By Joanna Owusu
I always enjoy reading end-of-year letters from friends near and far during the holiday season. And after a year that was a bit of a poop show, a letter has begun to take shape in my head. A letter that lays it all out there…the no-make-up-Facebook-challenge of holiday letters, if you will.
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Greetings of the season, etc. etc.
I’d like to mark the end of the year with a few reflections. Dear hubs changed jobs this year, leaving the lucrative but soul-crushing financial sector for a job at a nonprofit where he feels he’s making a meaningful contribution to his community. We miss small luxuries like nice dinners out and carefree shopping at the mall, but it sure is nice having Daddy home before 8 p.m. and on the weekends.
Another highlight for the hubs was a ride on one of those electric scooters seen all over urban landscapes. He hopped on a scooter to zip a few blocks to a meeting…and hit a bump that landed him spread eagle on the sidewalk with a dislocated thumb (and a completely severed thumb tendon, we later learned). Surgery, cast, and physical therapy later…it shall henceforth be known as the $5,000.00 scooter ride.
The injury led to many questions from friends and strangers. Feeling a bit sheepish about the whole debacle, the hubs was simply telling folks he’d torn a tendon in his thumb, conspicuously failing to mention the ill-fated scooter ride. Not to worry, I took it upon myself to spread my gospel of scooter safety with any and all, including the drive-thru Starbucks employee to whom hubs was telling half-truths.
Our sons are in the midst of a season of change, with one approaching middle school and the other entering middle school this year. Our boys enjoy school and are embarking on this time of transition with grace and fortitude. But the smells – OH, THE SMELLS – coming from these preadolescent boys. And how the hormones are raging. Our sons have a lovely crew of friends, but I keep noticing them staring slack-jawed at my chest. After three children, I can sling the old girls over my shoulder like Santa’s sack, but apparently they’re still a wonder to behold.
Our precious three-year-old has really blossomed this year. We’re so impressed by her growing vocabulary and ability to express herself. She shares elaborate stories about the adventures and pratfalls of preschool. And, wonderfully, the F-word has finally dropped out of her vernacular! She still delights us every day with her colorful language. Thanks to her older brothers, she replies to any “Where is…” question with a tart “Up your butt and around the corner!” From the mouths of babes.
A quick update on the sweet dog we adopted last year. He’s become an irreplaceable part of the family, capturing all our hearts. He’s also taken to digging holes in the backyard, with a favorite spot right off the back patio on the way to the carport. I managed to step into one of his holes and twisted the holy hell out of my ankle (reference: our daughter’s familiarity with the F-word). I limped for a month. Good thing he’s cute.
I continue to enjoy my freelance work, and we all appreciate the tens of dollars it adds to the family coffers. I’m savoring this time with the kids, all too aware that it’s fleeting. I also remain convinced that the dog won’t stop digging booby traps until I’ve broken a hip.
Wishing you all health, happiness, and supportive undergarments,
About the Author
Joanna McFarland Owusu is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. A federal government analyst in a former life, Joanna now spends her days wrangling two not-so-little boys and a toddler daughter.