new york city kid in arkansas
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Every Christmas morning Santa surprises us with a homemade calendar for the next year, each month filled with beautiful pictures from the current year, carefully matching the seasons and special occasions. We always hang it in the same spot in the kitchen using the same old nail year after year after year. But 2020 isn’t like all the other years, and it didn’t take us long to notice that this calendar, like this year, had a terrible glitch. Every single corner curled inward stubbornly, and nothing we did could fix it. The calendar became unreadable and a source of family tension and regret. “This is the worst calendar Santa ever gave us!” I shouted on particularly difficult days.

And to make matters worse for this useless thing, in mid-March I began crossing things out with a Sharpie. Trip to Texas for spring break, canceled. Arts Month, canceled. Junior High play, canceled. Kansas visit, canceled. Huck’s choir concert, canceled. Huck’s piano competition, canceled. Middle school play, canceled. 50th birthday party, canceled. Pre-K play, canceled. Huck’s spring piano recital, canceled. Trip to Washington, D.C. with the 8th graders, canceled. Graduation ceremony, canceled. France vacation, postponed.

This was the saddest calendar you ever saw.

I finally took it down and carefully tore out each page. Without the entire year burdening each month, the corners began to relax. I put April’s collage of amazing memories on the fridge with a couple magnets. The other day I replaced it with May’s. In its place on the wall we put up a totally blank pig calendar that used to live in my now empty, dark office. The slow passing of days and canceling of plans became less obvious and painful. Family tension faded away. We forgave Santa.

In place of our big bash and France trip, we planted a Japanese maple and celebrated the first ever peony bloom in our ever-growing lovely back yard. Now we have a dry erase calendar that says things like “Driveway Concert” and “Middle School Birthday Parade” and “Zoom Faculty Meeting.” We’ve figured out how to occasionally see friends by Bringing-Our-Own-Everything and sitting far apart from each other. Instead of performing plays, my students are writing them. Instead of going to work, we’re watering flowers. Instead of swimming every morning, Troy’s singing live on Facebook.

Most things got canceled, it’s true. I’m going to go enjoy the things that didn’t.


Aunt Jeni

May 4th, 2020

I’m so glad you forgave Santa – because Santa is one of my favorite people on earth. And I’m so thankful that marco polo messages just continue on as before…some things haven’t changed. XOXO

Pappy T

May 4th, 2020

Best. Blog. Ever.


May 4th, 2020

You definitely have a lot of wonderful things to enjoy!! XOXO

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