Even though Walt and Grace are now adults in their late twenties, the best part of Christmas for me is still getting up on Christmas morning and watching them open presents. It makes me continue to believe in the joy and magic of Christmas.
There has been much joy to go around these days for us. The happiest news is that Grace and Matt got engaged in August and are planning a September 2018 wedding in Mt. Washington, New Hampshire! In addition to those glad tidings, both Matt and Grace were promoted this year – Matt as an Analytics Manager with Wayfair.com, and Grace as Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence with SunLife Financial.
Walt moved into his own apartment with Lexi in Westwood, NJ, which is closer to his office at Crestron. He is still working as a software engineer as well as doing consulting work for a small healthcare company. He and Lexi have had a lot of wonderful adventures including a fall cruise with Lexi’s parents to New England and Nova Scotia.
Bill stayed busy working with a contractor friend on renovating a cottage that we rent, and it really turned out great. Of course, I had some input into many of the design features that were made (all those hours watching HGTV finally paid off). He and Brandy, our one-year old female St. Bernard, are constant companions, and she is one spoiled but lovable mutt. Bill also treated all of us to Hamilton tickets this fall, and it exceeded everyone’s expectations.
As for me, retirement has really been a blessing. I haven’t been bored a nanosecond, and I had no idea how bad the stress from my old job was until it was lifted off my shoulders. In addition to starting a blog, I have done a lot of writing – some part-time for Cengage, some creative writing, and some for one of the non-profits where I volunteer. The women that I have met through these organizations never cease to inspire me. I have also become involved with the alumnae board of my old sorority, Delta Nu, and spending time with women whom I haven’t seen in 40 years has been a blast. In October Kate and I spent our annual vacation week in the Great Smoky Mountains at a Folk School, and I can now make a mean loaf of French bread! Kate and I celebrated 50 years of friendship this year!
The opening scene of the movie Love,Actually shows the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport with the narrator saying, “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people onboard were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love is all around.”
That scene of happy families and friends joyfully embracing at the gate gets me every time I watch it, and it reminds me that despite all the crap that goes on in Washington and elsewhere, especially this year, I must remain hopeful that most people are still really good at heart.
May your Christmas and holidays be filled with all those you hold dear, and if I haven’t seen you this year, let’s see if we can rendezvous in 2018.