Monday, December 11, 2006

Family Drama

I’ve been thinking about Christmas letters today. They are usually just an outlet for people
to extol the virtue of their beautiful, successful families. They are rarely an exercise in brutal
honesty. I’ve decided to turn Christmas
letters on their heads and try my hand at a brutally honest one this year. I’m pretty sure this one won’t make the
Christmas cards but it certainly will be entertaining in comparison to the
“official” Hale Christmas letter.

2006 has been quite a year for our family. We toasted the year in style, with Andre
Champagne and a couple of rounds of “Battling Tops,” our burgeoning New Year’s
tradition. Julianne spent the beginning
of the year growing weary of her once-beloved dog. Her prayers were answered when she found a new home for him in
late March. She is still racked with
guilt about this decision but enjoys her dog-less life none-the-less. Sean was not 100% on board with this
decision and it will probably lead to resentment later in their marital

In April, the entire family traveled to Denver to visit
Julianne’s beloved Grandmother. It was
a nice visit but, less than a week later, Julianne spoke to her Grandmother on
the phone and she asked, “When are you going to come and visit me,
Julianne?” Again Julianne finds herself
racked with guilt. The Hale family
spent July in the redneck capital of the world, Pigeon Forge, with Sean’s
family. It was a great trip thanks to a
little bit of Dolly Parton and a whole lot of red wine. In October, our family took a trip with
Julianne’s relatives to Disney World. It was a wonderful vacation and the kids had an amazing time. We will definitely go back once we get out
of debt from this trip. We just got
back from our annual Thanksgiving trip to the Midwest. We came home just in time for some family
drama as our new Grandma (whom I have yet to meet) is in the process of
becoming our new ex-Grandma. Divorce is
never good news but I try to look on the bright side. I no longer have to buy a $50 Christmas present for someone I’ve
never met.

Here’s what everyone has been up to:

Sean is still enjoying his job and thriving. Despite his success, he still drives a
certified piece of crap car that I can hear coming from two miles away. He loves gardening and woodworking and combined
these two passions by building a smurf-sized greenhouse in our backyard. Seriously, a squirrel would be hard-pressed
to fit inside of it comfortably. I made
fun of him incessantly until last week when he came in the back door with a
bowl of fresh, delicious, organic baby spinach for our dinner salad. Yum.

Julianne finally started pursuing her career goal this
year. She decided to take the bull by
the horns and start writing. She
received her first rejection recently and has been paralyzed ever since. She is still enjoying the stay-at-home Mom
gig but would like to start contributing to the family income soon. This temporary paralysis is a bummer and
while she does enjoy blogging on, it doesn’t bring home the

Our son is four years old and in preschool. He loves school and his teacher sings his
praises whenever she gets the chance. Apparently, he is an angel in school. He is a sweet boy at home but he has a temper. Our current projects include learning to eat the food that Mommy
makes for dinner and committing to memory the following house rules: “No hitting. No kicking. No choking. No poking. No yelling. No telling.” We’ve got our work cut out for us.

Our daughter is 19 months old and is as sweet and calm as
any baby we have ever come across. Her
laid back nature nearly sent Julianne to the loony bin as she suffered panic
attacks worrying about her inability (or refusal) to walk. She finally took her first steps at 16.5
months old and has been on the go ever since. She is getting more teeth and we think we see some bling growing on her
head. She seems destined for some diva
behavior and we expect her tiara to come in any day now.

All in all, 2006 has been a good year. Our family is happy and healthy and riddled
with guilt. I guess that makes us no
different than the rest of the world. We thank God for family, friends, red wine and Dolly Parton. We wish you a holiday season filled with joy
and a new year that is heavy on the happiness and light on the guilt. Cheers!


  1. I do soooooo love a good work of fiction by a budding young writer, Grandma Mary still has a total memory lapse as to the content of the recent delivery from Gadgets and Gizmos, so I am hesitant to print this blog for her to share, it might jog her memory and spoil Christmas Day when Santa staggers in. Keep on keepin' on, that's 'burned out hippie' for Merry Christmas, and enjoy the Season.

  2. For all of you out in the blogosphere, I ordered Grandma Mary an authentic reproduction of the Leg Lamp from the classic holiday film, "A Christmas Story" for her Christmas gift. She told me, during our recent visit, that she would like one to put in her window. I asked her if she was serious. She assured me that she was. She forgot the entire conversation and has no idea what is headed her way on Christmas morning. I wish I could be there... Please take a picture Papa Dale!

  3. I am SO going to write a letter like this to send with my Christmas cards. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Don't worry about Grandma not remembering you came out. Each time I see her I tell her about how I moved out to Colorado. She is always amazed. I moved here a year and a half ago. It seems these days, visiting Grandma is more for us than her, but she enjoys the visits while you're there, then will go to sleep and forget all about it.

  5. Jacquelyn-
    I can't wait to read yours!

  6. Uncle Carni-
    Thanks for the words about Grandma. I know that she appreciates my visit, despite not remembering it and I want my kids to remember her and know who she was. Now at least I have photographs of them with her so that they will have a point of reference when I do talk about her.

  7. I think you've got your family problems licked if you send out a card like that! If only they had a red wine with a Dolly Parton-shaped bottle for your perfect souvenier. It'd probably hold more than 500ml would be my guess.

  8. Edwardian-
    You know, Pigeon Forge is a dry city, except from the one and only Pigeon Forge Winery. It resembles a gas station/cheezy souvenir stand but they do offer free tastes. It's the only place in the world where you can get a gospel CD, a rebel flag, a statue of a pit bull on a Harley, and a free sample of Chablis! I think you may have just combined the two best things about Pigeon Vegas: delicious, Tennessee-brewed (is that the right term) wine and Dolly Parton. You should seriously consider marketing your product.

  9. I find it funny how every one has the birth of my daughter in their christmas letter. My great grandma, a few of my aunts, even a good family friend. I think a few of them have cured cancer and at least three people have won the nobil prize. Thank you so much for telling the truth and not sugar coating it. It is about time!!!

  10. Linda-
    It was so nice of you to provide the content of the rest of your family's Christmas letter! I guess your daughter was pretty newsworthy eh? That's funny, not even the family members that Uncle Carni and I have in common (famous for their exaggeration) have claimed to have won a Nobel prize or cured cancer. Your relatives must be something else :)