Below is the text from our holiday letter, mailed out just under the wire this year. After almost nine months of bed rest and sleepwalking through the newborn stage, writing 500 words was my feeble attempt to get back in the saddle. Let’s hope I can transition from a slow trot to a respectable canter in 2017. Love to all!
* * * * *
Dearest Friends and Family,
We hope this greeting finds you well-rested, caught up with your favorite binge-watching television show, and/or sated with an indulgent peppermint pumpkin chocolate treat. We promise that this letter will not be a throwback to 1994, when your parents sweetly prattled on about your athletic prowess or an imminent gallbladder surgery. I am just too tired to sift through 2016 and select the highlights to meet the 30-word limit on most fancy pre-printed holiday cards. And about five of you will want to frame these pictures of our offspring, so we went old school and made a few 4x6s for you.
In a nutshell, 2016 was a hairy and ultimately joyful ride. From January to October, I did my best to have the most miserable pregnancy possible–and on October 2, out popped the cherubic prize. Cynthia “Thia” Martine Pyle completes our family, and we couldn’t be more grateful, more in awe, or more in love. Watching Simon kiss Thia and sing “Five Little Pumpkins” to her wide-eyed, comically pronounced brow rivals any beachfront all-inclusive vacation (wellll…) and makes up for the many months of being tethered to an IV pole at home (truly).
Living far away from family and many of our friends during this time of daunting transition has taught us so much: about human resilience, about learning to say both, “No,” and, “Yes!”, and about each other.
When we first started dating (and until shortly before Simon was born), Kenny drove a 1997 black Tacoma T-100 with a driver’s side door that didn’t open from the outside. One of my favorite parts of each of our dinner date nights came at the end of the evening after Kenny escorted me to my doorstep. I would wave and watch, simultaneously googly-eyed and bemused, as my rugged Hollywood dream boat opened the passenger side door, crawled across the seat bench, and started the engine. He still opens every door for me.
The early days of parenthood, as many of you know, are similarly lacking in glamor–but burnished with a special kind of guileless love. When Kenny folds himself into the bath tub with our grubby three-year-old and a fleet of plastic toys, I know it’s not out of nostalgia or to soak his weary muscles. He’s just made his son exceedingly happy, and he’s just bought me 20 quiet(ish) minutes to nurse our daughter without macaroni and cheese being breathed into my eyes. When he tells me that I, in drawstring pajama pants, look beautiful because I got an extra hour of sleep the previous night, he means it–because I’m more present, more relaxed, more inclined to leave cheesy acrostic poems on our refrigerator white board.
So we’re learning to say, “No!” to overcommitment and lofty housekeeping standards and, “Yes!” to travel/food memoirs (check out Michael Booth’s hilarious “Sacré Cordon Bleu”), easy Trader Joe’s meals (please try their Thai shrimp pot stickers this minute), nature walks in our new neighborhood (we bought our first home!), and ice skating with 40 pounds of fearlessness careening into our pelvic bones (lesson learned: eschew pride and rent the adult helmet). We also embrace you, dear ones, and send you all the joy, peace, and cookies that this season has to offer.
All our love,
Kenny, Katie, Simon, Thia, and Atticus McPoodle