ANNUAL: happening once a year; covering the period of a year
I’ve seen holiday letters appear just after fruitcake on a list of things that dampen the holiday spirit. If holiday letters dampen your spirits, run. Otherwise, please proceed.
Happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.1
I am thrilled to report that this was the year family vacations and weekend travels became more fun than work. We went to Disneyland early in the year for our second time as a family. It was much more fun without the 100+ degree fevers we had the first time. We enjoyed a weekend away at an old fishing village on Camano Island with Gil’s folks in the spring and spent Memorial Day camping near Walla Walla with forty of our closest friends. For our summer vacation, we road tripped through Oregon – from the coast sands and lighthouses (Cannon Beach and Cape Lookout) to city sidewalks (Bend) and all the snowy vistas (Crater Lake) and deer-filled campsites (Wallowa Mountains) in between. We ended the summer with another group camping trip to Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island. On each of these trips, the four members of the Cerise family had fun – simultaneously. In other words, miracles happen.
If we accept and internalize the fact of our own mortality, then, by definition, we have to deal with the essential questions of how we live and spend our allotted time. We have to stop procrastinating, pretending that we have forever to do what we want to do and be what we long to be.2
Those of you not teething in the ‘80s may laugh, but the clock of mortality started to tick louder for me this year. The reasons for not pursuing writing (what I want to do) and having the courage to call myself a writer (what I long to be) were no longer as compelling as the reasons to take a chance. So, I did. I swapped my job at the law firm for a job at the kids’ school that leaves more time for writing and freelance editing work. It’s a scary and exciting experiment in choosing passion over practicality. Gil’s promotion to Principal Planner was well timed to keep us off a regular diet of ramen.
A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.3
We celebrated our 10th anniversary this year. We can’t decide if that feels long or short. Mostly, it just feels right. Much is still the same: we still laugh together at things we shouldn’t; I am still the reigning Scrabble champion; and Gil still makes up news stories that I fall for. But, some things have changed: Saturday mornings have more sidelines than headlines; vacations rarely involve passports; and lattes are now a perfectly acceptable substitute for roses.
I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.4
It remains our great privilege to love and be loved by Colin (an active, thoughtful, curious 8 year old) and Caitlin (a creative, joyful, determined 5½ year old). Each stage with these two is more fun than the one before. Colin continues to love sports. Tennis remains his favorite but soccer, baseball, and basketball were also enjoyed this year. Sadly, second graders are beginning to master the rules (fewer wrong goals and no clockwise base running) but there were still some bloopers to spice up sitting on the sidelines. Gil coached Caitlin’s first season of soccer and it was everything you hope for from kindergarteners. There were plenty of “other way!” shouts from the sidelines and Caitlin’s preferred means of travel up the field was skipping. Caitlin moved from four wheels to two this year and Colin moved from two to one. Both children mastered a new language and are now fluent in English and Pokémon.
1Roy Goodman 2Surya Das 3Paul Sweeney 4Charles Dickens