Parenting is hard

It’s St. Patrick’s day. In 1984, my oldest child was born. I remember checking into the hospital and the nurse saying I would be having a  St. Patrick’s day baby and in honor of that, they would be tattooing a shamrock on the baby’s butt. Whether my serious expression was primarily fear of this whole birthing process or I was so tired I looked as if I were taking her seriously, she quickly assured me she was only joking.

B was probably 6 before she realized that the St. Patrick’s day parade we took her to each year was not actually held in honor of her birthday.

It’s 21 years this month since she left us, and I miss her still.

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3/17/2017 – B, Jan-1985; about 10 months.

And her final school picture, taken not long before she passed away.

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B – Jan-1996; not quite 12 yet.

March is a challenge every year. Not a day in the last 21 years passes that I do not think about her, and I would not have it any other way. Mostly I smile. Occasionally, I tear up and feel the weight of loss. Mostly, though, I really do smile. So much life and memories packed into 12 years and 5 days. In my heart I cherish all she was to those who knew her and turn away any and all thoughts of what might have been. Our time together was limited. I am glad to be someone who was present with my children, so my regrets about that time are so tiny and insignificant relatively to the balance of my life.

But parenting young adults is still hard.

C called early this morning after a major fight with her husband. Unfortunately this is not the heartbreak drama of teenage angst, but the seriousness of a grown-up married people. Trying to be fair and balanced – out the window. My kid is crying, having a panic attack over the telephone. Forget fair and balanced. A said cruel things and there is blood in my eyes.

Okay, not quite that bad.

Being her mother’s daughter, I cringe at some of C’s decisions and mannerisms that come directly from me. I know that when this kind of dust-up happens, it’s not just because A came home and decided to be a prick that day. Having been in Florida only a few months, there are a billion details that one takes for granted growing and becoming an adult in your own hometown. Finding doctors and dentists and making new friends – it is a process. And when shit hits, the gap between what you had before you moved crossed the country becomes the grand canyon.

I talked her down off the ledge, called and checked in on her more than I have in 20 years, since that first summer that she and her brother stayed home alone while M and I were both working. By the end of the day, she’d calmed down and made significant progress finding healthcare providers and making appropriate appointments … in a few weeks. But she found stop-gap help with a local clinic – a referral from an assistant manager at their apartment complex. And with a little guidance from me, began the outline of The Plan for what she would do if this type of thing should come up again.

As for me, it was a busy day at work with a lot of gratuitous meetings that did little other than frustrate me with stranger’s ability to demonstrate their cluelessness. I am a master at compartmentalizing, though, and chugged along and got through it. By the end of the day, though, I was unrepentantly swigging sugary soda.

Parenting is hard sometimes, something no one really stresses before you take on that role, and I am honest enough, selfish enough, to say I do not really love the responsibility and the job itself. But I love the kids involved, all of them, and my hopes for them hinge on their overall happiness. Even when things are not going so well and they do stupid shit that frustrates and/or irritates me, I have to believe they will learn from the experiences.

Another St. Patrick’s day, another of B’s birthdays in the history books.

I miss her.

 

 

Sleepwalking on the darker side

The past week has been rough on me with sleep. It is an unusual occurrence, because I rarely have issues falling asleep or staying asleep. Disruptions happen, though, and some are even depressingly predictable. Like when the trees in my neighborhood start blooming and I am popping allergy medications every 4 to 6 hours. Sudafed, while effective on my congestion and sneezing, will keep me up all night if taken too late in the day. March remains an emotionally challenging 31 days, with my oldest child’s birthday and death day occurring in the same week. Even after 21 years (this year), it’s still sad and it’s still hard.

But the allergy meds that get me through the day make for a very rough night of sleeping. This year is the first I am truly cognizant of the differences and impact regular exercise makes, and I begrudge every second of crankiness that even minor sleep deprivation brings me. If that were not bad enough, the combination of allergy-medication induced lighter sleep and March, for whatever reason it opens up the can of worms of night terrors. That makes life so much darker and seemingly more dismal.

