Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

2006 Year In Review: From My Family to Yours

For years I’ve fantasized about sending A Family Newsletter.  I usually rush to craft ours shortly after reading yours.  I love the warm feeling I get when I receive your news, so much so, I’ve developed a ritual of sorts, making sure I have a warm cup of something, glasses, and proper lighting when I curl up to read your words.  It’s an event  I look forward to each year.  But to date, I’ve yet to complete one.    

It always starts innocent enough, recounting highlights of the past twelve months.  Then somewhere along the second paragraph, the writer labeled as ‘enigmatic as Jonathan Swift’ by a former English professor too polite to call me a smart-alec (or worse!), hijacks the keyboard, and begins twisting stories for her own wicked pleasure.  She cracks jokes and shares shocking information about herself and those she loves.  She speaks of herself in third person.  She’s quite annoying, so much so, her work ends up on the wrong end of the delete key.

I haven’t figured out how to properly candy coat my life, so I joke about it instead.  I can’t talk about highlights, without mentioning lows, or recount joy without remembering sorrow.  Every sweet memory of laughter reminds me of angry words carelessly slung, which then reminds me of reconciliations, lessons learned in humility, and how we as a family continually strive to learn to love one another better.

I so want to tell you about how proud we are of our oldest son and leave it at that, and about how cool it is that he lives in paradise (Oahu), and that he’s fit, and he’s happy, and he’s doing exactly what he ever wanted to do with his life.  We are so proud.  That is the truth.  But we miss him, and sometimes we get scared when we let ourselves think too much about what he does for a living.  He’s training hard these days and is scheduled to deploy in the coming months.  We’re ecstatic that he’ll be home for Christmas for a few days.

I also want to brag about our middle son.  It’s been a big year for him.  He moved into his first apartment, has his first ‘grown-up’ job as a youth minister, and is taking college classes all at the same time.  Did I mention his girlfriend?  I get tired just thinking about a day in his life, but he seems to be enjoying/stressing about it, depending on which day of the week it is and whether or not his car is in the shop.  One cool thing about his crazy schedule is it brings him home a couple of nights a week, and we’ve all come to savor family time we used to take for granted.  I especially enjoy visiting after he and his younger brother get back from youth group.  Its fun listening to them talk about shared experience, and it warms my heart knowing he is his brother’s youth minister.

Can you believe “the baby” is almost 14?  When did that happen?  And what a year of adjustment it’s been for him.  Thank goodness for baseball!  Both big brothers move away, and now he’s stuck with no buffer between him and the parental units.  And me sitting on a baseball bucket in catcher’s gear is just too sad of a picture to paint at this stage of the game, so when his older brothers moved out, I hooked him up with a new pitching coach.  He loved it.  He played for a new team this year, and had a blast.  We all knew he was into baseball, but who knew he’d turn out to be such a stud on the football field?  Last year, they sent him in when a starter needed a drink of water.  This year, he was starting center, and after grades came out, starting linebacker to boot.  The team as a whole pretty much sucked, but that actually worked out for him getting to play defense.  A lot.  He loved it.  Should I worry that he had so much fun hitting people?  I have to say, it was quite a rush hearing my kid’s name called out time and again over the P.A.  It kind of took the edge off being the oldest mom and consequently the only mom in the stands not wearing a belly shirt and hip huggers designed to show off belly button rings and angel wings tattooed across the lower back. 

When you have two people in the same house with the same first name, it’s difficult to do a clean segue without doing the ‘little’/‘big’  thing.  Or as we like to say, Heavy D and D-Lite.  And since Big and Heavy no longer apply to my husband, I’m not sure how to do it come to think of it.  Nevertheless, here goes: The spousal unit, implemented a wellness program for his employees this past year.  And it worked out for him.  Within a few months, he along with his employees dropped many lbs.  I must say he’s looking quite dapper these days.  It’s been a busy year for him, and we’re all looking forward to the holidays and a little down time from the frenetic pace he keeps.

As for me, 2006 marks the year I finally took the plunge into full-time freelance writing.  Oh.  And homemaking.  It’s been fun and scary.  I feel like a kid in the candy store writing each day and actually getting paid to do it.  I feel like a Martha Stewart/Rachel Ray reject when I try to clean and/or cook, and I wonder, is it really necessary for me to learn these skills at this point? 

One ongoing event in our family is the daily battle my mother-in-law is engaged in, as she fights to regain her health.  She’s been hospitalized since July 10th, the majority of that time in an ICU unit.  At this writing, she is still hospitalized, and we continue to sit vigil and pray for an end to her suffering.  Through this experience, we’ve been reminded of the blessing of good friends and family, the power of prayer and good medicine.  We’ve been hanging out in the ICU waiting room for so long, I kid you not, the chaplain asked me to come interview with him once our ordeal is over.  You know you’ve been there too long when they offer you a job!

Like I said, I haven’t figured out how to properly candy coat life, so I joke about it instead.  Nevertheless, with or without sugar, it is our life and we are grateful for every moment and every memory we make.  And we are grateful for you and the place you have in our life.  So, from our home to yours, we wish you a holy Advent, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Carpe diem y’all, Michele

Copyright © 2007 Michele Bernard



November 29, 2006 Posted by | Blogroll, Michele's Musings | 2 Comments