Like a new pair of glasses, I put on the new year and get a clear view. Looking back, my thought is, "What was I thinking?" Looking forward I say, "Let's not waste any more time on unproductive situations controlled by people who will not change."
Like early morning fog rolling away under the sun's warming rays, my vision reaches farther, takes in more detail. No resolutions here, no self-defeating promises by which I can berate myself when I fall short. I press on. Climb higher. Go farther. Choose wiser. Love more extravagantly. Laugh always.
Seeing old friends helps bring life into focus. Sam and Joyce with their three young adult sons joined us for Christmas dinner. Then I joined them for a day of skiing, followed by supper, hottub and games. S & J knew me when. Back in the day. Before I became who I am now. They helped shape my life with their friendship and love.
Contrasting life between then and now? Clarity in high definition.
And then there's a long trip that intensifies issues into compact, concise realizations. On December 28, I loaded the Pilot with three boys and all our ski gear, drove 11 hours through mountain passes, past four other world-class ski resorts, to arrive at Mt. Baker, Washington for four days of skiing.
I cooked, washed and drove them up and down the hill. I skied one day. I took photographs. I discovered how to impress a 17 year old when I beat all the boys at ping pong. Repeatedly. Then I swam laps in the pool and soaked in the hot tub. In between I slept under a sky light that poured full moon in my eyes for two nights and pounding rain on my ears for the next. I loved the curvy mountain roads, ignored the snow and slush, got soaked in the lovely rain and reveled in the feeling how much the terrain mirrored my Missouri childhood haunts.
I learned that being alone and being lonely are two different things.
It was a trip for my son, his Christmas present. He took two friends and they all had a ball. They also had disagreements, but who doesn't when you spend every waking moment together for six days? They learned the first big lesson about how anticipation doesn't always match reality. The snow conditions were not optimal but in spite of it all, they had a good time overall.
On the last day, my son said, "This was good, but next time I come, I need to stay longer. Two weeks at least."
That was my Christmas present. Yes. That and the silence. No cell phones. No texting. No Facebook. I looked in his eyes. I heard his voice. We talked. That's all I wanted for Christmas. The best gift. Presence.