It was my best year ever. Think about it: A germaphobe, introvert awkward nerd is told he has to stay home, wash his hands and wear a face mask. It’s like heaven on earth. I did not like the part where I had to fight my wife and kids who mostly wanted to congregate with friends and lick doorknobs.
Here is some stuff about our fam:
Helen is a student in the Graphic Design program at Western. She is not in GD to get a job in GD. She is taking classes to ward off the “What are you going to do with your life” questions from her mother. (I think it is a great gig – I want it too.) When Helen is not crying about assignment due dates, she is scooping at The Pearl Ice Cream Shop. That’s pretty much it for her… crying and scooping. Helen rides her bike to and from work every day, which makes her one of her father’s favorites, and she is the most on-board with my “Save Ed At All Costs” covid restrictions.
Claire is in California for the semester living in a mansion with a rich aunt and uncle. She takes on-line classes at Western. When she graduates in May, she plans to use her diploma to blow her nose, as she has no intention of going to work in the graphic design field. Like her older sister, she is in college pursuing the “Get Off My Back, Mom” degree. She plans to make a career collecting plastic bottles for trendy companies that make women’s clothing from recycled trash. When she’s not crying about the empty shelf of Gluten-free Pumpkin bagels at Trader Joe’s, Claire is selling used books at a store in Ventura, California.
Edward is a scooter rider. I would like to say he is a humanitarian and a scholar who rides a scooter in his free time. But he is a scooter rider first, primarily concerned with how long he can go backwards on one wheel or how many times he can spin the deck off the big jump at the skate park. Notable events for Edward: He worked all summer building trails, he teased his long, beautiful hair into dreadlocks, he went to State with his cross-country team (pushing from the back, as Hales are known to do), and he shaved his dreadlocks off just to surprise his family. When he is not doing bar spins, Edward is getting 14 hours of sleep a day and watching scooter tricks on YouTube.
Ruthie is the perfect child. She practices her violin (every third Tuesday). She rides her mountain bike, but not as often as she plays violin. She runs cross-country and reads novels during on-line lectures. When she’s not looking at her iPhone screen, Ruthie is looking at someone else’s iPhone screen.
Bethany is the second middle child. I am not sure what Bethany likes or does. I’m not even sure if she still lives with us. Bethany is a hard-working student at her school (that meets in-person every day). She plays the violin and flute with the same diligence as her older sister, Ruthie. Bethany rode with the local mountain bike team, ran cross-country, and swims for the YMCA. When Bethany is not being forgotten at the Y, she is jumping on the trampoline or playing with the kids next door.
Oh, I am so bored describing children. Aren’t you bored reading about them? This sums up my parenting of the sixth kid, Lydia. She glides through life doing what she pleases because her parents are too tired to guide or discipline her. I think the neighbors across the alley might be raising her. (Just so you don’t feel like you have to call the County People on us, I will admit that Lydia’s mother sometimes pays attention to her feeding and whereabouts.) Lydia plays the violin and percussion. She rode illegally (under-aged) with the mountain bike team and swims for the Y. Lydia rides her bike to school every day, no matter the weather. I’ve seen her strap a violin case over her full backpack and ride down the alley at 23°. She’s amazing.
Nikole is as awe-inspiring as ever. She leads a Bible study, volunteers with AWANA and coaches a huge pod of girls on the mountain bike team. She feeds and clothes six beautiful children and one slovenly husband. On top of all this, she runs, rides and pumps iron like a boss. She’s basically a Runners World cover model (but she will ask me to edit that part out).
Ed News: My shoulder hurts.
Jack The Dog is a svelte, flappy-lipped, trail runner. He rests a lot but refuses to sit on my lap. Jack contracted Lime disease and is now addicted to antibiotics and Braunschweiger. When Jack is not wandering the neighborhood untethered and unsupervised, he is sleeping on the forbidden leather couch.
May you have a blessed Christmas, celebrating our Savior’s birth. And we hope your stocking is stuffed with hand-sanitizer, and you wake up on the 25th to a brand-new fat bike under your Christmas tree.
God Bless you