Merry Christmas to friends and family. This has been a heck of a year… not even sure where to start really – a chronological accounting just doesn’t do justice. I guess I will go with the sad news first.
Grandpa Larry passed away after heart surgery just after Thanksgiving. It was unexpected and leaves a huge hole in both our lives and hearts. I got to go up to the Dallas area and reconnect with my step brothers and others who were close to him as we said goodbye. I still have those depressing moments when I pick up the phone and realize he is not there to talk to. My solace is the thought that “…to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Larry was not a particularly religious man, but as he would say, “It is what it is…” RIP.
My mother Sandi was living with Larry for the past year as she struggled with rapid onset Alzheimer’s. I brought her down to Houston to The Cottage at Spring Branch on the day he went into surgery. She has been improving steadily in her mood and communication since her arrival. The girls and I visited her today. Emily played piano for her and we took a walk in the garden. Tomorrow, she will not remember that we came by…. Day by day.
On to the happier news – we got an addition to the family. This November, Nicholas got married to Flo Allison Steed. She is a fantastic person and her family is a lot of fun. The wedding was wonderful – (Grandpa John and Andy came in from Arizona and did a fine job of representing my side of the family – now it’s my turn to head out there). Nicholas will finish up with Power School (practicing on a nuclear reactor) in New York, before receiving his fleet assignment sometime next year (Maybe we can have our next Christmas with them in Hawaii :))
Earlier this year, Christopher finally got his day in court for the almost four year divorce… The twins are with him and thriving… If you have kept up with us, you know that Christopher has had Laura in his life for some time now. This Thanksgiving, he proposed and the wedding is set for May 25th. Laura and Madi are already family, so this is pretty much just a formality. We will be heading over to their house for Christmas morning – I am officially moving into Grandpa mode! Christopher just transferred to Midwest Patrol where he will be working night shift – this will let him pick the kids up from school and still get a little sleep (besides… all the fun stuff happens on nights!!! :))
Emily is going into her last semester at Angelo State University – her math courses are so advanced that I cannot even understand what she is talking about, much less help her… humbling, it is!! Once she finishes, she will commission with the Air Force and head off to Florida to begin her career in Air Battle Management (at least for the next six years).
Katherine has just finished her first semester at U of H and is doing well. She still rides once a week and keeps up with her reading and naps. In addition, she has been helping her Aunt Monica by babysitting her kids every Thursday…
Valerie is no longer working at St. Thomas teaching French. She is now working in the office at Holy Rosary Church and seems to really like it there. She keeps up with her riding as well and is walking Lumpy every morning!
I am still Lieutenant over the Tactical Section at Northeast Patrol. It’s a great job with good sergeants and officers working with me. I just can’t fathom how young they are all starting to look!!! I’m becoming the old codger…. sigh. Still, I figure I have a few good years left in me!!
I did not attach pictures to the newsletter – because I put several hundred up on facebook this past year – no desire to numb your eyeballs… 🙂
In closing – for us – this year was a perfect example of the human condition… the sadness of loss, the memories, and the celebration of successes and especially relationships!! Let those you love know about it and stay positive!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,