For the most part, I am relishing the go-go-go busy and overload of work this month has brought. I love my family and my friends old and new who make me smile and laugh throughout my days. Darkness happens, and I remind myself that the reality of darkness is only as long and as permanent as I allow it to be and how to leave it in its place. Having been in such awful, terrifying places in my life, I have an almost fanatical appreciation for the joy and great aspects of my day-to-day life. Still, when the horrors of my childhood visits me in sleep, it’s upsetting all on its own, without the additional disruption of the losing sleep over things I cannot change, thoughts and feelings I wish I could ignore if I cannot forget.

Which tends to make me even crankier that I am losing sleep over shit I want to not contemplate any further.

In such a dark mood, dark place I ventured into the gym and for practice this morning. All went well, but I find myself supremely annoyed by the remodel and how my routines have been upturned. Regular folks I used to see pursuing their own Lists nearby most mornings I barely pass in the hallways now, to the point that one such regular remarked today that she never sees me anymore. How true. We both spend a fair amount of time on the stairs, seeking out spaces and equipment that used to be fully contained on one floor or the other.

At least I am not of the grumpy old person camp who snaps at members who may be in the way.

Tonight I got to spend some time with my tribe sister, doing a light routine and yakking and catching up with life and times. We had so much to talk about that my funk-spike did not even occur to me to bring up for discussion. I am happy about that.

The sun is supposed to shine this weekend and temperatures being a warm 70-something degrees. I can’t wait! While others will be outside enjoying it, I am simply looking forward to having no meetings, lighter workload, and just time to pursue my own projects. G – my youngest child – turns 30 on Sunday. Funny but it does not make me feel old so much as marvel that our lives have advanced to this point, that he is healthy, happy, newly married and moving on with a fulfilling and happy life.

It is just a weird dichotomy month for me. Every year in advance I resolve to be less bothered and burdened by the grief that lingers, and every year I am learning how to be kinder to myself when it creeps in and taints my days.

I will say the habits acquired in the last couple of years – regular exercise, healthier eating, blogging and writing routinely, the discipline of managing my own small business and working at a full-time job – have done wonders to keep me out of the emotional cesspool of my own making. While it feels like I am sleepwalking on the darker sides of my life, I am on firm footing with a clear path and a retainer wall that will not let me slide off the edge and down the slippery slope.

There is an edge to the life I have led and the events that have befallen me. I cannot imagine a day where I state with any form of sincerity that I am grateful to be a sexual abuse survivor and the mother of a deceased child, but the day when I am grateful for the beauty and sense the infuses my life is here and its now. My oldest child – I think of her every single day and it makes me smile. My childhood – no getting around that I would be a very different person as an adult. And while I am very, very far removed from perfect, I am better than many and completely good enough.

Sometimes I let myself believe I have all I need, but on the heels of that thought comes acknowledgement that needs change every day. Wanting something badly enough tends to elevate it to need status, or the item becomes less realistically available or emotionally desirable and need for it fades to the whimsy of a want. Understanding the difference and the subtleties of the feelings has been a lifelong task, one that probably ends when the mind regresses or life ceases.

My life is full with lots and lots of good fortune and amazing souls who include me as part of their personal realm. During this month when the sads strike, it seems there is always someone or something that sprawls directly in my path and makes me recognize how truly rich my whole life.

Allow me to be thankful. And grateful. And neurotically repetitive. I have not been as present in this space, but my deep and abiding affection for it, and all of you, remains. I shall endeavor to ponder here more frequently.

A case of the sads

Something happened at the office today that is a rare, rare occurrence: I cried. Not just a little eye leakage, the big, wracking, ugly sobs of grief and loss. The sads of December arrived early this year.

Sunday marks a year since my dear friend James died. While I have missed him this past year, the last few months I feel the empty chair at my mental and emotional table with other stresses from other things.

