Saturday, December 25, 2004
Christmas Letters, 2004
Greetings and Happy Holidays to our friends and family! I’m happy to report that after last year’s Christmas letter, which resembled a Greek tragedy and most likely made those of you who read it want to hit yourselves in the head with a hard object, 2004 was a MUCH better year for our family! Thank goodness, because depressing Christmas letters two years in a row would have been too much for any of us to handle.
Busy; challenging; sometimes stressful but most often enjoyable --- the Escoe household is probably a lot like yours. Let’s just address the cancer thing head-on: It still really stinks, but there has been way more silver lining than we ever imagined. Kendrie has a year of treatment left and will hopefully remain leukemia free for the next hundred years or so. She handles the chemotherapy like a champ -- except for the steroids. And mood swings. And fatigue. And nausea. But hey, she’s got hair this year! We realize how great she’s doing, and how blessed we are, but don’t let anyone tell you this is a walk in the park because it isn’t. Most of all, she is our inspiration. In other news, she started public Pre-K this fall and loves, loves, loves school. She wants to play t-ball in the spring and still idolizes her brother (and sometimes her sister, too) more than anything. If you could permit me a brief moment of parental pride, let me tell you that she is the only Pre-K student in her entire school to earn a “dog-tag” necklace in the school’s accelerated reading (AR) program, which made her so proud of herself I thought she would burst. To be honest, we are pretty proud of her, too. You can continue to follow her progress at www.caringbridge.org/ga/kendrie. Thanks to all of you who continue to offer your support and encouragement to Kendrie and our family.
Cancer continues to throw challenges Blaine’s way also, with the ongoing reconstructive work. Red tape aside, we are hopeful his reconstructive surgery will take place this spring, although we’re not sure where or by whom … and would appreciate your good thoughts for him. This will be major surgery and given the scope of rehabilitation required, and the many months of work he will miss, he recently requested to stand down as the commander of the 78th Contracting Squadron, the very squadron he “stood up” as its first-ever commander this summer. A difficult decision, yes, given how strongly Blaine feels about the Air Force “mission” and how much he loves the job and his squadron. But a decision we support him in, nonetheless. In other news for him, he celebrated his 40th birthday in February by getting bifocals, having hernia surgery and starting on high blood pressure medication. Hmmm. Maybe not such a great year for him, ha! Thank goodness there’s always hunting and fishing to pull him back to the edge of sanity.
Brayden continues to delight and amaze us with her newfound independence and social skills, when she’s not making us crazy with her newfound independence and social skills. She also loves school (2nd grade) and stays busy with Girl Scouts and soccer, both of which are mainly about the snack. She has started “practicing” her fake giggle which can be quite annoying, and is usually either the Mediator between her brother and sister, or the Instigator, depending on her mood. About the time I think we’ll never survive the upcoming teen years, she turns on a dime and is the sweetest, most loving, most helpful little girl on the planet. She brings us joy, but we definitely see the hormones on the horizon!
Kellen, well, what can I say? What I love most is that he is still willing to hold my hand in public and wants to be tucked in at night. But, he also thinks it is hysterical to run around the house giving himself a wedgie and can belch on demand. He is showing *some* signs of maturity, as he has graduated beyond the sophomoric activity of making farting noises with his armpit and can now make farting noises behind both knees, but only if he uses his “lucky” right hand. Something tells me a refund is due from Bubba’s Charm School For Boys. He played t-ball and soccer this year and loves the 1st grade …. The best part is playing with friends at recess and gym. Speaking of school (another obnoxious parental pride moment) he and Brayden both are on the AR Wall of Fame at school, and I’m so happy we have three eager readers in the house.
As for me, I am like a hamster on the “School Volunteer Wheel of Life” but that’s ok. It sure beats getting up and putting on pantyhose and going to a real job everyday, right? I love being available for the kids this way and realize how fortunate I am. When I’m not at the school volunteering, or scrapbooking with friends (three weekend getaways this year!), I am busy trying to whip our family’s social life into shape. I figure the more time we spend away from home, the less time I have to spend cooking and cleaning. In that regard, we did as much traveling this year as we could in between chemotherapy appointments --- Easter in Washington DC, a spring and fall weekend at Family Cancer Camp in north Georgia, two weeks in OKC this summer (for my 20th high school reunion, yikes!) a late-summer week at the beach for a cancer retreat in Florida, a few fall weekends in Atlanta for cancer walks and activities, Thanksgiving in California (Los Angeles and San Diego) and Christmas back in OKC. Like I mentioned earlier, cancer has opened many windows for opportunities and relationships that have definitely enriched our lives. While I’m certainly not happy that this is the path we were forced to take, I can’t help but be grateful for the new friends and experiences.
And our dog Lager is still around; old, deaf and arthritic, but sweet irregardless.
As always at this time of year, we give thanks for the many blessings afforded our family and offer our warmest thoughts to those less fortunate. I hope 2004 was a year of happiness and hope for your family, also.
The Escoe Family