On the last day of the year, I sit to think about the gifts of the previous 365 days. Late December always lulls me into a sense of slowing toward closure, but then January appears with the same speedy progression as every other day, and I feel like I’m behind before things even get started.
This year I’m trying to be ready for January’s pace: I’ve got goals – finish a book by February (at least a solid second draft). Toggle back to law. You know, small things. I’m also reminding myself that it’s okay for plans not to work out on schedule.
And now, to the recap.
2019 held major milestones for our family.
- Two graduations – middle and high school. Two freshman – Pali High (Go Dolphins!) and U of Oregon (‘Sko Ducks!). Both boys are taller than us. They make me laugh, and they make me proud – in the way they encounter new people with kindness, and new ideas with curiosity. They love to watch and play and talk a lot about basketball and football. They sometimes play Sunday morning football with my dad, and have recruited friends to the game. Emmett started Junior Lifeguards this summer, and continues Jiu Jitsu. Aaron coached kids’ basketball teams at the park, coached basketball all summer at sleepaway camp, and coaches at the Eugene, Oregon YMCA. I still can not pay either of them enough to go to a museum.
- In a week we will mark five years since Maria moved in with our family. This year she completed her first year as a pre-school teacher, and began her second. She is beloved by every child who has had the pleasure of being in her class, and has fielded at least one marriage proposal from a four-year-old. She is a modern Mary Poppins. After teaching all day, she goes to college to work toward her degree.
- Christopher, in addition to brilliantly steering his educational software company into its second decade, is both the light and the rock of our whole family. He is the person called upon to fix all technical and mechanical issues (equally handy with a hard drive and a plunger), and who keeps everyone laughing and moving. In 2019, he hiked the Grand Canyon from north rim to south, with my cousin Mitch. This year they’re going to do it again, doubled.
- As for my 2019 highlights: I signed with my first literary agent, who sold the audiobook for my novel Shelter Us, which was the inaugural “Palisades Reads” selection. Wearing my lawyer hat, I represented young immigrants in their path to legal status in the U.S. and worked on a team enforcing a consent decree protecting detained immigrant youth. In the early morning of the day my son graduated from high school, I secured the release of a grieving mom from immigrant detention. That was a very good day. In September, I left my job to concentrate on completing a book, and to spend more time with my boys as they transitioned to new stages. I’m considering how to make the world better in 2020. Voting rights, immigrant rights…ideas welcome.
Our family started the year with a beautiful trip to Costa Rica with the Heisens, and in summer had an awesome vacation in Wyoming with the Diamonds (where we took the photos below). We close the year with the Heisens in Washington Crossing (where we do not discuss politics, no matter how our boys try to goad us).
Tomorrow, on the first day of 2020, we will watch the sun rise in the East, through the plexiglass window of a NJ Transit train bound for Newark Airport. We will fly ahead of the sun, arriving in time to watch the Oregon Ducks play in the Rose Bowl, and will watch the day melt into the Pacific from the bluffs where I have been watching sunsets all my life. An auspicious start to any year.
For 2020 I resolve:
To take a few deep breaths every morning, giving thanks for the day to come.
To give thanks every night, as I close my eyes, for everything I can possibly think of to be thankful for.
To remember that “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Wishing peace and abundance of love to all of you.