I am not especially sentimental, and while I feel the loss, it is not just the first anniversary that set me off on my remarkably embarrassing emotional breakdown. A very happy and grateful client came in today bearing gifts – a couple of bottles of James’ favorite single malt scotch and cigars for the gents, scotch and chocolates for me. Always through our long friendship, this is what James would give me every year. Every “girl” needs at least a couple of vices to be interesting, he would always say to me with a wink. When his wife was alive she would give him an eye roll and playful tap on the arm, to stop embarrassing me with his flirty, dirty-old-man schtick. They are both gone now, and I miss them both.

The whole emotional breakdown thing is supremely embarrassing for me. I work in an office with mostly men, and I am typically the calmest person in the whole firm. No matter what the crisis, I tend to maintain my composure. Not today, apparently.

I tried to fix my face, but crying takes a toll. One of the partners came in to see if I was okay, and the water works started again, only more neat and confined this time. I told him it was kind of a rough morning in the gym, that I was struggling with upper body exercises, and after my great triumph yesterday it was kind of a let down to not feel supremely confident about something else. It’s absolutely true, but not worth crying over, not anymore. He knows it. I know it. But the sads of December manifest in mysterious ways.

To this big ball of weeping, my daughter’s birthday is tomorrow, and for the first time she lives almost 3000 miles from me. She and A went to DisneyWorld yesterday for an early celebration, and had it not suddenly hit me again with the bottles of single malt staring at me from across the room, I would have been fine today. I am not an overly involved parent, I miss them being just a few exits down the freeway, and we will go visit next year.

If I’m going to burst into tears, I am going to throw everything I have at it and get it over with, so ot all got wound up in the crying bubble today. Things are better now, though. Staff have been tip-toeing in and out of my office to reassure themselves that all is well. It reminds me that my role here is not just to ensure things run smoothly; I have become part of the fabric of this firm and my atypical behavior is unnerving.

While I really want to go immerse myself in the kitchen’s abundance of sugary goodness, I am restraining myself. Parents of one of our associates were in the office yesterday and brought these fabulous date pinwheel cookies, and I must restrain myself from seeking out more.

Instead I am contemplating a 2017 yoga challenge with my daughter-in-law. To the depths of my soul I know I have no business seriously considering it, yet here I am, looking at my schedule and thinking about it.

Yep, lost my mind. Maybe my common sense will return and I will not decide to add another commitment to my schedule. Then again, maybe time is really precious and memories we make now will be part of all that sustain us later. Maybe I am thinking through my heart rather than the head that compartmentalizes and schedules.

Long into the future, will I remember the work I was doing or the books I was reading or the dawdling that consumed chunks of my days? Unlikely. But K is persuasive that success or failure, trying this challenge together will be memorable, if only for attempting to fit one more thing into our schedules.

How timely that she texted about it today, reminding me of the importance of time and making memories with those we care for and about.

Wednesday mishmash

My daughter and her husband and pets arrived in Tampa Monday and took possession of their new apartment. I am happy and relieved they arrived safely and without incident, and hoping the same is true of their possessions today. Yep, they were sleeping on the air mattress we loaned/gave them while here for a couple of days and exploring and getting acquainted with their new town. C says there were able to secure a ground floor apartment with a patio for their dogs, and the complex itself is very nice. There is no on-site dog park like a couple of complexes they looked at; they have to walk across the street to the park for a dog park. Oh the horrors! She is extremely excited about a full-size washer and dryer in their unit, plenty of parking available, and overall just a nice, quiet vibe.

Sunday night M’s SUV began hemorrhaging oil on our way home from grocery shopping. Thankfully we were less than half a mile from home, and other than spewing oil all over th place at a very brisk clip, it seems just fine. No coughing. No stalling. Was running quietly and smoothly as always. Since it was already dark outside, M stuck a piece of cardboard underneath the oil sieve and wiped and then jacked it up and looked to see if he could see anything under it. The oil plug, the first suspected culprit, was in place. Next theory was the oil filter had exploded, but since there was oil all over the undercarriage, M made the decision to have it towed to the dealership and let them fix it.

