We headed “down South” this week to spend the New Year with my family. It was a relatively rare gathering of my immediate family; Mum & Dad, Sister, Brother, Nephews and Nieces. It was even more rare for us to spend so much time together; typically visits are restricted to a weekend arranged around a family event or celebration.
As well as featuring my first dry (and sober) New Year’s Eve since the 1990’s, the extended visit and miserable weather presented the opportunity to waste time together, catching up on events and developments in each others lives.
It was great to see everyone! We seem to have had more than our fair share of challenges over the past year; emotional, physical and psychological. However, we are fortunate… and I am particularly fortunate to have such a strong, supportive and generous family.
As you would anticipate, food and drink were a major feature of the visit. Despite significant temptation, I managed to stay on the straight and narrow, even when presented with a variety of delightful desserts, cheeky cheeses and some of the most extravagant Burgers I’ve ever seen (the “Surf, Turf and Cluck” Burger in particular looked mighty fine!). How my Sister and Mum managed to keep producing meals I have no idea, but we’re all very grateful! Thanks!
Inevitably, in time, the competitive embers were stoked by younger members of the family and a “Girls vs. Boys” challenge was thrown down. The games tested our knowledge, skill and nerves, culminating in a win for the Boys… of course! To be fair, we benefited from the fact that the game was produced in 1995 and some of the questions were rather dated, particularly for those born in the 00’s!
A late Christmas gift allowed me to demonstrate my creative prowess as I built and painted a Pirate Ship. The present included an Eye Patch and Treasure Map, but I resisted the temptation to become a fully fledged Pirate… perhaps next year!
Personally, I’m relieved to be heading into 2014 “on the up”. I’m able to reflect on the trials of the past and look forward with optimism. While others are in a similar position to myself, I feel for people that have experienced a loss, or are still on their challenging journeys and fearful of what the future might hold.
I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2014!