Christmas in January

Jordan-George-birthday1

Ninety-one years of good, clean living. (Hint: Jordan is 28.)

Prelude: It’s a silent, snowbound scene that I view outside my window as I sit down to write the first blog post of my retirement. Sure, I posted a year-in-review piece on Jan. 1, but this one’s different: This is the first day when I would normally be at work.

Instead, I have the luxury of writing at mid-morning, still in a T-shirt and pajamas. I’m aware that five of my last six posts have been about me, me, me. I’ll excuse myself by saying, well, it’s not every day that someone retires and has the chance to look back at a fulfilling career and all the people who contributed to it. And in the coming days, I expect there will be another dose or two of me, me, me — you know, new year’s resolutions and all. All that is just to say that the focus will change soon enough and, if all goes as planned, you’ll see more guest bloggers this year.

And now, with the background music changing from Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris to KT Tunstall, it’s time to write.

***

When your family has two end-of-year birthdays tucked between the major holidays, it can make for an extended celebration.

That was the case on Saturday, Jan. 2, when we finally all got a chance to gather under the pink pencil Christmas tree that, for aesthetic and practical reasons, has replaced the traditional green Noble fir in the corner of our compact living space.

Most of us — that is, Nathan & Sara, Jordan & Jamie, Lori & myself — were together Christmas Eve but Simone & Kyndall were just days into a  well-earned vacation in a tropical locale, so we had to defer our gift exchange until they returned late last week.

It was worth the wait. It always fills me with a simple joy to see our three kids and their partners enjoying themselves and each other. Over dinner, drinks and board games, the conversation grows louder and bawdier. Beneath it is an affection for one and all, which is all the more remarkable considering how wildly different they are from each other in upbringing and personality.

Xmas 2015 (2)

Clockwise from bottom left: Nathan, Simone, Kyndall, George, Lori, Jordan, Jamie and Sara.

Lori and I had celebrated my birthday earlier in the week, ending with a Japanese dinner with a couple of friends. On Saturday, Jordan was the focus. Our youngest son — the one who’s gone from enlisted infantryman with a tour of duty in Afghanistan to a dean’s list student majoring in biology at a small liberal arts school — turned 28 years old on New Year’s Eve.

His future is bright and I know all of us wish him and his wife the best as we all head into this new year.

As for me? I’m a year older and I’d like to think a year wiser.

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