So yesterday, having never used AAA before, I set-up a tow appointment after I returned from the gym at 8:45, assuming it would take awhile to get someone. The first available appointment at the Toyota dealership was 4:45, so we had all day. Except when you’re in no particular rush AAA is extremely efficient. They were at our house 35 minutes later, and the dealership was able to accept an early arrival. Finally heard from the service advisor around 6:45 that hoses on the oil cooling reservoir blew up and that it needs rear brakes. Estimate for the oil coolant repair is right around $600, the brakes are probably in the $300 range (guestimating because I cannot recall the precise dollar amount), so I’m rounding up and expecting about $900 on this car. Absolutely annoying, but necessary. M loves that Highlander and we accept it as part of the cost of owning and driving an older vehicle as our go-car.

Except M is so crazy about this car stuff. I mean, seriously nutty. This is an older vehicle purchased used, and it’s going to have issues from time to time – simply the cost of driving. Except every time something like this happens, M theorizes that the parts should never cost as much as they do, the labor should not be so expensive, etc., etc., etc. M, you’re not in the car design business, and while it seems to you the part should be $42 bucks instead of whatever amount it surely it going to turn out to be, it’s light years away from a new/newer model of this particular vehicle that you would never drive anywhere anyway. So let us return to the land of realistic, shall we? Your mechanic friend died almost 5 years ago, and yes, while he’d do the job for pennies on the dollar in comparison, dying kind of makes it difficult to text or pick up the phone and ask for help.

Anyway, it’s just one of those ways we’re different. Part of the problem is he loves that car and wants it to last forever and ever, amen. Because of this strange (to us – maybe other people with other cars have oil cooling systems and have this repair crop up every decade or so) occurrence, he’s now thinking about reliability and what other kinds of ticking time bombs could be under that hood. *eye roll* Probably this will pass with several months of nothing happening, but between now and then, it will be a thought in the back of his mind. Our run with his cars has been very good, outside of being stolen, wrecked, or flooded. My Rav is only 3 years old and drives to work, the gym, and a few errands, otherwise it goes nowhere, because M want it to stay nice and therefore we always take his cars everywhere we go together.

In addition to the Highlander in the shop at the dealership, M’s project car – a 1994 civic – needed a smog for registration. Surprisingly, he took it to the smog shop, being buoyed by the wide margin it passed smog 2 years ago. That thing seems almost indestructible – we’ve owned it for at least a dozen years and other than oil changes and such it seems to just keep going. Driving around in it last night – because it also needed a couple of front tires, has needed them since I took it for smog 2 years ago – I was reminded of 20 years ago when our cars were total beaters held together primarily with prayer. This little civic has thread-bare seats, crappy old carpet, has cracked rubber window things and knobs that routinely fall off when you go to actually use them. But it is a great little spare car and will probably outlive us all. Smog passed, registration paid, the couple of balding tires replaced, it is back in its parking spot until needed again.

Now just waiting to hear the Highlander is done and hopefully that’s it for our cars for the year. But really, we have has to put so little money into our vehicles for repairs I cannot complain. We take care of our vehicles, though, so when something actually breaks it is something completely unexpected.

So this week has been adventures in car-land.

Other than our car repairs, it has been a very uneventful week in my world. I’m working too hard, having a busy social calendar with business stuff and old friends in town visiting. There are so many things on my personal to-do list I’m considering taking Monday off to just get my stuff done and off my mind. Funny thing, of all the stuff on my personal to-do, not a single one of them has anything to do with Christmas shopping or celebrations. My minimalist shopping was done weeks ago, the few actual gifts I needed to purchase and wrap were finished weeks ago.

Also, friend J pointed out to me this morning that Christmas seems the only season with a whole catalog of music. Love it or hate it, it seems there radio stations have embraced the all holiday music all the time from Thanksgiving onward. I mean, Easter has a whole bunch of hymns and such, but other than the Peter Cottontail song (also from friend J), I can’t think of anything near the voluminous Santa sounds coming from most radio stations. Thank goodness for Amazon prime music is all I can say.

