Happy New Year! In August? Yes.

This is the gorgeous view I enjoyed earlier this week. Will I be there this time next year? Physically, I'm planning on it, but metaphorically speaking, are we ever really in the same place?

This is the gorgeous view I enjoyed earlier this week. Will I be there this time next year? Physically, I’m planning on it, but metaphorically speaking, are we ever really in the same place?

I’m back. I know that is a pretty obvious statement, but it seems like an appropriate announcement since I haven’t posted a blog entry in over a week. So, why the silence? Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Well, my sister-in-law generously treated us to a mini-vacation. She paid for four days of granny-care, and then, my husband, our children and I joined her and other family members for a scouting expedition at Smith Mountain Lake. We are planning a family reunion for next summer and this was an excellent opportunity to spend some time at the potential reunion site and learn more about what the area offered.

What can I tell you? The resort was beautiful—even better in person than it was on-line. How often does that happen? The amenities were plentiful. Children loved it. Adults loved it. We are psyched about going back next year and sharing it with the many cousins, aunts, and uncles from my husband’s side of the family. All in all, I’d say it was a very successful adventure.

And for us, it was a real luxury. This was the first time in over a year we have left town and spent the night somewhere besides home. We knew my mother-in-law was in good hands, so there was no worrying, no fretting, no concerns about her well-being—for the first time in over a year. Unless you have already travelled this road, you can only imagine the relief that comes with a few days of respite care.

For me—and I suspect for others—this little get-away wasn’t just about a day by the pool or breathing the crisp, humidity-free mountain air. It was about marking time. Just a year ago, we attended the family reunion days after my father-in-law’s funeral. As my husband said, “We are living in 1 A.D. One year After Dad.”

On the way home, I told my husband that I felt that this trip not only marked a solemn one year anniversary, but for me, it felt like the beginning of a New Year. Since we anticipate returning to that same location in one year’s time, I was pondering what this coming year would bring. Where will we be as a family?

A lot may—or may not—happen between now and next summer. Some of it depends heavily on our actions, our decisions, but some of it does not.

Will my mother-in-law still be alive? If so, will she be living with us? What will her quality of life be? Since we don’t anticipate her getting better, should we anticipate her getting worse? How much worse?

I’ve already declared my plans to do intermittent fasting and exercise more regularly. Will I lose weight? Will my blood-pressure go down? Will I pass out from hunger while at the gym? Not if I don’t work-out on the days I fast. I knew I was looking forward to fasting for a reason.

My daughter starts Kindergarten at the end of this month. What will it be like to have a child in school? What will she learn? How will she grow? What will she be like a year from now? Children change a lot in the course of a year, so how will her six-year-old self be different from five-year-old self?

Will my son be potty-trained? Ever?

And of course, this list of questions about the future and where we will be—physically, spiritually, financially, emotionally, intellectually—goes on and on. What about my husband’s job? My career path or lack of one? Our rental properties? Our messy, messy house? Mother-in-law’s stuff in storage? This blog? It just seems like we have a lot of unfinished business, room for improvement, and open-ended questions, but then, isn’t that always the case? Certainly, some of these issues I wrestle with today will be resolved a year from now, and many of them will just be replaced by others. We can only guarantee that things will be different.

Change is different. Change is good. Change is a part of life. Buck up and get used to it. Yeah, that’s one of my daily mantras, and sometimes, I get impatient when change doesn’t happen quickly enough.

Even in knowing that I won’t be happy with the outcome of every situation in my very full life, I don’t find any of this scary or daunting. In fact, I find thinking about the unknown to be exhilarating. Here we are in August, and I feel like it’s the New Year, minus the champagne, the sparklers, and the ball dropping in Time Square. I really do feel like making some New Year’s Resolutions and cooking some hoppin john. Are collard greens even available at the grocery store this time of year?

A New Year awaits!

(Okay, it has occurred to me that not everyone reading this will get the reference to hoppin john and collard greens. Those are two dishes always eaten on New Year’s Day provided you are a good South Carolinian and despite living in Maryland for 14 years, I AM a good Sandlapper!)



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