Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dear Family and Frenemies

A friend and I were recently laughing about holiday form letters. Don’t get me wrong. I love to get them – especially yours. Most people do a really good job of summarizing the activities of the year without being boastful or obnoxious. And then there are the other people who write the other kinds of letters, the ones designed to make you feel that your own family’s achievements are sooooo lowbrow.

We celebrate all types of accomplishments in the SassenFrassen family, especially the lowbrow ones. If I were to memorialize our achievements in a holiday letter this year, they would look something like this:

The WHOLE family got out of bed on time for five consecutive days in April!
Benjamin finally learned to consistently cough into his sleeve instead of his hand.
We moved in July. Everyone survived, and only one of us required prescription tranquilizers.
I cooked dinner SO MANY TIMES.
Ellie is potty trained, sort of! Well…not really. But she might be soon!
We bathed regularly, all year long. Huzzah!
Not one of us was hospitalized for anything.
We cut down on our television viewing by .07%!!!

That’s the kind of letter I would write to you. Here’s one for those other sorts of people:

Dear Family and Friends,

So far, the holiday season has been positively dreamy! Every night, we sit serenely in front of the fire and share our deepest wishes with one another. Last night, for example, Benjamin said that he doesn’t want any presents at all on Christmas – instead, he wants to spend the whole day writing letters to all of the world’s leaders, promoting humility and loving-kindness as the way to everlasting peace. Ellie’s ideas were slightly less grand, but my heart nearly exploded when she said that she just wants to help “all the babies who don’t have their mammas.” So selfless, for a girl of only 3. I regularly shed tears of joy when I think about how much my children already love the world and its people. I think the fact that we don’t let them watch TV and feed them only a chemical-free vegan diet has really kept them in touch with a higher spiritual plane.

The rest of our year was equally outstanding. The Daddy and I are still steeped in wide-eyed amazement by what we saw on our philanthropic bicycle tour of India in February. For every mile we rode, we earned $50 for charity; when all was said and done, our 250 miles each raised $25,000 for the homeless, hungry people of the world. I wrote a book about our experiences, and Oprah Winfrey has agreed to do a 30 minute special on the OWN TV network promoting it. As I mentioned, we don’t believe in television, but we feel that if it provides the vehicle to get our story out to more people who would like to help, then it’s totally worth it. I can just feel the love from here!

Many of you know that we moved over the summer. It was a peaceful, meditative experience that brought us closer as a family. Instead of being stressed out and snappish with one another, we chose to use the time to joyfully transition into our new home, severing our invisible bonds to unnecessary material possessions. Benjamin and Ellie were so eager to share the toys and books they’d outgrown with less fortunate children that I had to physically stop them from giving away literally EVERYTHING!

This fall, Benjamin started kindergarten and is doing extremely well. His teacher says that, based on his superior social skills and genius-level intellectual capacity, he could easily move up to the 4th grade, maybe even high school! He’ll surely be doing college level work by the age of 8. She pointed out, though, that if he abandoned his classmates, they’d be the ones left suffering the lack of his inspiring leadership. Therefore, he has agreed to stay on in his current classroom in order to set the standard for the others. He is such a selfless young man!

Ellie will turn 3 at the end of this month. While she doesn’t share Benjamin’s intellectual gifts, she has plenty of wonderful qualities all her own. Her love of babies seems to be her main motivation in life. All on her own, she learned to crochet last month and has already produced 15 hats to donate to the preemies at the hospital. Crocheting at 3! Can you imagine? I just don’t know how we got so lucky that the universe chose us as her parents.

Not to boast, but The Daddy and I did fairly well professionally this year. No one was more surprised than we were when BOTH of us were promoted to CEO of our respective companies! Sure, the hours are longer, but we are so enamored with what we do that it hardly seems like an effort. We almost feel guilty collecting a paycheck!

That’s all for now…I’m busily stringing cranberries that we picked by hand into garlands for our organic live Christmas tree. I hope that you, too, had an absolutely breathtaking year full of luck, love, and laughter. Here’s to 2012 – I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!

Love and Kisses,

The SassenFrassens