And the beat in our pretty normal and mundane lives continues. In the craziness that is the holiday season, I am so glad.

Expectations, feelings, The Holidays

My daughter and son-in-law are presently somewhere in Texas (it’s a big state) enroute to their new home and chapter in their life in Florida. She texts me, her brother and sister-in-law every evening when they are done driving for the day. While I am not especially worried about them on this grand adventure, it is nice to know they made it safely to their next waypoint and to follow their progress on the map.

K and G have acquired Christmas sweaters for G’s holiday party. K’s is actually quite cute, with LED lights that flash embedded in it. G’s first choice was stunningly awful, and I need photographic evidence that he actually wore such an terribly gaudy thing – it would be so out of character.

The holiday madness continues for me professionally right now. My private clients, I met one for a drink and consultation on Wednesday night, lunch with another on Thursday, and M and I are attending another large holiday party tonight. The goodies collected thus far have been extremely generous and the lovely baskets have been divided up between various people we know who will enjoy it. At work, I have found that the vendors I have used through the move have been extraordinarily lavish with their gifts. I have done some horse trading with my bosses and seniors, because that seems to be the sport they prefer to engage in and enjoy … as opposed to me just willingly, happily handing them the object of their desire. Consequently, I ended up with even more booze I will give away to others. G and K have several new bottles of wine to try, M’s cooking wine cabinet has a couple of new bottles, and my trainer gets a little boost to his liquor cabinet as well. Coffee seems big this year, and I have a couple of friends who love unusual coffee beans. Any foodstuff I typically leave at the office, but I did get a couple of lovely baskets out of the deal.

Work-work we are in the middle of a couple of big things right now, so I will be spending my rainy Saturday at the office helping out with the workload to keep things moving. After practice, of course. I have my own self-employment work to plow through as well, so it will be a busy weekend.

And now back from the gym, where I had a most satisfying and productive practice. Finally, after a year atop the nemesis list, the cable 1-legged Romanian deadlift is coming together and working without a lot of swearing involved in the effort.

I confess – not feeling especially festive. Not depressed, unhappy, or sad, just not feeling the holiday happy-happy-joy-joy, as if I am falling far short of the holiday feeling expectation. I mean, I have at least my normal level of happy-happy-joy-joy, and maybe a smidge more because there are good things going on around me with people I love, admire, respect, and really, really like. The expectation that comes with the holidays – I theorize it is the root of the problem for so many – the expectations of being happy and grateful that come with the holiday season. Find your family toxic 360+ days per year, yet there is something inside us that says it’s Christmas, and we should all get along. But we don’t. We just don’t. So why set ourselves up for the great disappointment that comes with it? I don’t know. Or have a job that does not pay adequately to overcome the financial challenges yet have this strong, strong desire to spend, spend, spend on gifts for the nearest and dearest that will make them happy, and us as well while the spending/gifting high lasts. Then the crushing reality of additional debt or reverse progress on savings goals and the anguish and disappointment that comes with that.

Those are just a couple examples of holiday blues scenarios I have coped with over the years. Happily for me, I have slowly weaned and trained myself out of such things, but I feel the sadness of others around me and so powerless to help or even comfort them. So I am am going to restrain myself and cease even trying. I wish I had more empathy or capacity for understanding, but if someone is sad and wants to be left alone with their sadness or somehow gives off a vibe of that, I will stop reaching out. The worst part for me? I do not feel worse about it; I have reached a point of acceptance that there is nothing I can do and listening is so inadequate in this situation. Hence my absolute sureness that I am a lousy candidate for coach of any stripe. Everything in me wants people to help themselves, and intellectually I completely understand that sometimes helping ourselves is nearly impossible. Perhaps if I had better training and tools in my toolbox I would feel differently. But as a friend, my ability to understand and cope is severely constrained.

