Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas 2010

News from 2010: right here. News from today? Yeah, tree's still up. Christmas cards (soon to be Candlemas cards?) still not sent. Yeah I should give up but some have the kids pictures on them and they would be obsolete next year, groan... TLC

It has been over a year since Cecilia was born, a beautiful year full of little milestones,
small tumbles, and “big girl!” praises. Plenty of time for a mother to get back into her
college clothes. I should be writing this Christmas letter, now, easily in single digit
splendor. Right? Of course right! Goaded on by the example of elastic women who
snap back to high school jeans postpartum (oh you SO know who you are!) I have found
my way—irregularly regularly—to zumba class. Now I have explored all the local
YMCAs, tried out all the new machines and equipment (though I leave free weights
alone)… and they work and all. I’m also influenced by the female’s primal fear of
growing spherical from the bonbon-ish life of stay-at-home moms (we didn’t want
to tell you menfolk, but I must confess we spend our days arranged on our favorite
armchair whilst wrapped in snuggie with hot beverage). But there is nothing like dancing
idiotically with a group of imperfect strangers to get you out the door on a frigid rainy
morning, deposit your beloved toddler to acquire the germ du jour from child care and
muster all your false enthusiasm to exercise in a foreign language.
I swear some ladies are only present to show off how perfect they already are. A few
moms too. And some bravely fighting off the onset of the golden years. One such
individual of Neapolitan decent, known for being… er… of an inverted pear shape, (i.e.
gifted in the accoutrements of lactation), has taken upon herself the task of motivating
all those younger than 35, an age she has easily doubled or nothing. In the midst of
executing some especially bizarre native African dance, she will suddenly turn to you
and shout the following phrase: “Youra gonna die! (oh she totally does add the “a” at the
end!) Have fun! Look at me: I don’t giva sheet! (by which she is surely referring to a
type of bed covering. This proclamation is followed by said lady continuing the required
shimmies with an alarming zest.
Other typical mornings for me include attendance at MOPS groups (Mothers of
Preschoolers), writing (I’ve picked up articles here and there for the diocesan paper, The
Rhode Island Catholic), and the eternal task of cleaning the house whilst caring for its
greatest adversary: the resident toddler. I have been experimenting with different mind-
altering drugs since my diagnosis of RA, which goes nicely with Crohn’s in my auto
immune collection; while searching for the most effective, least dangerous meds, I also
am researching whether I should ideally eat anything beyond boiled chicken. Annemarie
and Claire have been enjoying 3rd and 1st grade, respectively, as well as their sports,
theatre, and music endeavors… a usual afternoon scene will have one child dribbling a
basketball in the living room while the other executes pirouettes around her sister, baby
cackling while following behind. Annemarie had her First Communion in May of this
year, a very joyous event. Dan works without incident in Providence, and has now been
with his company for four busy years.
One of my less inspired moments this year involved parading Claire through a (deep
blush) beauty pageant. Somewhere in the middle of teasing the third updo out of my
daughter’s tender scalp while sneaking her into her fourth outfit in a hotel room full of
curling irons, whining girls, and anxious mothers… sanity returned. That and being
approached by moms who, without going through the trial of exchanging names or
hometowns, launched into a litany of the laurels of their little one (Are you alliterated? :)
One particularly painful memory involves a parental figure tugging around a four year
old girl dressed somewhat like a female Michael Jackson (“natural” and “beauty” were
merely hypothetical suggestions, apparently); another was a six year old singing “I’m a
Barbie Girl” for her “talent. How did I end up there? While under the influence of
pregnancy hormones, I had done “baby modeling” with Annemarie… until I realized I
had better uses for my time than hoping my all-dressed-up baby would nap in the car to
be perky for the photo shoot she’d decide to poop during. While I was very much “over”
this momentary madness, Claire felt badly she had not had similar press … particularly
when Annemarie had gotten to be in the Heritage Ballet Nutcracker performance Claire
was not old enough to participate in. So I found a “natural beauty” pageant that touted
building character, and no makeup or outlandish costumes… when it was actually just a
less obnoxious human cattle show, with a panel of judges determined each child’s value.
Hard on both kids and mothers. One poor bewildered pageant mom had chattered
nervously to me about her daughter’s dance routine the entire night, as we shared a
folding chair backstage for brushes and bobbie pins. After the award ceremony, I found
myself patting the back of this stranger as she wept that her daughter didn’t win.
Meanwhile, Claire was behind me, exhausted, in tiara and sash reading “Cinderella Tot,”
carrying a huge trophy and gift bag of prizes, and receiving the glares of disappointed
moms and girls alike. In retrospect, I’m completely ashamed of the whole bizarre
experience. Check my Facebook for all the pictures! J
So this year has not been without its challenges. Dan and I are being stalked by Michael
Buble, for instance. There have been an uncanny amount of times when we’ve been
out at a store, in the car, pumping gas when the radio starts: “I’m not surprised, not
everything lasts, I’ve broken my heart so many times I’ve stopped keeping track…” We
look at each other, say “Noooooo!” and laugh with increasing notes of hysteria. As in
all events in my life, I try to find meaning and purpose…so I ask myself, "What great
meaning do the lyrics 'I Just Haven't Met You Yet' hold for me?" So here we go, let’s
see, what hasn’t lasted this year… infancy. Babies grow so tragically fast. I always
try to appreciate the little moments. Broken hearts… nope, not this year, thank God.
Families are pretty well, grandparents healthy enough, relationships all intact. Perhaps
a paean to the Beatific Vision? I mean this world is great and all, but it's a vale of tears
compared to our hoped-for-afterlife....yes, that's it--it's a song about our longing to see
God face-to-face! That, no doubt, explains his repetition of the word "love" later on
in the song. And they say pop music has no spiritual depth! Next up—a reflection on
spiritual meaning in the songs of Usher--stay tuned...
We are so blessed with and grateful for friends far and near (yep, that means you!)
That’s our overview for this year. We look forward to hearing yours. I’ve been terrible
about keeping in touch, but if you call or write we will eventually respond! Hope and
pray you all are well, feel free to return the favor. :D All things considered, be well, do
good work, and keep in touch. ;) Oh yes, and don’t give a sheet.
God bless,
The Dancauses

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