while the job hunt continues, I’ve been able to mine the positive from this situation – realizing that it has afforded me that rare chance to plug into my family’s daily life and stand alongside them as they hit some significant milestones. The ability to help Colin with his first round of homework, or walk Aria to her first day in Preschool, or watch them both scamper throughout the playground as they forge new friendships is one that not many people get the opportunity to grasp – and I feel richer for the experience. Andi and I both believe that good things happen to good people so our outlook on our future is as bright as our life is bountiful.
And it’s a wonderful life simply because it holds the joys of good friends and family – the type of riches that never decrease in value no matter what impacts the economy. As I write this letter, we are two weeks away from Thanksgiving and I am hankering for those magic days that begin in late Autumn and stretch forth into the New Year. We are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you and for anyone we may miss in person, we wish you only the best and warmest greetings.
From our family to yours… Merry Christmas!!!