C suffers from both depression and anxiety. K suffers from anxiety. Friend J is coping with recovery from a debilitating illness that has taken so much of his strength and endurance. Others in my life too numerous to call out individually here. I have concerns about each of them, and my deepest, darkest fear is that I will fail them when they need me most for my lack of training or ability to be there for them in a moment of genuine need. With all my close friendships, that there is always the possibility of some critical component I am missing that will let them down in the clutch.

Sometimes I fear being a nice enough, good enough, smart enough person is inadequate. I fear my own inadequacy on so many levels.

So I try very hard to build my strength in the ways I can right now. Whether it’s the zen of exercise or the curious mind that is reading anything and everything related my interests as well as just managing our lives in the times we are living in, I am conscious of trying to learn and to build some reserves and some strength. I wish to be more courageous and brave, not quaking on the inside while fighting the impulse to cower and run away on the outside.

The holidays are different for each of us, and I believe difficult for many. Maybe if I could completely disable my give-a-shit switch I would be better, but unfortunately it’s a dimmer switch and only goes dim to bright to blinding, never off. Le sigh. Me and my first world problems, I know.

I am working hard, because I do want to feel completely confident I am enough. The march forward is littered with stalled attempts and learning experience experiments, but it’s also cluttered with many small successes the push me ever forward. From just getting through the holidays to coping with the unexpected discomforts that inevitably crop up in life, this is a war I will win. Eventually.

Walking away a winner

Today was a bit of a rarity: M came to the office to (1) see the new office in our moved-in state and while still in it’s bright and shiny newness, and (2) bring me some soup and crackers to try and settle a troubled tummy. The upset stomach started in the middle of the night last night, making me late for the gym this morning and question whether to take a morning off or try and see what happened. However, since I was 99.99% sure whatever was is giving me grief is food consumed related, I went ahead with practice completely confident I was not contagious. Practice went fine – no abs for me today – and for the most part the day has progressed pretty well. Glad I chose to pursue my List of the day, because I was fine while on the gym floor and completely absorbed and felt fine.

The partners here are rabid runners and love, Love, LOVE talking running with M. They love hearing the stories of his ultra days, even though they are all marathoners right now and running on Sunday in the California International Marathon, so it was fun for them to hang out with M for 2 hours and talking running. A few of our newer associates had not met him before, and when one of them innocently asked why he no longer competes, they got to hear the story of how he won the big race and walked away a winner to finally find himself a wife, and a non-running wife at that. We will be at CIM on Sunday, because a bunch of our friends are competing, my son’s training group is competing, and it’s just seems to be what we do every year.

After M left, one of the newer associates was still perplexed as to how he could retire at the top of his game. Being as he is not that far away from the competitive nature of law school and now immersed as a staff attorney, which in and of itself means a lot of long hours, the pyramid to “the top” in his vision is likely exceedingly tall and steep. M’s training life was not all that different; if he wasn’t working he was running in the mountains or resting. There was no time for much of a social life, and I would have dumped his ass for sheer neglect had we met when he was racing. So I understand running was his priority and focus in those years and once he reached the goal he had set for himself, he retired from competition.

But it of course got me thinking about life and how we handle the day-to-day business of living our lives once we triumph over something we have been chasing. What happens next?

With work and career success, I feel like I have plateaued and will hover around here and the next teeny tiny steps will be toward downsizing with an eye toward part-time work or retirement. Not for a good 10 years or more, but eventually. I am not interested in chasing higher profile jobs or being an up-and-comer in a larger firm. I like my little cocoon in the firm now, where nearly everyone addresses me as “boss,” including the 4 partners. As one of the seniors said to a newbie last spring, we all know who really runs the firm. Which makes me smile.

As a parent, my kids are both grown, married, and leading independent and interesting lives. I love being a voice of experience, but honestly, they seem to have sound judgment and making good choices and decisions. For quite a few years now we have felt more like peers than parent-children, and I like that. I do not need to be consulted on their decisions, although I am happy to listen and talk it through with them when the crossroads appear in their lives. I feel fine being told about their activities or if there is some serious health-related issue going on either at the time or beforehand, please. I respect their need for autonomy and space as much as I would respond if they wanted or needed me to be present in a support capacity. In the culture I have worked to foster, this is how family works.

