An Uncomfortably Honest Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! It’s hard for me to believe that 2015 is almost over. Thanks for taking the time to read this update on our lives. I wish I could take the time to reach out to each of you personally, but my job takes away every last bit of my free time and 85% of my ability to be a decent friend, so this will have to do. Where to start? Oh, perhaps with last Christmas.

Last Christmas my maternal grandmother fell and had to be hospitalized. It was the WEIRDEST CHRISTMAS EVER. We had no formal family gathering with the extended family because of Grandma’s emergency. It was determined that Grandma’s fall was due to dehydration because she had been forgetting to eat and drink. She was quickly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my mom and my uncle had to take turns living with her until she could get into an assisted living facility. SO basically January 2015 started with a huge emotional stress on all of us AND Grandma’s dementia and delusions got pretty bad pretty fast. Getting her on medicaid and into assisted living was a long bureaucracy-fueled nightmare for my mom and uncle, but finally she got moved into assisted living on February 14th…

…Two days after my paternal Grandma died. BEST WEEK EVER. NOT. I spoke at her funeral, and by “spoke” I mean cried really hard in front of a large crowd of mostly strangers and some family while squeaking out a few words about how wonderful my Grandma was.

jenny with grandmas2
Me as a little tyke with both my wonderful grandmas.

Going through both of my grandmother’s possessions was super-sad, but I think going through my living G\grandma’s was somehow worse. We said goodbye to both “Grandma’s houses” and put an end to a sad start to the year. My maternal grandma started improving after moving into assisted living so that was a huge relief for all. I am thankful she is still with us though I sure do miss visiting her in that special place I call “Grandma’s House”.

Time marched on! Joshua turned 11 at the end of February and sprouted into a full-fledged tween. He now thinks I am a total embarrassment and I think he secretly wishes I was made of Pixels like Minecraft people.

Joshua bday
Eleven!!

In March, we had a happy occasion: Bobby and I celebrated our 15th anniversary with a little getaway to the exotic location of Indianapolis!

anniversary
15 years, baby!

I didn’t even miss the kids, for real, and I didn’t feel guilty about it! It was SO FUN, even when I woke up with abdominal pain on the 2nd day we were there. Eventually I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Happily, it went away on it’s own, but not before I thought I was gonna die there for a couple weeks. My ability to always think the worst is stronger than ever!

In May Jonah finished his first full year of preschool, Sophie finished 2nd grade, and Joshua finished 5th grade. They all had great school years, and we are so proud of them! Joshua and Sophie both went to the spelling bee and speech meet for their classes. Whoop! #WordNerds Also, my oldest nephew graduated from high school and I blubbered like a baby because he was born when I was 19 so CLEARLY MY YOUTH IS GONE, and clearly his high school graduation is ALL ABOUT ME.

Charles
Do I look old in this picture?>/small>

The summer flew by since I was trying to work from home and parent at the same time. That went so-so. Thank the Lord for a dedicated babysitter! We did get away to my parent’s place in Virginia for a week and it was glorious! Jonah attended summer school to work on his social skills and he loved it. Almost as much as I loved driving 15 minutes each way twice a day!  Joshua also attend a LEGO Robotics camp and I enjoyed driving him the 20 minutes each way to that as well. Working from home during the summer with kids is the BEST!!

vacation
One of our many precious vacation memories.

School started up in mid-August again and I did the happy dance many many times because Jonah got into full day pre-K Monday-Thursday. Joshua started 6th grade and Sophie 3rd. And I started hearing nothing but the sound of silence 4 days a week during daylight hours. Plus, I finally put the big kids on the BUS this year, freeing up more of my time to binge-watch Netflix, I mean work, work, work! I figured once I had all three kids in school full day I’d be able to get my work done SO EASILY while they were at school. Somehow, this is never the case. Oh well, dare to dream…

JS frst day

jonah first day

Most of our fall was monopolized by work and parenting. My work has been crazy but good. I never clean my house, but whatever, nobody’s getting any diseases from it and we don’t have rodents so BASICALLY I’m Martha Stewart. I started making the big kids do the dishes after school for their chore to ensure that clean utensils will always be in abundance. We live out of laundry baskets and we’re HASHTAG BLESSED because we’ve got clothes, food, shelter, and a crap ton of love up in this house!

dining room
No, YOUR dining room table always looks like this. Oh. Nope. It’s mine.
Bobby’s boss died suddenly of a heart attack in November and that put a huge damper on his work life…and a lot of things into perspective. A couple of days later, Sophie turned 9 and we celebrated her like crazy! She and Bobby started running 5ks this fall together, and she is really fast! She has run three 5ks and a 5 mile race with her daddy!

runners
She does not get this desire to run “for fun” from her mother.

Also in November, I decided I didn’t have enough to do, so with a good friend, I organized a fundraising walk for my favorite local charity, Shoes 4 the Shoeless. It very nearly killed me, and I swore many times that I’d never do it again, but it was amazing and we raised over $32,000! So…I’ll probably do it again. This was perhaps the highlight of 2015 for me. It was SUCH a huge blessing to be able to help with this event!

I guess that brings me to December. My current state is: stress paralyzed over Jonah’s 5th birthday this week—HOW CAN MY BABY BE TURNING FIVE?—and getting ready for our family Christmas with my side of the family this weekend. Bobby and I did 100% of our Christmas/Jonah birthday shopping online this year and it was TOTALLY GLORIOUS! But right now I’ve got about sixty kajillion gluten-free cupcakes to make for Jonah’s school holiday/birthday party and his gluten free Mickey Mouse cake for home and THEN AND ONLY THEN can I think about properly celebrating the birth of our Savior.

JonahWEEGEE
He’s a very mature 5.

And THEN I can think about wrapping more presents for CHRISTMAS!

It’s been a HARD year in many ways but also a GOOD year…and I’m pretty darn beat. However I am exhausted because of an amazing job and an even more amazing FAMILY to call my own. I’m thankful to God for ALL his blessings…and for the grace and coffee to manage them all.

Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for letting me keep it real.

Love,

Jenny

and those other Rapsons


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.