For auld lang syne, my dears

1385237_10151906005362719_501409255_nThis will be a brief one as I’m running uncharacteristically late, but I want to write one more post for the year …

It’s been a challenging one for many of us. Relationships have ended and begun, job situations have changed, loved ones have passed on. The world is in chaos, the weather makes no sense, avocados are expensive.

I choose to end this year with gratitude, for even with all of the uncertainty that marks my life, I have much to be grateful for.

I’ve just turned 45 and while I’m still a work in progress—and, in fact, I hope to always be—I have a fairly clear understanding of who I am and why I am. If you know me in real life you probably know that love, in all its manifestations, is the thing that most motivates me, the thing I care about above all else. I have spent the time since Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends and boundless amounts of love, romantic and otherwise. My heart is full.

To everyone who was a part of my year, I thank you with all of my heart for your friendship and support, your encouragement, patience, acceptance and forgiveness, and for making my life rich. You’ve made me laugh, let me cry, read my work, given me work, made me work out, worked with me, co-parented Louie, cooked for me, dared to eat my cooking, and so much more. Some of us have traveled to distant lands, and most of you have accommodated my love of not venturing very far from my living room in order to socialize.

There is much more to say about 2015, and I will do so tomorrow. The champagne’s not going to open itself.

Happy new year, my dears. Make 2016 the year you shine brighter than ever before.

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All the things that matter most

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We buried my Uncle Charles today, and while one is never prepared for these things, his passing was truly unexpected. I have known Charles, obviously, for my entire life and have spent a tremendous amount of time with him. He lived in the city, he worked with my dad (and thus me, a couple days a week), and he was a fixture at family events and holidays and many of the significant times in my life.

The services today were a testament to the man he was—standing room only, an age spectrum between one and 91, people from every borough and at least eight states that I can think of. Charles was a brilliant man, a PhD, a staunch and active Democrat, and I have a hard time believing there will ever be a bigger Mets fan, by way of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In addition to yarmulkes, guests could choose from his vast collection of Mets caps to wear during the ceremony.

Charles knew a lot about a lot of things and was a proud sharer of his knowledge—sometimes to the point of stubbornness. He used Google less to gather information than to verify what he already knew—and, in fact, he did know. He cared deeply about the things he cared about—the Mets, politics, his family, Volvos, dogs. He was a weeper (a gene that I’ve inherited); one of the people who spoke today said that he’d cry at the opening of a shopping center. Not in a maudlin or sappy way, in a feels-things-to-the-core way. This is not always an easy trait to carry, but for those of us who do, it’s an integral component to our selves.

His son, my cousin, spoke beautifully (as did my parents and several other people) and talked about the fact that Charles continually reinvented himself—continued to grow and learn and be active and involved and committed.

Today reminded me of the things that matter most, things like family, evolution, sincerity, passion, the Mets, and love.

In addition to my grief, what I am feeling most right now is unmoored. I may not have spent a lot of one-on-one time with my uncle in recent years, but he was a steady presence in my life. And he was someone I loved very much.

I will miss you, mon oncle.

Let’s go Mets!