This comes to mind as we sent out our New Year’s card and our decision to host an open house on New Year’s Day welcoming 2016.
We are declaring 2016 as the Year of Joy and Love. We have come to learn how important it is to be joyous about the small and big things in our lives; and we have learned how also to increase and deepening our love for each other. Indeed, at the time of her diagnosis we made the decision to appreciate what we have – including each other; and to celebrate that rather than trying to create some new and different in our lives but instead to cherish what we have.
There are two milestones in 2016 that drive us to our declaration. Our granddaughter, Emily, turns 13 and she will celebrate the Jewish ritual of Bat Mitzvah – the public ceremony marking her entry into religious majority. Then later next year Susan and I will celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary.
Both of these milestones were not on the horizon in 2000. Susan’s diagnosis and condition convinced at least the medical establishment that she wasn’t going to survive very long. Of course, we had our own family history of breast cancer that caused the death of Susan’s mother and my mother.
Well they were wrong. It has been 15 years and we sometimes think about all the things we have been able to experience together since then:
- The marriage of our daughter. (Our son was already married)
- The birth of four grandchildren.
- Career success by each of our children and their families.
- Our own 60th and now 70th birthdays.
- Our grandchildren’s “passages” through their own early youth.
Let’s just say these are Love & Joy Steps.
- We say “I love you” a lot. Sometimes randomly however whenever we leave each other – for an appointment, going grocery shopping or just going to bed.
- We kiss a lot. Again, the “I love you” always comes with a kiss.
- We attend every family “celebration.” Now this is no small event, given the size of our extended family. Let’s see, 9 weddings of nieces and nephews; bar/bat mitzvah of about of about 5 grand-nieces or nephews; “big birthday” celebrations for the 60’s 70’s 80’s and even 90’s of siblings or their mates. Two 50th wedding anniversaries in the family. We will be the third.
- We go to religious services every Friday night. We find our “faith” is an important source of joy and love.
- We continue to work hard in our respective professions – me with The Actual Dance and Susan in her assisted living work, though she is retiring from a particular job, she intends to continuing to ‘work.’ Finding meaning in our own activities sustains us individually that strengthens our bond.
This list is offered for your consideration. We have come to learn that we need to work at having Joy and Love. A very, very wise friend of ours has said: “You need to make a celebration because trouble comes uninvited.”
So here we go! We are making an entire year of Joy and Love – celebrating with our family and especially our first grandchild to become a b’nai mitzvah and own 50th wedding anniversary. We hope you will join us!