2019 Spafford / Berger Christmas Letter

Friends and Family,  

We all go through sadness or loss or heartbreak and a slew of other assorted feelings of the same genre throughout the year. Wait. Is that the beginning of my Christmas letter? Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

The aforementioned feelings and remembrances are not what we want to put on parade in the annual Christmas letter. Christmas letters are made for bragging about above average children who eventually will become average, pets that people outside your family may not really like (unfortunately, that may also go for the above average kids) and trips that studies show are much more exciting to look forward to than actually take.

This year, my mom, I’ll refer to her as Connie Spafford, passed away in October. I’m not a huge fan of the term “passed away”. It always seemed like an obvious description of what most quarterbacks do in third down situations.  “Passed away” as it stands,is more final – more like the end of the fourth quarter and no Hail Mary can help. Season ending. Thus, ends the football analogy portion of my Christmas letter.

I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to write a “funny” Christmas letter. But I thought my mom would want me to. My mom lived to be 81 years old and looked like she was 65 (a true miracle, based on her diet of hamburgers and pasta) and had a great life – except for the times I was annoying her with my jokes and general non growing-upness.

She had Alzheimer’s but would point out to me that there are many people far worse off than her. I mean, she said that when she was alive, because it doesn’t really get any worse than not being alive.  Unless you get buried in that joke Christmas sweater by mistake.

I want to remind us all that beyond our amazing trips, perfectly posed selfies, awesome concerts, scrumptious foods and endorphin craving brains, we are all going through real life stuff.  We need to continue to celebrate life and family and all the things we love (Unless it involves pictures of food. Knock that off, ok). Let’s also take time to think about the real stuff and that our friends, family and neighbors will now and again need a helping hand or friend to talk to – because life is like that. There’s always somebody that will need a friend or loved one to lean on.

As a family, we had many happier moments in 2019. We moved into a new house in Lauderdale, MN (right between Minneapolis and St.Paul). The kids can now ride the bus to school. Hoyt (12) is closer to soccer and Iris (9) is closer to swimming. Lila (17) is a Junior and really enjoying her graphic design and art classes. They all seem above average to me but see paragraph 3 above for clarity on that.

Cynthia was in an art show this fall and has been on a roll with making new art. I’m sure she’ll continue with this work in 2020. She’ll be making prints of work to sell in the new year (but as an artist she reserves the right to refuse to sell you anything). She is also working on her master’s degree – something she has wanted to do for more than a few years.

I took a great trip to the Boundary Waters this year with old friends Dave, Jim, Steve and Jon. The highlight was when Grumpy Steve told Bossy Jim to “Shut up”. When Bossy Jim started to say something else, Grumpy Steve said, “That’s not what that means.” I laughed longer and harder than the others.

Cynthia wanted to add a picture because people like the pictures. But this train is leaving the station. Imagine us from last year’s picture and pretend everyone looks a little older. Next year’s image will be a big surprise for you!

Happy Holidays to You from Our Family. 

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