As an Army Brat, who grew up all over the world, it was nearly impossible to have set traditions, in my childhood. As such, it’s possible that I might have been a wee bit over-zealous establishing traditions when I had my own family..singing all the same carols, baking the same scones, making the same fudge and watching the same Christmas movie year after year….AND, of course….writing the Blanchard Family Christmas Letter.

So, I guess I have only myself to blame for the reaction I got, when I hinted that I was considering not writing THE LETTERĀ this year. I’ve been writing a blog, which I pointed out, renders the Christmas Letter somewhat redundant. Right then and there, all the Whos down in Whoville dropped their hands, stopped their Who-singing and looked at me in astonished bewilderment, it was as though my heart had shrunk 3 sizes that day!
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It became abundantly clear that, the Sacred Christmas Letter, is guaranteed protection under the Freedom of Information Act. Due to its status as a “Family Tradition,” it Must be written! Blog be damned!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FAMILY AND FRIENDS,

Emilie, 28, has had a great year! So good, in fact, that she has scarcely been mentioned in my blog, as the thrust of my writing focuses on embarrassing mishaps. There’s simply not an abundance of blog-fodder surrounding the life of an overworked and overwhelmed fledgling Attorney. No matter! Emilie is not particularly enamored of the blog, anyway. Shortly after I started writing it, and was fishing for “feedback,” (translation: accolades) she informed me, “Mom, I’m sure all your friends, who didn’t grow up hearing your shtick day-in, day-out, think your blog is funny!!” Shortly after making this comment, she was walking through a downtown parking garage, reading the blog on her phone and was almost run over by a car! Thank goodness, I was in Edmond that day and have a solid alibi.

Emilie and Matt (the best thing that happened to her this year!)

Emilie and Matt (the best thing that happened to her this year!)

Mollie, 25, is studying Law at Fordham University in Manhatten. We miss her terribly and her absence has left a void in our blog – I mean, our lives. Now, there is a girl that could be depended upon to provide consistent creative writing material!! Whatever adorable little mishaps she is involved in on a daily basis up there, are being kept from us, with the exception of the 911 phone call we got from her beleaguered boyfriend, Jace, when she was LOST IN NEW YORK CITY!!! The fact that I posted a blog about that the next day, isn’t helping to keep me “in the loop” on the goings-on in the Big Apple…They’re both busy this week with their Law School Exams and then, flying home for Christmas!!

Lost and found

Lost and found

Gracie, 19, left for The University of Arkansas in August. All Summer long, as we battled over custody of jewelry, make-up and clothes, it was clear, we were just masking our pain; both of us dreading the day she would leave…On the morning she departed, one of her BFFs came over to help us pack up her car; then they stood in the driveway and hugged and cried for quite some time. Finally, Gracie, looked at us the two of us, and said, in her bravest singsong voice, “Well – I guess this is IT!!” As I closed in for the emotionally dramatic Mother/Daughter Goodbye Scene, she pressed her phone in my hand, wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, and said, “Can you snap one last picture of me and Jensen before I go?” That kind of sums up motherhood for me…anticlimactic.

Cheering on the football field and masking the pain of how much she misses her Mama!

Cheering on the football field and missing her Mama!

James, 17, had shoulder surgery the day before Thanksgiving. It was an extremely difficult decision whether or not to have him undergo this procedure. Upon consulting with 3 different surgeons, we finally agreed to go through with it. A few hours after the operation, we were filled with second thoughts and renewed angst, as we saw our typically healthy, happy-go-lucky son debilitated by pain and discomfort. We anxiously drove him home from the hospital, each silently wondering if we had made the right decision or if we had possibly just ruined our young boy forever.

Suddenly, we heard him mumble something from the backseat…

Jimmy- “What’s he saying back there?”

Leslie- “It sounds like he’s saying ‘What-a-burger'”

And, then he said ANOTHER word…and his thumbs began to twitch…

Leslie- “He just said, ‘phone’! He wants his phone! He wants to text!”

And, we smiled at each other in relief, because we knew…Our Boy was going to be okay.

That was a couple of weeks ago and we are delighted to report that, while we don’t know if he will recover enough to play football his Senior year, he is back to texting at his pre-surgery capacity and seemingly has a bright future ahead.

James and his date Annie on their way to Winter Formal. Wish I could see him dancing to "Staying Alive!"

James and his date Annie on their way to Winter Formal. Wish I could see him dancing to “Staying Alive!”

At 14, Tommy is still surprisingly loving, considerate and respectful. As cynical battle-scarred veterans of 4 previous teenagers, we remain on threat level “high-alert status,” ever-vigilant as we watch for the inevitable warning signs of a changing temperament. He has been extremely helpful these last few weeks, picking up James’ slack. We did notice, after a couple of days, that James’ incapacitation didn’t actually add too much to Tom’s workload…underscoring the fact that he has been correct all along in his assertions that, “James doesn’t do anything around here!” Nonetheless, by Day 3 of our Post-Surgical Thanksgiving “Hunker-Down”, Tommy said, “I don’t care WHAT I do today, or WHO I do it with, I’m putting on some real pants with a zipper and leaving this house!”

The dogs know who feeds them!

The dogs know who feeds them!

Speaking of hunkering down, Jimmy and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage if he hangs in through next week! He continues to remind me that “all he does” is work, fix the things we break, and finance/indulge my writing and tennis obsessions….

There’s really not much I can say to dispute that, except sing:
“If I bake scones and blog all night long…It’s a Family Tradition!”

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Wishing you and yours the merriest Christmas and a blessed 2015!
Jimmy, Leslie, Emilie, Mollie, Gracie, James and Tommy