Besides, both my son- and daughter-in-law love that they have such cool parents-in-law.

Other things I’m pursuing? There is no clearly defined peak or end point for the exercise, unless illness or injury sidelines me, at which time healing will be the priority so I can get back on track with exercise. Education is another lifelong pursuit, although not so formally as in college or specific training courses. My reading list is constantly full and being replenished with things I hear about through various sources. I also have a very long list of hobby-like things to try or pick up again, most of which have fall away in favor of daily gym pursuits or the couple of yoga classes per week.

Thinking about this today, I do not see there is anything in my life right now that is so all-consuming that I will win the grand prize and retire from it. But I can understand the confusion of a hard-charging type A who cannot imagine life after success. We type A-/B+ people have learned there is always going to be new challenges to fill the void.

Either that or I am an unambitious slacker. Which I am not. So whatever void is created with each successful albeit vague goal I may have set somehow, there is always something else on my bucket list ready to be started or to be prioritized higher to take its place.

Perhaps it is merely a matter of perception and semantics. In my life, I do not see “winning” as culmination of a pursuit. Instead, I see it as an ongoing, integral part of the life I am leading and a reshuffling of priorities as things reach a conclusion. Otherwise, I suspect I would still be dreaming of my mother of the year award and valiantly attempting to helicopter parent my adult children and micromanage those around me at work. Accompanying such a scenario, negative girl and wildly insecure girl would be out of their boxes, running rampant and burning fields behind us. And really, who needs that?

Happy Friday everyone.

Giving Thanks in 2016

M and I have been hanging our Christmas lights and chatting with friends near and far much of the day thus far. We are meeting the kids and a few friends for dinner at a restaurant in a bit, then returning home to turn on our newly purchased and hung lights for the final weeks of 2016 we get to enjoy them.

Every year for the last Christmases we have actually lived in this house we have tried to get our lights hung Thanksgiving day or the weekend after. Every year it has been December before we got it done. Finally, this year, we have the lights we wanted. Our first year we bought late and got our “better than no lights” choice. Last 2 years we have had those hanging/dangling lights that are nice at night but look yucky in the daylight hours. This year, we finally have the set we’re delighted with and cannot to return home tonight and see them blinking and twinkling in the darkness.

Yeah, it really does not take much to make me ridiculously happy.

C and A are leaving for their new jobs and home in Tampa in just 2 weeks. Eeeek! Originally it was January, but their firm is working feverishly to close their center by the end of the year, so they are moving about 6 weeks sooner than originally thought. While we are very happy and excited for this next chapter in their lives, ain’t going to lie – I will miss the security of having them just a few exits down the freeway.

On the other hand, Disney World in 2017 seems like a much closer reality than it was a few months ago. I have a friend who lives in Virginia who travels with his parents to Pensacola every year, and with some advance planning we could get to see them while were are there as well.

As a family and as a tribe we had our share of ups and downs this year. There were job losses and changes. There was serious, life-threatening and life-altering illness, auto crashes, unexpected and terminal car breakage, and other shit happens life stuff. Fortunately, these matters caused discomfort, anxiety, fear, and inconvenience in the moments, but in each situation work-arounds were achieved, resolutions and solutions found. We also had 2 weddings that went off spectacularly and without a lot of drama-trauma, only great joy, families joined, new friendships born, old friendships reaffirmed.

Near as I can tell, no one is homeless or starving again this year. Wishing my realm we are mostly healthy or on the road back to health, happy, looking forward to the days ahead … meaning those that come AFTER the holiday madness.

So I have much to be thankful for again this year. Especially to you, my faithful blog readers, commenters, friends. If you are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with us, I wish you and your family a warm and wonderful holiday. If this is just Thursday in your part of the world, best wishes for a good day to you as well.