A Gentle Goodbye To 2013

We had all the kids at home yesterday, and the house was resonant with laughter and teasing, generous gift-giving and a love I can only reference as palpable.  My heart beats more deeply, echoing in my chest, snippets of serious conversation that stay in the forefront of my thoughts as I process and hold them as gently as feathers.  “You really are my only mom” (a figurative comment that was so full of history and stories and trust and love that I will never ever forget its intent); “Remember when Grammy would give us shit for playing ball in the playroom and I asked her why it was called a playroom then?”  “I used to think it was so ridiculous that you would treat me like a child when I was over; of course now I realize it was because I was a child”.  Lessons in wine tasting, a book titled “The Story Of A Lifetime” which offers prompts and questions to facilitate the telling of one’s tale in a way that may be at least salient if not interesting.  Laughter that included some good snorts, bad fart jokes and hugs good-bye for which I am never fully prepared.

And so it is as one year ends and another waits in the wings.  I guess I’m not fully prepared.  Certainly for some of the people I love, it has been a challenging year with losses that re-shape the heart.  For most though, it has been relatively gentle.  Our lives are intact, marriages seem happy though not without their requisite effort, young adults are realizing that the operative word has changed from ‘young’ to ‘adult’.  We’re still close and I am forgiven my maternal neuroses that at least can be shared among three.  I consciously tried to be kinder, cared less about judging and more about accepting, placed the notion of acquisitiveness somewhere down on the list where it belongs.  I learned this year, perhaps more than the one before, how deeply I can be touched by the candor and stories of people I have come to know in this little universe.  I have been gobsmacked when I received comments insisting that I have inspired, or tickled, or pleased, or echoed a thought that had been unspoken in someone else’s thoughts.  I’ve been brought to tears and moments of spontaneous delight by David and Bill, Russ and Andrea, Bonnie and Liz, LouAnn and TIna and Ivon, Kizzy, Rhonda.  Of course there are more and I do not intentionally omit anyone – you are in this circle with me and I believe you know it.  People who comment with thoughtfulness and generosity and love.  My friendships have been enhanced and allowed to flourish (for Lori wouldn’t have it any other way).

We found a house to hide in and stand outside of in that mystic fog of the morning when the world demands stillness.  Memories have begun to be made, new places to claim as one’s own.  And we got Bogey – our juvenile delinquent puppy, who should be wearing a leather jacket with a skull and crossbones instead of his snappy little tartan plaid.  Except of course when he’s just so laughably adorable that he is forgiven everything.

I will turn 60 this coming year, a number of some sobriety.  I know that at this point I’d be aged-out of employment in many cases (if I was looking), considered truly senior in the eyes of people with younger eyes and minds.  And yet, I’m so far from done, I don’t swallow too hard at the number.  There is abundant time to try and do better, be kinder, live in moments that should not be ignored, celebrate that which others often miss.  Read more, give more, dance in the driveway and maybe even get up and sing.  Who knows?  There is so much yet to be.  Thank you for sharing this part of the trip with me.  And Happy Happy New Year.

Giving Thanks

Before you head off for parts known, before you begin developing a familiar intimacy with your ovens and stoves, before your refrigerator begs you to refrain from adding one more thing…

There are so many clichés associated with being thankful – and I doubt that I will come up with anything new. Yet, in advance of the arrival of our family, I felt the need to extend my thoughts to all of you.  I’m thankful for so much and words fail me (which I submit is a good thing).  I am truly blessed with a family I adore, a husband who humors my nuttiness and sons/daughters-in-law who accept that their mom is as corny as a Hallmark commercial.  I have an amazing sister who I adore and will miss on Thursday (along with my nephews and niece who will be having their own family Thanksgiving in NY).  I can appreciate the beginning of a new day and I can delight in the feeling of snuggling into bed at day’s end.  I have a body that complains each day and yet we’re still getting along.  I know bountiful love.  We’ve got three pups – two of whom are perfect and one who is re-calibrating the spectrum of mischief that I used to consider part and parcel of puppyhood.  Our home is my sanctuary; I have never felt safer.

I am thankful for all of you who have come to read this blog, write to me and share your thoughts, inspire me with your encouragement and humor.  I love that I have learned so much from your posts, taking to heart much of what you have written and incorporating it into my being.  My friends – in cyberspace or in my physical reality – you are in this orbit of gratitude which circles rhythmically through my life.  And so, you all should be told as often as possible, just how much you are appreciated.  Would that we took the time to say these things more frequently than once or twice a year.  For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday – I wish you stuffed tummies, full hearts, TUMS and love.  Actually, this thought holds regardless of whether there’s a turkey in the oven.  I’m heading deep into the heart of cooking territory for the next few days, so I send this to you now.  Thank you for being who you are to me.