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(c) 2010 Trina Lambert

Right about now nineteen years ago, I was finishing up my first year of coursework toward an MBA—courses I took in the evening after going to my full-time job. December and its celebrations could wait.

That semester I was involved in one of those group projects from Hell where everyone does the work but doesn’t always agree. Early in December our group came together to put some final touches on the project. One member apologized that she was a little slow because she had been sick while another apologized since she was in charge of the company holiday party and had been up all hours celebrating. That’s when I told them I could top their excuses—not only was I pregnant with twins but also since I had just hit my second trimester, I had been pregnant most of the semester and had been happy to stay awake during class, let alone finish the work. Just completing that term was one of the best gifts ever, if only so I could sleep more.

Our Decembers have been crazy busy ever since, despite our best efforts to keep Christmas celebrations themselves in line. It took me three more Decembers (and another half year) to finish that degree while living with young twins. The first post-graduation Christmas, free from the additional stress and work of school deadlines, was a delight!

A few years later Sherman began his Master’s degree studies—by that time all the activities related to having grade-school-aged children made it even harder for him to fit in his schoolwork, especially during December. When he graduated in December of 2002 (yes—we added a graduation into the December mix—but saved the party until January!) we vowed that from then on, only family members born in 1992 could attend college—and now they are—which means they are experiencing their own December madness right now.

But the years in between Sherman’s graduation and now have been full-speed-ahead years also. Middle school and high school added more challenging final projects and tests and, of course, concerts and parties, too.

(c) 2010 Trina Lambert

When Mom broke her heel three years ago on Christmas Eve, little did we know how much more involved we would become in helping her with her daily life. That Christmas it seems we barely had our tree up two weeks—we needed to take it down to make space for papers and other items we had grabbed to figure out how to transition to having her live in our home, for awhile, and, later, make a permanent move to Denver.

Meanwhile, our kids continued with the fast pace of high school December requirements. Although we finally purchased one of those pre-lighted trees and could set out the tree otherwise unadorned, we were happy to get out the remainder of the decorations by December 21. And what wasn’t necessary didn’t happen.

Which makes yesterday’s activity—a mundane one for many of you—seem all the more miraculous. After replacing our porch six years ago and losing the built-in attachments for Christmas lights, we finally made it possible to hang lights again. Sherman installed new hooks—I held the ladder—while the dogs, Fordham and Abel, surveyed the neighborhood. Then I continued to hold the ladder (or my husband, when necessary, to keep him from falling into the rosebush and its sadistic thorns) while he hung up our brand new chili pepper lights to go along with the 3 Margaritas paint colors. Then he added blue light ropes we already owned that really match our house now.

OK, we still needed new extension cords, but by 9:30, after some additional ladder ballet (and a few inappropriate language choices), our 3 Margaritas home was ready and lighted for Christmas!

Not only that, but there are already presents under the tree—on December 13, no less. Who knows, maybe we’ll write and send out the sequel to our last Christmas letter—the one we sent in January 2006 . . .

(c) 2010 Trina Lambert

At the same time, we’ve given the kids the gift of being able to do their own projects and tests! Jackson finishes today and Christiana finishes tomorrow. With good weather and traveling mercies, we expect to see them very soon—tired from their own crazy busy Decembers—and in just a little bit of awe to see what their parents can accomplish with a little bit of time.


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