Kukla Christmas Letter 2019
I need to start calling these Kukla New Year’s letter because its been years since I got this done before Christmas… and frankly I’m barely going to beat the new year in. Years ago we stopped sending Christmas cards from the hundred and fifty we used to send every year. We called it “going green” but it was also about the growing number of things to get done during this season with kids, year end close (Caroline), and Advent and Christmas things (Andrew)… so it was the best of both worlds. This year we actually got picture Christmas cards for the first time since then… I think we should rename them Valentine’s Day cards though… because we haven’t even addressed them let alone gotten them in the mail yet. And yet the world turns – and its all ok.
2019 was pretty much that kind of year… Warren added a fifth sport team to his repertoire when he joined the Wrestling team, “why does that matter to you dad, you’re not on the team” he says like we don’t have to drive him to everything. 1 year and counting until we have a driver in the house! We mostly had a good year…
W took more summer school (to get both semesters of US history done) so he could take AP Human Geography this year. Its weird to imagine a world where freshman are taking AP classes.. but here we go. And wrestling has been a revelation. Warren is 0 for 15 (he actually has one win by default when there was no opponent in his weight class) but he keeps at it. He has never asked to quit. He isn’t sure if he will do it again. But for now he is putting his all into it. That’s the revelation.. because that’s the kind of ornery dedication that this world needs. And when he kicks it in – he really can do almost anything.
E is loving her GATE class at her new school and thriving. I have to keep reminding myself that she is only 11… she is really like 34. She is the youngest kid in our youth group (middle school and high school combined) and she totally won the Bible trivia competition because that’s E. When I went to pick her up from a week of Outdoor Science School the first thing the cabin mom told me was, “I LOVE Elizabeth. She is the most drama-free girl I have ever met.” She is also a total mom. Last night Caroline and I went out to have dinner and drinks at a friends house. Elizabeth: “When are you getting home, last time you stayed out until 12:30!” And yes, you guessed it. She waited up for us to get home.. again. E turned into W’s opposite. He over-programs and she loves to create lots of alone time in her day. She has worn through yet another swing because she spends hours a day on it listening to music. It’s a beautiful thing to watch your kids be so sure of who they are in process of self-discovery.
Mere is theoretically making the shift from cello to violin, she has turned into a voracious reader, and it probably won’t surprise you that her teacher was like, “so… she is good at math.” Math is clearly the constant of our kids’ scholastic adventures. M continues to do gymnastic but with a steadfast refusal to join the team. She just has no interest in competition… I continue to be amazed that she is the most athletic of our children in many ways and yet the least inclined to do anything with that. She also has the best facial expressions… do not earn the look of death from her… you will not survive it.
Danielle is the one we won’t survive. She is kooky, energetic, and just flies into anything. I love watching her play soccer because she literally never stops running headstrong into the fray. In her co-ed indoor soccer she will literally bowl over the boys to take the ball away even when she is giving up a foot of height and about 25 pounds. She is loving first grade… even if first grade spelling lists are the death of us. That may be my next milestone… no more spelling lists! She also still LOVES playing with dolls (and all the girls with legos)… do not walk in our house in the dark… or maybe even with the lights on.
Piano, oboe, sax, flute, violin, cello, soccer, gymnastics, ski team, cross country, wrestling, track, science bowl, honor society, youth group and logos, Sunday worship… the weeks are full indeed… and its all worth it. I thought I’d try something new this year and let the kids add word themselves so, without further ado.
Warren: quoting Rocket Raccoon, “Ain’t no thing like me, except me.” I’m ready for the roarin’ twenties!
Elizabeth: “ On the spot answers aren’t my thing.”
Meredith: “hmm what should I write… oh I know, wait never mind, bye… or maybe, wait this might just work, or maybe not… defiantly not!” (I think she meant definitely…but defiantly is super fitting for the mere-mere!)
Danielle: “I don’t want to do anything… NOOOO don’t write that.” And… he typed exactly that.
As for Caroline and I… we are tired. Good tired mostly, but tired. Caroline keeps plugging away at work and being super-mom at the same time. I had crazy good year with renovation work at church that was a lot of work but went REALLY well and we couldn’t be happier about the end result. Though its never really the end is it?
A decade is closing, a year is over. But tomorrow is no different than today. Its not like anything is over – it’s a marker moment…a line the sand erased by the tides of busy lives in which we are regularly too on the go to stop and reflect. I think that is why I love these letters… I pretend like we are writing for them for you – but its really for us. What stands out, what do we want to mark – even if for only our own sake – and know truly where we are when we get ready to launch into the next step. So here we go… ready to launch. I am grateful for kids who find joy in their own self-expression.. who manage to be so incredibly similar and completely different all at the same time. I’m grateful for how much love they have for each other – and for others. There is plenty that doesn’t go right, and plenty that is challenging, and we have not been unmarked this year by death of loved ones, disappointments, dreams deferred, sleep-less nights… but I see it like those previously mentioned tides… each day we go out our ways, and each day back in together. And that rhythm of togetherness powers with gravitational authority the ability to move through whatever may come.
You are part of the tide – and we are grateful for you as well. Here is to another year of moving in and out.. together.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and wondrous New Year to you all!
With Love, the Kuklas