Month-by-month with one Belmont family.
The festive season is in full swing, and with it comes holiday cards, photographs, and those tedious holiday letters. You know the kind I mean: catalogs of the unprecedented achievements, extravagant worldwide tours or unsolicited witticisms of precocious children who apparently are the apex of humanity thus far, and certainly the apple of their parents’ eyes.
Well, not to be outdone – and at the risk of hypocritically boring you in my own turn – I have chosen to send my warmest wishes to you in, yes, the ever-popular month-by-month format! If I failed to resist the preciousness of many of these letters, just think of it as a holiday fruitcake and let it pass on unnoted. (It’s not easy generating a column every week, you know.)
Anyway, grab a cup of tea and let’s get started on our whirlwind tour of “The Year That Was” ...
January: The first of January fell on a Saturday, thus effectively moving the start of the diet until Monday, when all diets start (and alas, many also end). Mine typically ends at 4:15 Monday afternoon, but I think I made it until the first Thursday in January. (And here it is ten days until the new January 1st, but who’s counting?)
It snowed. Then it snowed again. And again. Somehow, in spite of the town-wide cancellation of 34 all-important meetings, general government and the school department successfully announced their never-enough-available-revenue budgets and boy was there “shoveling” going on. Because it snowed a lot. Really.
The children got a kick out all those school cancellations. Their parents did not.
I started to get used to sitting through swim meets that last four hours, but for all that, I’ve yet to actually view my child swimming a race. Oh she swam, I think, but I really couldn’t tell because they all look identical in their blue bathing suits and blue swim caps.
February: More snow. More shoveling. Getting across town for 5:50 swim and basketball practices becomes a Herculean feat. Mountains of white stuff narrow the roads in our neighborhood to fit only bicycles. In single file. The Board of Selectmen issue a ban on parking on both sides of the street that is “widely” ignored.
Christina loses a tooth. The tooth fairy was negligent again. Too busy dealing with ice damns! Arghh.
March: Parents begin putting their homes up for sale as a result of the impending school cuts. The school department’s new mantra becomes “meeting the mandates” ... and nothing more.
Kevin decides to run for School Committee shortly after I assure everyone who has asked that he will absolutely not run again this year.
BYBA winds down and Benjamin officially becomes a teenager. He celebrates by rapping at the Chenery Middle School dance. Whose child is this?
April: Hallelujah – swim season ends and the snow begins to thaw! The Patch editor offers me a job writing a weekly Patch column. (How hard can that be, I wonder?) Kevin’s bid for School Committee is successful (the third time is a charm) and he turns 50.
Julia joins a basketball team in Arlington, because we don’t have enough going on here in Belmont ... ?
May: It still feels like March outside, but this is New England after all. In spite of the freezing temps, flowers are springing up all over Belmont. And great news: the state increases its local aid to municipalities so the children will not lose gym, music, art, heat, lights, books, and recess. Oh wait, high school kids still won’t have books. Darn.
Julia, who prefers to drink most of her beverages out of a wine glass, reads her D.A.R.E. essay to the entire fifth grade.
June: The countdown begins for the much-anticipated Taylor Swift concert. It’s all Christina talks about. In what seems like the longest school year ever, the snow days are finally made up and the Belmont pool eventually opens. Ah, summer in Belmont.
Hey, where the heck is everybody?
July: Lovely afternoons at the pool, more lost teeth and a new infestation in our home: flies. Ugh. It’s oppressively humid outside. I’ll never complain about the snow again.
August: At last, time for our long-awaited week at the beach. Ah, relaxing days in the sun lounging by the sea. What?! A category four hurricane is poised to tear up the Eastern seaboard. Narragansett issues a mandatory evacuation. We pack up the #@$% car and head North. Thanks a lot Irene!
September: “The most wonderful time of the year ... ” Yea, school starts! It still feels like July outside, but, who cares?
Another soccer season begins and I’ve managed to find the cleats in time for the first practice. Yea, Mom! Kevin resumes attending multitudinous town meetings and has yet to surface. One hopes in time for Christmas dinner.
October: Belmont is mercifully spared the two feet of snow that many other Massachusetts communities received.
The children are happily ensconced in guitar, violin, soccer, swim, brownies and basketball. Occasionally, homework gets done.
November: First the bad news: the refrigerator, dryer, and washer all begin to fail and require replacing. The good news: Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch and without the presence of the Belmont Fire Department! Ya-hoo!
It feels like September out there, and no one is complaining!
Swim and basketball are in full swing. Again. Presumably soccer ended.
December: Off to a great start at Belmont’s Turn on the Town celebration! What could be better than free hot chocolate and fake snow? After a short, but intense race, Will Brownsberger wins the Senate primary. Benjamin scores his first BYBA basket. Yea, Will and Benjy!
Christina learns “Jingle Bells” on the violin and will happily play it for you. Just ask her. But have her do it at your house.
Egg Nog is in the fridge (hey, only 10 days left!), the stockings are hung, the tree is up, and the pre-Christmas bickering is in full swing. It’s official: we have become "The Simpsons."
Well, there you have it. That's 2011 in a nutshell. Fortunately for you, there are only 12 months in the year and this reverie is over.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2012!