Friday, December 18, 2015

Reflections of a year gone by...

2015 isn't quite over but I am looking forward to 2016. The past 12 months have had their ups and downs but as I write this I smile as I am focused on all good things that made 2015 what it was. 

My year started out fast and furious with me commuting back and forth to upstate NY every day for almost 3 months. I am very grateful to have a job, especially one that affords me all my wants and needs but there are times when the stress and hours make me wish I was either wealthy or retired already! My year started out on a big work project and it is ending on another which is why I decided to write today while I had a moment, rather then waiting till another year had passed me by.

After three months of long commutes I was ready for some relaxation and we decided to splurge when we got an offer that was too good to pass up. I have become quite fond of cruising and the turquoise waters surrounding the island of Bermuda. Although I have gone on two other cruises this time was different, as I said earlier we decided to splurge and boy, oh boy was it worth it! We booked the family / penthouse suite and were pampered like kings and queens. The down side is I don't think I ever want to go back to a normal balcony room so once again it's a good thing I have the job I do so I can save every penny possible before our next adventure on the high seas!

Ariel & Alex's annual tradition while leaving port!
The Beautiful Pink Sand
Bermuda Longtail - I am mesmerized by their beauty
My Happy Place, just past the famous Horseshoe Bay
 I love the time spent in the rolling waves of the ocean, the food and drinks, the shows and of course the island but the time spent with family away from life's cares, concerns and distractions is the reason I love it and can't wait to take everyone on another adventure as soon as possible.

This year I was forced to come to grips that my children are growing up. I watched them go through the struggles of adolescence during which they learned life long lessons about adults, friends and enemies as well as a lot about themselves. The highlight of these life lessons is they had a family to lean on during them. One lesson I always try to impress upon my children is that friends come and go but family is family forever. 

I think one of the harder memories of this year was saying goodbye to my Mom and Roger when they moved to Florida. On one hand I felt alone but on the other I was thankful to have people like my cousins Mert and Bert and my cousin Kim to lean on as well as my wife, kids and In-laws (although I hate that term and I always introduce Chuck and Gay as my Dad and Mom.)

As I said my kids are growing up and Ariel went out and got her first job at Dunkin' Donuts which is fitting considering our families love of the beautiful roasted bean.

She also started working towards getting her drivers license which is much more involved then it was when I went through the process. Thankfully she passed her written test and is now putting some miles under her belt with her learners permit. Rebecca has been the one coaching her but I had a break in my work schedule the other day and I got to spend 2 hours in the passengers seat while she chauffeured me around the surrounding towns.

Ariel has continued her love of music and art both of which have continued to flourish this year. In 2015 along with her love of the piano she taught herself how to play the ukulele, began learning the cello and found a mentor at a local art studio. Sandra has not only helped Ariel hone her art skills but she convinced Ariel to share her beauty with the world by being a sit in model. 

Ariel becoming Art as a model
2015 was a year full of music for the whole family which included me jumping into the mix. I have always loved music, making it, singing it and of course listening to it. I decided that I wanted to prove the saying "you can't teach and old dog new tricks" wrong and picked up a bass guitar. I have been amazed at the methods Alex's guitar teacher used and love watching him hone his talent while encouraging him along the way. I decided I wanted to give it a go and have been pleased with the knowledge Jeff has passed on and can't wait for my work schedule to lighten up so I can get back into the groove of things and pick back up where we left off last month. 

This year my best friend and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. I honestly have to say that my greatest success in life is convincing Rebecca to marry me!

 She has stuck by my in sickness and in health, in good times and bad and now I just need to prolong the till death do us part as long as possible! 

The past 24 years have gone by in what seems to be the blink of an eye but I couldn't imagine a single moment with her by my side. This past year I have experienced people come and go that I thought were friends our family and although I am disappointed about how things turned out I am not really upset when I realize that my family are the only people that I really need.

Were riding the bus to crazy town together as a family!
As I was going through pictures from the past 12 months I realized how much Alex has changed. I have watched him grow from a little baby into a young man who is now as tall as me and reminds me of myself when I was his age. 

I have enjoyed the developing a father son relationship with my boy. For the longest time I felt like we didn't have anything in common but the past year has been a learning experience for us both. I was able to take him with me during a week of work in Maine which allowed us both to spend some time with my cousins Rick and Lynne. I am proud of how much he has excelled with his guitar playing and the fact that he has started to step out of his comfort zone which has opened the door to new band opportunities and friendships. I think the highlight of firsts this year was getting the opportunity to watch Alex harvest his first deer.

I have written about my love of hunting and the memories I have spending time with my Dad as a kid hanging out in the woods. I will cherish the memories I have of hunting and fishing with Ariel as she was my original partner in crime way back when she still liked wearing pink princess clothing and I am thankful that Alex has joined us in our pursuit of the great outdoors.

The next step of our journey will begin on 12/23/15 when we pick up our newest family member - Tiberius, the Doberman Puppy! I honestly never thought I would open my heart to another dog but I was wrong and while I miss Goliath and Navarre every day I am ready to feel the love of a new fur baby. 

As the sun sets in the Bermuda Triangle I can't help reflect on the fact that even though there are moments that make you feel like the weight of the world is upon your shoulders throughout the year they were just that, moments! I have so much to be thankful for and look forward to embracing 2016 with open arms. I know the year will be full of firsts for me and my family but together we will work through them and when the sun comes back up we will look back and remember the lessons learned and smile as we reflect upon the good memories of our life as we lived it day by day!