This is my latest crazy Christmas letter . . .enjoy if you can. I am emailing because I a. do not have your address /am not sure of your address and b. am out of time, patience, stamps, cards, etc. We love you all though, and a blessed 2008!!
Dear Family and Friends,
It is currently the feast of Madre de Dios de Guadalupe. And I have one Christmas card. This card is from our parish church. After glancing covetously at my mother’s mantle, and sulking and pouting about _all_ the friends I have, and that _no one_ has yet sent me a card, I remembered that I do not send my Christmas cards out till late January.
Well, at least I caught myself in this slight imperfection. Of course, I know you are all waiting impatiently for my missive, and all our news, and I have to disappoint you there: I have not one witty thing left for this card. Guys, between ISI essays and lesson plans, I am basically all typed out.
Enough. How can I waste my once a year chance for a dramatic monologue, after which I may bask in all of you thanking me for my card, and saying how much you laughed, when you are really thinking “She has got to be the weirdest person. This is a Christmas card, not an opportunity for self-aggrandizement!” Ignorance is bliss, my friends. Ignorance is bliss.
Let’s see what I have left after a full day teaching, followed by what we call “The Umbrella Song” being blasted on the car radio. (You see, the Civic’s tape player doesn’t work, so we must resort to easy listening sometimes. Thus, my daughters have become acquainted with the lyrics: “You can stand under my umbrella . . . Egg! Egg! Egg! etc.” And if this weren’t enough to make sanity a dream of the past, my daughters were begging me in the car, “Mom, what are we going to do today? Can we do three nice things?” (i.e. Make a snowman, have a bath, AND push the button on the blender.)
Well, here goes anyway . . . okay, news for this year . . . in the spring, I began teaching at Greenwood Montessori school, which has all the positive attributes and none of the negative attributes of my former Montessori teaching job. My boss is not only sane, but thoughtful. The school is wonderfully organized, in new condition, and with every material that one could desire for teaching children. I dream up a lesson, and she hands me the materials. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am so grateful (if so busy!) Annemarie will go off to first grade in the fall, but for now both are with me, and enjoying “Miss Katherine / Mom” as head teacher.
During summer break, my brilliant husband and equally intellectually-endowed moi decided it would be relaxing and oh such fun to drive to Florida in July, see family and Disney, and drive back. This illusion lasted until North Carolina, when our van’s a/c broke. Such a great time was being had by all that we drove straight—24 hours—from RI to FL. There we did see family (which was lovely), and did see Disney (along with tens of thousands of our closest friends), taking comfort in the fact that our tickets were free, since my uncle drives Disney buses. It was, all in all, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. I hope. Next time, we’ll save up for years to take the plane . . . I’m sure my kids will appreciate Disney even more in their 30’s anyway.
Other travels included a trip to Maine with family on the occasion of my father-in-law’s 70th birthday, and going down to Virginia for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We three Dancause ladies were in two weddings this year, and have the dresses and pics to prove it. Now, if only convention dictated that Christmas emails were as acceptable and desirable as Christmas cards, I would include digital pics. As it is, they are locked in my computer, and to print them out and enclose them would take till late February, as opposed to late January, which is when my cards normally arrive, and we can’t have that. But the pictures are lovely, really. The other wedding was for my best friend since high school. I was maid of honor (I refused to be a “matron” on principle; all I can think of when I hear “matron” is a round-faced, apronned dame . . . can’t do it), so I got to give a speech, which was fun. I seem to like those. Who knew?
Besides being in two weddings, we were also unexpectedly blessed with two godsons this year: Casimir Tobias and Gideon Rhys. (Each of these adorable little beings were the third son of great Rhode Island Catholic families who do not know each other, and each of these godsons have two older brothers bearing Old Testament names: Casimir’s are Nathan and Jonah, and Gideon’s are Noah and Elijah. I’m sure this has cosmic significance, though I have not yet figured this out. Thoughts?) Caz and Gid are likely to be priests, and surely to be saints.
Other than mom and godmom, I have about a million side jobs, primarily teaching and writing . . . currently I am doing the latter for John Zmirak of ISI. My editing work allows me to live vicariously in academia as I research various colleges across the nation and fight to remain faithful to the tenth commandment . . . I really would love to be a professional student! But I also (most of the time) love being a working and stay-at-home mom while being the primary educator of my children at a school. I love most the time I can be in my little house on Ingleside, with dear Bertha and Fred helping me out (who are, of course, my dishwasher and my waist-high steam-heat radiator.) And for those who knew her, Penelope, my faithful pothos plant, just celebrated her 14th birthday. I watered her in celebration.
For his part, Dan regularly leaves at 8:30 on weekday mornings, and returns at 6 pm. He tells me he works for GPS Investment Advisors in downtown Providence. Among other tasks, he travels about giving meetings to “talk to various types of blue collar employees about the necessity of using their company’s 401k plan.” This is highly ironic. While home, he is commonly seen to do laundry (as, most sadly, my back strain cannot handle that particular task), and cooking (as, equally unfortunately, the idea of combining spices and ingredients annoys and frustrates me to no end.) I do, however, clean, lest my female friends disown me here . . .
Oh yes, and I have the smartest, most charming, cutest, beautifulest, most exquisitely personalitied, wondrously behaved, most thoroughly Montessorily-educated children. But being uncompetitive by nature, when you tell me about how Natasha is the best whirling dervish dancer in her preschool class, has award winning fingerpaint murals, and really is just a whiz at chemistry, I will smile silently and be polite. No, I don’t talk about my girls much, I just know . .. you know when you “just know”? Yeah. It’s kinda like that.
If you are extremely fortunate (and I can find and purchase suitable photos within the next 48 hours),, you will be receiving a photograph of each of my children enclosed in this envelope. If you are not so fortunate, send back the “Try Again” slip in 30 days, and I’ll see what I can do for you.
My children, due doubtless to the modest sanctity of their parents, have great spiritual scope as well. Recently, they handled—with flying colors—the inevitable topic of death. On the occasion of the demise of a beloved goldfish, my children started asking about mortality. Claire, with her coloratura speaking voice (it is naturally VERY high-pitched) and lisp sagely reflected, “Weww (Well), some people are died, but we aren’t died!” I , as casually as possible, noted, “No, but everyone dies at some time.” Annemarie was disturbed by this, and said, “But how does God keep us awake [alive]?” Again overcome by inspiration, Claire thought and said, “Weww, He gives us soup.”
I see we are well past the acceptable length of a Christmas missive. So I will leave you with a Dancause blessing for the new year: May you have at least three nice things to do today. May you have friends with umbrellas for the falling eggs of life. And may God keep you amply supplied with good soup.
Katie, Dan, Annemarie and Claire