What a year! It began with an exciting Superbowl win.
I feel like ending the letter now. Lol.
Let’s skip, hop, and jump over the elephant/s of 2020 and just talk about all the changes in our family this year.
Roy was deployed for Kuwait in March and will be back in mid-January. I have to say that the timing was perfect as there was really nothing else to do this year. Our family’s biggest fear when he gets deployed is not his safety (sorry!). It’s knowing that he will be alone with his thoughts. We have no idea what grand ideas he will be daydreaming about. One deployment, he insisted on our family starting a shrimp farm. A shrimp farm!! In the mid-west. With a family that hates shrimp. I had to crush those dreams real quick. This time, he is dreaming up plans for our family to live completely self-sufficient. That is at least better than a shrimp farm. He is divvying up jobs among all the big kids in the hopes that no one really notices how many jobs he has out in the field. Well, I NOTICE!
After losing my job due to one of the elephants, Matthew and I started doing Instacart and Doordashing to make money for all the kids’ activities……that all got canceled. SO, I spent my money on redecorating the house – new counters, painting, new bathroom, new carpet, updated pictures, happy sh*t on the walls, etc. I took up drinking this year. I’ve been trying to be a habitual drinker for years but failed repeatedly. I’m better now. I knew I got to a good point when I was trying to break up a fight-to-the-death brawl between 2 of my boys and Mary Kate yells, “MOM!”. I look over and she is handing me a glass of wine. I stopped cold, grabbed the wine and drank it while the boys continued their carnage. My homeschool moms would be proud.
Nick lost one job but quickly found another. Audrianna has been able to work from home all year. I hope home jobs are going to be a new norm after this experience.
Mary Kate lost her Camp Barnabas, Special Olympics, and T-Ball. She talks about missing it all the time but I tell her she is fine and she is happy. All I have to do is tell her how she is feeling and then she agrees and feels how I told her to feel. Lol. Why can’t that trick work on all my kids? What a gift. You should be jealous.
Samantha lost her job and moved back in until she left again for NET in August. She travels the country, putting on Catholic retreats for High Schoolers. She’s been to 22 states so far. She loves it even with the challenge of plans changing unexpectedly. She is meeting great people and having independence from her family has really helped her gain confidence and grow spiritually. She snagged herself the finest young man I have EVER met a week before she left for NET. I pray that relationship stays strong during her missions. She will be back permanently in May.
People still needed their lawns mowed so Max was able to continue earning money. He graduated from the Fire Academy and just has his EMT test to pass before applying for jobs. He is so excited and my impatience to get that done is wearing him out. I feel like my job as a parent is complete after he passes that test! He is dating a girl that we’ve known for several years in the homeschool community. She is one of 11 children so I’ve already been one-upped. Literally.
Theresa lost her job (can you see a trend?) so she stole her brother’s identity and started Doordashing with Josie. We will have fond memories of passing each other on the road and having Doordash competitions. I kept her home from St. Michael’s for her senior year because I didn’t want to waste money where I foresaw most days on zoom calls in her bed. It was replaced with homework and stupid YouTube videos in her bed with a bag of Cheetos nearby but at least its free. She also snagged herself a boyfriend that she can surprise Daddy with when he comes home.
Ben made the lead role as Tom Sawyer in his Theater program but it got canceled. He took it well but that may have been because I sobbed for days to make up for the both of us. He got a job at Chick-Fil-A and he was only 14. Impressive. It’s good to know people. It is very good for him. He says “my pleasure” ALL THE TIME and he can’t stop. He finally gave up trying to not say it so much and embraces the habit. He has to walk a lot outside with a basket of food in whatever the weather is – cold, rain, etc. But that’s ok. It’s all for the good of our health, right? <insert eyeroll> Ben began an all boys academy for High School. He goes twice a week and “does his homework” on the other days. We are working on that homework issue. Saying, “wait till your dad gets home” didn’t do the trick the first semester. Now he is scared out of him mind because he WILL be home 2nd semester.
Josie is 13 and has been such a blessing. She cleans, plays with the kids, does her homework – sometimes she finishes while I’m still in my PJs and eating breakfast. She pays attention when I teach no matter how boring it is. She is always happy. Never sad. She is an amazing friend to her friends. We all tell her to stay exactly how she is. Don’t change! Her volleyball team came back together and went from a season that couldn’t win a game to winning 1st place in their pre-season tournament – with the same team!! Is that even statistically possible? Her teammates loved each other just as much as the year before. No drama. Just sweet girls that wanted to be together win or lose.
Matthew had a big year. He knows all the restaurant employees in Raymore because he in the face of Doordashing. He keeps them all up-to-date on his progress with saving a buying his first dirt bike (& 2nd & 3rd). He started going to different dirt bike tracks in the area. He wiggles and giggles and speaks incoherent nonsense as we drive to another track. After disappearing on the track for long periods of time, he comes back for a quick 30 second rest and we lock eyes and smile. We don’t have to say anything. We both know - he is having the time of his life. He says, “I love you” more times than I can count when we are at the track. I converted our 12 passenger van into our camper for volleyball tournaments and dirt bike track days and overnights. It doesn’t matter if we are sandwiched between $50K toy haulers/RVs, we both are perfectly happy with my make-shift, 1999 Ford 12-passenger camper. We watch a movie together and fall asleep in our warm sleeping bags and propane heat lamp nearby.
Andrew made 3 new friends this year – one we picked up at a garage sale. Lol. He’s a popular kid. He’s just as loveable and sweet as he has always been. He and Juliana are nearly inseparable. Juliana is sad when Andrew is gone. They are little buddies.
Overall, our family has gotten closer whether we wanted to or not. We maneuvered around the crap that surrounded us, like shopping in a county without a mask mandate and finding a church that snubbed their noses at the mandates. We tried to turn lemons into lemonade as much as we could. It was difficult but at the end of the day, we all had each other. I physically hurt for people that are lonely. Being broke can and does hurt but nothing is more painful than loneliness. Our family does not have that. We can each have alone time by force – hiding in a closet or a car. But a lonely person can’t force the household of loved ones. I pray fervently for the 99.7ish% of the people that were ignored this year. God bless them.
God bless you all.
God bless our country.
The Christys – Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew, Andrew, Juliana and Mom & Dad