Monday, December 26, 2011

Twenty Christmases together

  • 1992: Arrived home from BYU late on Christmas night. Met at the airport by my family and the recently returned missionary I hadn't seen since August 1990.
  • 1993: Married to that returned missionary, spent Christmas in Logan with my grandparents and other extended family. New husband promptly contracted chicken pox from my two little polka-dotted cousins.
  • 1994: Our first Christmas tree. I made ornaments out of salt dough and paper. My parents had moved to Salt Lake and we spent time with them in the condo where they were staying until they found the home they now live in.
  • 1995: We lived in Wymount Terrace. G gave me two zebra finches, whom we named Kirk (the chubby one) and Picard (the thin, cerebral one).
  • 1996: We visited Fairbanks for Christmas. I mainly remember his parents' dog as a hyperactive young thing, massive quantities of chocolate, and long, snowy walks and drives in the dark of Alaskan winter.
  • 1997: Arizona with G's family for Christmas. I got a beautiful brown velvet formal dress (still in my closet) and G's grandma said to me, "Where on earth are you going to wear that?" 
  • 1998: We spent Christmas in Colorado with more Shaws and experienced Pearl Street in Boulder as well as the Infamous Chinese Restaurant Centripetal Force Incident. (Think lazy susan.) I took care of a couple of adorable little nephews and some lights in my head turned on regarding adoption.
  • 1999: We lived in Minnesota with our four-month-old son, who loved the lights on the tree and would coo at them excitedly. We realized the guy G was working with in pursuit of a Ph.D. was an A-1 jerk and packed up and headed back to Utah.
  • 2000: First Christmas in our little pink house, a condo in Salt Lake City. After Christmas, we spent a few nights in a cabin in Escalante with my family, then visited G's extended family in Arizona.
  • 2001: We received a Christmas basket from our ward, which kind of perplexed us. I think it might have been because someone asked me about the costs of our two adoptions, I told them the honest answer, and they were flabbergasted, probably wondering how we could even afford to eat after spending that kind of money.
  • 2002: G's grandpa passed away in Arizona on Christmas Eve. We made a really insane trip down there for the funeral with two very small boys.
  • 2003: First Christmas in California, where G was again pursuing a Ph.D. We spent that whole December raking up yellow leaves from two huge mulberry trees and feeling a little homesick for snow country. G was struggling as the only sort-of grad student at UC Merced, which was so new he couldn't even be enrolled yet . Friends generously paid me $50 to sing at a Christmas party for their employees. We were pretty much desperately poor and needed every drop we could get.
  • 2004: I made UC Merced gingerbread men and excitedly gave gifts to my new co-workers. And had that embarrassing incident wishing my Jewish colleague a Merry Christmas. I also had daycare woes. G finally had some other grad students to keep him company.
  • 2005: S came up with some excellent Yuletide Funnies. I made a failure of pumpkin fudge, thereafter known as pumpkin sludge.
  • 2006: We got an artificial tree for the first time ever. Canceled an Arizona trip because we had a four-week old foster daughter who needed a court order to travel out of state. She played Baby Jesus in the family Nativity play. Joy.
  • 2007: We got a Wii and respiratory flu. The furnace broke and made us glad, momentarily, to be renters. We got the news that the county was going to try to take Z to an illegal extended-family placement after more than a year in our family. We were delighted by the recent verbal explosion of K, age 3, who had joined us in June of that year.
  • 2008: We still had four children, and after months in court we had a lot fewer worries. I enjoyed being back home with my kids after four years working for UC Merced. G and I started working on applying for jobs for him as a Ph.D. Z really enjoyed a cinnamon roll.
  • 2009: After the stress and chaos of our move to Montana, I almost didn't find my Christmas mojo in time for the big day. But we strung some lights and unpacked the decorations and rejoiced in being in our own home with a new job and four children all officially ours.
  • 2010: A beautiful and sacred Christmas at home. We'd had some tough things happen in the fall, but the upside of that is that our hearts were humble and open. I coordinated a donation for the homeless shelter from the church. G completed his first semester as a professor.
  • 2011: I planned a ward Christmas party, posted a Christmas song a day on Facebook, changed our gift focus from toys to family activities (snowshoes!), and made sugar cookies with my daughter for the first time. 
It's been twenty years since I spent a Christmas without the delightful, surprising, smart, hardworking, wonderful guy I love, the man I now call Dr. G. I hope I never have to. We have been up and down the roller coaster, for sure, but this Christmas I would say we are better than ever. We have a wild little family. We have stuff to work on. But we can do it. Bring on 2012.


Karen said...

Loved this, Ana :) Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Karen/AP board

Tonya Kubo said...

What a wonderful chronicle...thanks for sharing the memories, Ana! Oh...and the new design rocks!

Mama Christina said...

That's Fantastic! I'm amazed at your collective memory...