Well, I can tell you that I had a really funny Christmas letter planned for this year, but I am saving it for next year because of the birth of our son, Paul Arthur on December 18. He was two weeks early, so we were kind of unprepared for the Holidays. Paige is an extremely proud 5-year-old big sister. Before you rush to the bottom of the letter to avoid boring drivel about our kids, I must tell you that Paul has already changed our lives for an extraordinary reason – he was born with Spina Bifida. This is a really scary name, especially for Paul and Paige, so we are thinking about calling it “The Bif”.
The Bif sounds like a school bully that looks scary and steals your milk money. We know that with brains, courage, and perseverance, any bully can be beat. We plan to fight real hard and we know that Paul is already quite a fighter. He has already made it through two surgeries and made it home in time for Christmas, even after they said not to even hope for getting him home in less than a week to ten days. The specialists have already given him very little chance to walk, even with braces. But he is a fighter, Bif isn’t that big and we’re not giving up so easily.
Sting did a concert recently in Tuscany, Italy. It was held on September 11, so it was a strange mood for a concert, anyway. Then he started to talk about his keyboard player, Kenny Kirkland, who had recently died. Kenny was forced by his mother to practice piano everyday, while the other kids got to go out and play soccer. So Kenny would play with the windows open so that he could hear the kids playing outside while he practiced. He was feeling pretty bad about missing out on the action until he talked to his classmates about it and they told him how great it was to have his music to listen to while they played soccer. What was a chore now became a joy, because someone was listening and enjoying his work. The moral: We are going to try like hell to get Paul out to play soccer. If he can’t, then he’ll work hard on the piano.
Sorry if this letter got a little deep, either in philosophical or BS terms. We have been forced to re-examine our lives and relationships. Our family is so very lucky. When the news about Paul spread to our friends and family, the outpouring of support was absolutely stunning. The hospital telephone operator said we won the award for most calls. I am sure that Paul was sent home so early in part because we became such a nuisance at the Infant ICU because of so many visitors. We will never be able to express enough thanks to all of you that called, visited, or prayed for us. We are very confident moving into the future that, no matter how things progress medically, we are going to “Beat the Bif”. So watch the soccer fields and if you don’t see Paul, open your windows and hearts and listen for the piano. We’ll be there.
With love from the Natzke’s
– Jim, Kathie, Paige and Paul