Here it is, the last day of 2013 (well, it was when I wrote this) and, very unoriginally, I'm taking stock of the last 353 days (I took a few days off).
The year started ordinarily enough that nothing stands out until February 26th when we got the alarming news that my mother had advanced pancreatic cancer. What followed was a whirl of appointments, procedures, and rapid weakening. As awful as that time was, and it was awful, I was privileged to observe my mother meet her short future on earth with class and extreme patience for the rest of us who struggled to meet her needs, and ours. An even bigger privilege was having the opportunity to observe Dad patiently and tenderly take on the role of caregiver for Mom and to watch them together.
For 30 years, at least, Mom has had a magnet on the fridge that says: "Life is a grindstone, whether you become worn or polished depends on what you are made of." In the grindstone that was 2013, my parents both shone. Thank you for that.
Thanks too, to my many friends and those of my parents who stepped up to help shoulder our troubles this year. And thanks, especially, to Beth who helped in uncountable ways, up to and including delivering Mom's eulogy.
There was other loss too, as Uncle Pete, Aunt Leoba, and Beth's father also died.
HOWEVER, all was not doom and gloom for our clan in 2013 as Kelly and I had the unparalleled experience of traveling to Italy to visit Sister-Daughter (Sister Divine Providence, SSVM) at her convent in Tuscania. For nearly two weeks she shepherded us around Italy. We went from coast to coast listening to her speak Italian for us as we looked on with pride. And in August she moved back to the US after her year in Italy.
Alex moved back to Tulsa from Los Angeles, accepted a scholarship at the University of Tulsa in the MBA program, switched to Masters of Accounting, and received a graduate assistant position for the duration of his time at TU.
And, I got to spend a week with Sister-Daughter at the convent in Maryland. She went on with life there and I busied myself sewing habits for the new novices, and a surprise habit for the Mother Superior. It was an absolute blast to be folded into her world for a time.
There were basket conferences (two) and a weaving workshop squeezed in as well as two trips to Lawrence, Kansas for spinning and weaving supplies. The kitchen was painted, we got a new heating and air conditioning system, and Kelly and I both got 4 new pairs of socks and 2 t-shirts each. (HA!).
Pardon me if this post reads like a stereotypical bad Christmas letter, but I really need to put 2013 away in order to get started on 2014.
And so, 2013 ends. Tomorrow I'll wake up with the same mess on my bedside table and the same to do list taped to my mirror but nothing will be the same because it will be a New Year. I wish you a happy one.