Kukla Christmas Letter 2017
Kukla Christmas Letter 2017
Greetings from the Boise Kuklas!
Its that time of year – I sit down and decide I cannot delay the Christmas letter one more day (though last year I wrote it on the 22nd so apparently, I actually COULD delay one more day this year). But since I am not, let’s move along already…
Boise Kukla Family Picture 2017
Warren is running cross country, playing soccer (a little less this year but still his favorite), preparing to explore Track and Field, on the Science Bowl team (and loving science in general) … and he is playing in three different bands both alto and tenor saxophone. The kid keeps himself busy but mostly he is relishing the diversity of middle school and all that it offers.
Elizabeth continues to play soccer and piano, but I think her true love is theater – she writes, directs, set-designs, and performs all manner of home theater productions. She is also the mother of the house and every bit as capable of running it as Caroline and probably quite a bit more so than me. She had some strong opinions about the 2 months it took me to actually fix the light in her room.
Meredith is doing gymnastics and violin, and quite happy to be a hermit. She has an incredible self-reliant streak to her and a force of will without equal (and that’s saying a lot in any branch of the Kukla family). My favorite memory of Mere’s year is when night rolls in and its pre-sleep reading time she picks about a dozen books… and she will read every single one of them if you let her.
Danielle is playing soccer and watching her is like listening to The Flight of the Valkyries. She is ready for kindergarten, and we are really ready for her to be in an environment that will tire her out more. (No, I’m not joking. REALLY ready.) This is a year of willfulness (alongside her exuberant joy). The whole family is committed to breaking her will… er, was that comment too real?
Caroline and I are plugging along. I knew in early fall that I was going to work too much this next “program year” and Caroline has handled that with flying colors – how she keeps the household running, the kids at everything on time (actually we have maintained being that family that gets places early somehow – a credit to Caroline), homework done and tests studied for (gotta love spelling lists), working full-time still at Allstate, and volunteering in multiple places… I don’t know. Maybe she has one of those time turners like Hermione Granger. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Mostly I think its just that she is awesome and I’m grateful to be partnered with her in all things.
So as this winds down what I find myself reflecting on this year is responsibility, hope, interconnectedness, gratitude… inputs and outputs.
Not one of us is a product of ourselves. Every single one of us is who we are because of people around us, investments that have been made in us by family, friends, community, government, creation as a whole that feeds and breathes us (flashes poetic license to avoid being arrested by the grammar police). We often say phrases like “it takes a village”. And that is when we think about how we raise a child. But today I’m thinking about how that means we are beholden to a village. Thousands (millions) of people past and present (and plenty still to come) have done things that have gone into forming who we are and what we know and what we capable of doing. We have been invested in by members of this thing called life. Inputs into our very make-up from soccer coaches and music teachers, playground companions and your annoying little brothers, the street sweeper, the mail carrier, and the police officer. People all over the place are making efforts on your behalf, and while we carry no literal debt to them… we are indebted to them. Family, friends, teachers, co-workers, neighbors, strangers. The multitudes of hosts – earthy and heavenly – who have helped input into us our character, skills, and the very stuff of life.
So, what do we with all of them? Given all that input… what are our outputs? Given all that people have done – seen and unseen, knowing and unknowingly, on accident and with intentionality – how are we grateful and how do we live from that gratitude as actions (our outputs) become their inputs?
This is what I think about… because in three days I will celebrate a child who is born among us. A child I will call God-with-us whose life is ENTIRELY dependent upon us. And whether or not you make that same faith claim at the beginning of that thought, we all have to make that claim at the end of the thought. Life depends on us, as much as we depend on life. In all its myriad facets and factions and fascinating interconnections: we are all both deeply in debt to life and deeply responsible for fostering it. And in and through that all is woven gratitude. So this is what I reflect on as something of my “grown-up Christmas wish”.
I am grateful for my village – and my children’s village. I am grateful for you. May I choose in this year to come to live from that gratitude for you and with you.
Merry Christmas to all – and to all… a good year.
Grace and Peace,
Andrew and The Boise Kuklas