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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Christmas Card

Dearest family and friends,

We just passed Jon’s three year anniversary of when he was diagnosed with cancer and I am truly amazed and humbled at the journey we have taken. The road has been a difficult one strewn with many tears, but this time has also been a sweet growing time for our family. Jon has made a full and complete recovery. His recovery has been all that we hoped and prayed it would be. As I think about this miracle in our lives, and give thanks to God, I have to ask myself, so what does happily-ever-after look like?
I am reminded of a perfect moment this summer. We had just enjoyed a beautiful 4th of July evening with our friends, complete with a cook out, freeze tag and kids running with sparklers everywhere. After the sunset we loaded up the children and drove to the park to watch fireworks. We had a spot as close to the fireworks as we could get. As we lay on our backs and looked into the night sky we watched spectacular colors explode in the air above us. I was touching each member of my family in some way and I felt completely happy. I think in life we get a few perfect or nearly perfect moments, but “perfect” only lasts a few seconds.
I believe happily-ever-after is routine chaos at the dinner table. I remember one dinner not too long ago when all I wanted was to have a nice long, intimate conversation with Jon after a semi-crazy day at home with the kids. Getting the kids to be quiet for the blessing on the food seemed almost as big a miracle as Moses parting the Red Sea. Right after the “amen” Tess broke out singing the ABC’s and I beamed inside at how bright she was. Half-way through, Cale started singing his own song to the tune of ABC’s but with different words, the only purpose of which was to annoy his sister. Tess pointed her finger and said in her commanding Queen-of-the-World voice, “Stop it, Cale.” Her authority stopped there, but I seconded her motion and Cale’s singing subsided. If this same scenario had occurred between Tate and Cale three years ago, I’m sure I would have explained to the younger child that the older one had a right to sing too. I am much too tired for that now. Just as the singing came under control Tate decided to liven up the dinner ambience by passing gas with such force that the bench they were sitting on rumbled. Mayhem and giggling broke out all over again. Before Jon and I even had a chance to exchange more than two sentences of adult conversation, he had to run out to a meeting. As I put the kids to bed by myself I was exhausted, but I couldn’t help think about how nice it was to be doing those things by myself because Jon was healthy and able to go to a meeting and not that he was in the hospital or too sick to do so. That was happily-ever-after.
Happily-ever-after is despite a crazy economy being grateful that Jon has a job that he loves and that there is food on the table. What a thrill to see him put on his running shoes or hop on his mountain bike and do the things he loves to do, but couldn’t for a long time. Life is watching from afar Jon playing, wrestling and loving our children.
Happily-ever-after was crying my eyes out when the time came for Tate to go to school, and yet two weeks later when it was Cale’s turn to start kindergarten I couldn’t get him there fast enough. I feel no motherly guilt over this one as it has nothing to do with how much I love either of them. Tate is so kind and is ever the peace maker that when he was gone at school for two weeks before kindergarten started I was able to more fully realize what he adds to our family dynamic. In that amount of time Tess and Cale mastered pushing each others buttons’, and kindergarten was a welcome relief. Life was getting to watch Tate fall in love with baseball and see Jon coach and realize that our son isn’t the most skilled on the team, but he was the happiest kid out there thrilled to be playing and a part of his team.
Happily-ever-after is having your kindergartener think he is king of the elementary school. Cale thinks he is the biggest, smartest and most handsome boy in all of kindergarten. I am just fine with that as there will be plenty of time and opportunities for his self esteem to be smashed into the ground later. We joke that Cale is “Mr. Cool.” When I dropped him off at kindergarten on his first day of school there was no way he was going to give me a hug or kiss goodbye. He graced me with “knucks,” and I was thrilled. Cale is concerned about having his hair lay down just right while Tate puts on his hood and runs professing, “Mom, don’t touch it. I like it that way.” He and Einstein have something in common, I could be mistaken, but I think it’s their hair. Cale would much rather ride his bike two miles to school and up a big hill then be caught dead in a bike trailer with his sister. We used to call Cale “Little Buddy,” but he has since informed us that for obvious reasons his knick-name is inappropriate. He now responds to “Big Buddy.” Life was Cale getting on a really difficult pair of shoes by himself and proclaiming, “Mom, Jesus magic helped me do it.” I had to put my hand on my forehead and wonder where we went wrong!
Happily-ever-after is having a two year old who is as sweet and charming and cute as can be. Unfortunately she has an alter-ego that is equally disastrous. Tess brings spice and color to our lives, mostly in the form of pink. She is a little bundle of joy who has no idea she isn’t as big, smart or fast as her brothers. We most often find her tagging along with her brothers, who are so kind to her (most of the time), and make up the Silcox trio that goes from house to house playing with friends on our street. Life is dealing with the tantrums the best way I know how so later on I will be smothered with hugs, kisses and my favorite, “yove you mom.”
As I thought back on our year with the upmost gratitude and humility, I was reminded that happily-ever-after isn’t the perfect moments, but rather finding joy in the imperfect ones. There is certainly sadness, but there is also so much joy for which I lack words to express. I pray for peace on earth, but realize that the kind of peace I hope for is as impossible as a life of only perfect moments. This year I’ll be content in praying for peace in your hearts and hope in the future.

Merry Christmas and love to all!
Jon, Quinn, Tate, Cale and Tess Silcox

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