Vicki Estes: Don’t ignore what really matters

This last Christmas marked the first time in roughly 10 years I mailed family Christmas photo cards. My only motivation to fall in line with the annual tradition was the stack of photo cards received with my daughter’s senior picture order. Otherwise, it would have been my usual holiday season digging through a box of leftover cards from Christmases past and strategically sending them to grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings with an updated wallet-sized school portrait of my daughter tucked inside. It fulfills a parent’s requirement to offer proof of life to distant family.

 

A friend I haven’t seen in years thanked my daughter for being on the cusp of graduation so she could hear from me. It’s sad, I know. I try to keep in touch. I try not to fall behind with bills and other paperwork. I attempt to read the assigned books for book club. (I say assigned because the last one I read turned out to be the wrong book. Be careful of singular vs. plural words in book titles.) And most days, I create nutritious meals for my family. But when faced with the choice to handwrite greeting cards or disinfect my house before the onslaught of holiday visitors, bathroom sterilization wins.

Not all of our friends and family received holiday greetings from us; there were only so many family photo cards in the package. For those not making the cut, and please know it was for no other reason than simple mathematics. I give you our family’s 2017 wrap-up and forward-looking statement for 2018:

Whew! The Esteses finished 2017 impersonating Olympic downhill skiers racing to the finish line. A lost ski there, a pole flung yonder and a yard sale along the way. But we survived. No broken bones, only one concussion and barely a handful of communicable diseases that required antibiotics. We emerged relatively unscathed from a year in which paperwork and deadlines were king.

Who knew organizing high school senior year activities while juggling college paperwork would be a full-time job? If anyone is looking to fill an underserved and ever-growing niche in the service industry, consider becoming a college admissions consultant. Or a therapist for mothers with college-bound children.

Our home security system continued to scare the hell out of unsuspecting candy wrappers blowing in the yard and sweater-vested, two-pound toy poodles leisurely walking with their owners. Jazzy, our German Shepherd who I suspect has a high percentage of the Scooby Doo bloodline, keeps us and innocent victims running — literally. She means well, and one day will be able to discern a prowler from a plastic grocery sack ruffling in the bushes.

The end of 2017 may bring brightness to an otherwise dark situation at the Estes manor — kitchen lighting. It’s one of those projects that wives nag about and husbands don’t see a need for — until they can’t see. When a flashlight must be employed to read instructions on a package, it’s time to consider improvements. We’ve scolded our daughter for reading in low light, reminding her to “turn a light on or you’ll go blind,” yet we don’t follow our own advice. And speaking of advice, I have two tips to share for 2018: A magic eraser-type cleaning pad expertly cleans dark soda from a white ceiling (a story for another day), and when faced with a choice to spend time cleaning or connecting with others, put the scrub brush down.

Vicki Estes is a freelance writer in Topeka.

 

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