The Armstrong Archives (80): Christmas Letter, 1979

Thurs., December 13, 1979 Here it is the end of 1979! I don’t think I’ve written anyone but my parents in months, so please forgive me for being so impersonal as to not even write notes, but this will give you some idea of what’s been happening with us. And, my first New Year’s resolution will be to try to improve my correspondence habits!

Alan finished medical school March 31st. He graduated with honors, right near the top of his own class at Wayne as well as in the top 10% nationally on the medical boards. He was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha (national honorary medical society), and in all we were very proud of our “daddy” (as you can see by the fact we’re bragging on him now)!

Shortly thereafter, we moved all our belonging into storage, visited our families in the Sault for a couple of weeks, and then took off for a wonderful vacation to Florida. Fortunately, the boys were good travelers, and we really enjoyed a spectacular spring…springing all the way down from southern Ohio to Miami, and it was still spring when we returned to the Sault a month later. On the way, we visited with many friends, some I hadn’t seen since college, and lots of spouses and children that our family had never met. That was my favorite treat! In Florida we built sandcastles, hunted seashells and sand dollars, caught starfish in buckets, and chased pelicans. Mostly, we just soaked up a lot of each other’s company—something we’ve never been able to do in all our boys’ short little lives! How we love being a family and having one another!

In the midst of our celebrating came the awful news that both of Alan’s parents had died in a totally unexpected tragedy. We drove night and day and got home shortly before the funeral. It took a long time to even grasp reality, and it seemed like months before we thought of much else. We are so grateful for all the love and encouragement we received from all those who were aware of what was going on. It also really helped to spend about a month with Alan’s sibs and families in California; it kind of started us back on the road to the land of the living.

At the end of June we moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Alan began a three-year residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital. At the orientation meeting, the chief resident (who’s a Christian) encouraged all the incoming interns by saying that his family had found their first year a very rewarding and positive experience. I felt a little amazed that just such a possibility might exist. Everything I had ever heard or read about what to expect during internship was totally depressing. Internship was supposed to be a tribal rites, trial-by-fire sort of affair, and I could hardly see how that would strengthen any relationship! Well, here is half over (the easier half I must confess), and I will say that our family is more loyal, unified, and in love than ever. It has taught me a lot about trusting the all-sufficient grace of the Lord. He provides for what He orders!

About July another blessing became obvious; we’re hoping for a new addition to the family around March 5th. We couldn’t be more delighted! Alan is already calling the baby “Jonathan,” although we can both see so many advantages either way that it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Aaron has plans to build a triple bunk bed so all three kids can sleep in the same room, and Michael affirms that he and Aaron are “the big guys” now…they will take care of the baby! (In more ways than one, I’m sure.)

The first few months of pregnancy generally slow me down to a survival status, but by October most of the nausea had subsided and I entered that euphoric middle period when not much seems able to make me worry! The kids and I pretty much settled into the house and society. Alan bought me a piano to while away the lonely night hours, and he build a sandbox and swing in the basement for the boys. He does work awfully long hours, usually 80-100+ per week—but we always enjoy what we can get of him…like the poster of the cat by the window: “Love understands and therefore waits.” It won’t last forever.

There’s so much more! We had a lovely “honeymoon” while Grandma babysat, and then we took the boys to Niagara Falls and Toronto on our week off in November, etc, but I must quit. Hope you appreciate the exposition on the Christmas card concerning Isaiah 9:6. We know that many of you have already trusted and believe on Christ, whom to know is “life eternal.” God bless you all!

Love, Alan, and Kathi 1378385_10151610607586863_1477307427_n

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