Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday News From The Wiles. Or, At Least, The Bits We Can Share.

Julia and Carter, Christmas 2011
Dear Friends and Family,

For most people, today would be seven days too late for a holiday letter. To that, I say, bah humbug. December 31 is actually the traditional seventh day of Christmas, landing it squarely mid-merriment and prime for festive greetings, right? Provided, of course, that I am also serving up seven swans-a-swimming and figgy pudding.

Truthfully, 2011 has been terrific. However, unlike in years past, I can’t tell you much about the kids because:
  1. Teenagers are keen on privacy, 
  2. I respect my teenagers’ privacy, 
  3. Teenagers’ actions aren’t always suitable for publication,
  4. Which is all to say that teenagers’ actions aren’t always suitable.
Still, we made it through 2011 without extended hospital stays or negative impact on “permanent records,” so I’m declaring the year to be success. As Carter says, “Mom, I may not be smart yet, but my stupidity is on the decline.” OK. Hardly a ringing endorsement, but OK.

Carter is in his junior year of high school, so allow me to speak on his behalf: He doesn’t know where he wants to go to college; he doesn’t know what he wants to major in, he doesn’t know his class rank, he isn’t sure of his GPA, and he doesn’t know where he’ll apply. But go ahead and ask him yourself. Every English-speaking friend, family member, casual acquaintance and complete stranger in the tri-state area does. And Carter loves it. Absolutely adores it.

In fairness, he has identified a few criteria. He likes schools with large football programs. He doesn’t like coats, hats, gloves and scarves. He likes schools with a high proportion of females to males. He doesn’t like studying. But mostly, he really, really, really wants to go to college. Otherwise, what would he do? Work? He did that this summer – as a country club lifeguard – and it was really hard. Like, they wouldn’t even let you text while five-year-olds were jumping off the diving board. Isn’t slavery supposed to be illegal in the United States?

Julia is in her freshman year of high school and can now fit in nearly all my clothes and shoes. But “gross.” Except for my boots, heels, and sweaters. On occasion, my jewelry’s not altogether hideous, either. But even so. Eww.

Seriously, Julia is a diligent student, maintaining an absolute focus on the two topics most critical to freshman success – getting her driver’s permit and finding a dress for the next dance. And shoes. Really fabulous shoes. That no one else has. They don’t have to fit. They just have to look good. Tossed in a corner of the floor. Because no one actually dances in shoes. How could you not know that?

I guess I ended up with the biggest news of the year. Cougar Bait (David Bonner) took full leave of his senses, giving me a surprise birthday party and then, proposing. Marriage. Silly him. According to all accounts, I didn’t draw a full breath before snatching the ring, slipping it on, and asking, repeatedly, “Did I say ‘yes’?” Whatever. The ring is mine. And so is he.

Plainly, 2011 has been a year of blessings for us, and we hope the same has been true for you!

Much love and happy holidays,