If we were the kind of people who do Christmas letters, this would be a doozy. Nothing against Christmas letters, it just requires a level of effort and an assumption that anyone we aren’t in regular touch with cares what we’re up to. Happy to get them, unlikely ever to reciprocate.
But this one would, as noted, be a doozy. Uprooting after 23 years in the same house (and the desperate dash to get it into saleable condition). Finding a house (starting with the challenge of finding a town in which to look for a house). One daughter graduating high school and going off to college, with proms and banquets and going to national competition. The other daughter entering her senior year of college and, oh yeah, getting hired for a post-graduation job before that senior year even started. And both of them doing amazingly well in school, while at the same time adopting bizarre new interests, which of course is what college is all about. Wife taking a huge leap of faith and letting me buy a house she had never even seen, giving up her job and joining me in the most adorable little town we could afford. Giving up the big blue truck that had carted us around for 13 years, sending it to live on the farm where it could play with all the other trucks. Somewhere in there, there was learning a great new job, and there was also meeting new people, biking new roads and paths, paddling new waterways. There was the suddenly easier access to a city of reasonable size, with all the art and culture and transit to figure out.
Logistically, being far from family is what we call sub-optimal. Eastern Massachusetts is several highly congested states away from here, and upstate New York isn’t ever a quick ride. It feels weird that visiting the place I lived for about forty years requires lodging arrangements. And those logistics led to rearranging Christmas for the first time in many years, so we’ll have Christmas with three of us in our new home and then go up north to celebrate with the rest of the families over the weekend. We managed to get through this year without a loss, but none of us is getting any younger and so the chances to get together cannot be lost.
On the other hand, it’s also an opportunity to do all kinds of new things. Because we live about five feet from most things that happen in our new town, we’ve been out to open mic nights, we’ve made clay birds, we’ve attended every festival and parade. On Christmas Day, it’s likely we’re going to drive about an hour away to watch a re-enactment of Washington crossing the Delaware. Because why would you not.
So all of that would be in our letter, if we did that sort of thing. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.