This year was not as bad as 2018. Dad's most-played Spotify song of 2018 was "Weightless Again" by the Handsome Family, and in 2019 it was "Mariner's Apartment Complex" by Lana Del Rey, so he's slightly less of a sad old dad than the year before. That might have to do with a happier work environment that no longer makes him crack open a beer after getting home from work and screaming his frustration.
In the midst of a booming economy Dad and Mom didn't get a raise last year, which is to be expected when working in education. They got a lot of appreciation for their work, but appreciation doesn't pay for the kids' college. Considering the pace of global warming, perhaps college will be irrelevant in ten years.
Mom and Dad stayed politically active, but attended far fewer events and rallies than in years past. Dad and Mom's hope that any brighter future is possible might have finally been broken. They still spend too much time on Twitter and watching TV news getting mad and sad about the state of the world.
The children played softball in the spring. One played with gusto, the other mostly played with sticks in the outfield. Half the games were rained on. Mom and Dad decided not to do any summer camps this year in order to spend more time with their kids. Well...this was less decided and more being too insanely stressed to meet the deadlines for camps. And also not having gotten a raise. This strategy worked out well for the first month of summer, then basically meant weeks of breaking up fights and warding off requests to use the iPad.
Dad's parents visited and the whole gang took a trip to Maine, which was a lot of fun. Well, except for the cheap hotel Dad booked in Brunswick with weird activity at night and Mom getting a strange bug or spider bite. Dad also took a trip to Colorado to see his grad school friends. His main response was to feel depressed about living hundreds of miles from his closest friends and family.
The family has mostly been in good health. Mom just recovered from a nasty stomach virus that happened to coincide with a major initiative at work. Dad has had some dental work done, and the painfulness of eating has been the best thing for his weight control in years. One child threw up in class and Mom and Dad hope this didn't cause any emotional scarring on her or them, since they disbelieved her complaints of a stomach virus that morning. The morning routine is usually so hectic and stressful that human needs get lost in the shuffle.
Despite all the difficulties they all still love each other. In fact it's probably the only consistent thing they can all count on. Regardless of what happens in 2020, there's a comfort knowing that's there.
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