The end of December is like Monet’s Japanese footbridge,
says writer Philip Martin.
For us, this time has been a moving experience,
bridging Christmas and New Year,
dreams with reality,
and the first half of our “grannynanny” sojourn with the last half.
Kate and Nik hosted our whole family in Pittsburgh, the city of 446 bridges.
We attended the candlelight service at East Liberty Presbyterian Church,
drove out to the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum,
and ended our time together at the Phipps Conservatory Winter Flower and Light Show.
We had two enormous feasts. Anthony made his signature dish of paella, complete with fresh lobster and squid.
I made a more traditional meal of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry salad, rolls, and (Stuart’s) pumpkin pie.
The best times, however, were sitting around talking, playing games, singing, and enjoying the newly renovated house, filled with Christmas decorations and Christmas spirit.
When Kate was a little girl, her favorite book was Martha’s House.
We saved the book and found it again this Christmas.
Our wondering eyes discovered many similarities between the main character of the book — the house — and the house we were staying in.
For example, Martha’s house has a set of wooden steps visible from the front door.
The colors are warm, there’s a window seat, and brick fireplaces, and every room looks cozy.
Without consciously choosing this house as a model, Kate has brought her own childhood into the space that will always be her daughter Lydia’s first home.
Encouraging a child to dream,
and then seeing some version of their dreams come true,
is surely among the greatest rewards of being a parent or grandparent.
Two other dreamers, Owen and Julia, got to play in our apartment, just up the street from Kate and Nik’s house.
They made forts, bridges, castles, and traps.
Makes you wonder what kinds of houses they will live in some day!
The New Year
Since Anthony’s family left us, we have focused on moving into our final space, the third floor of the new-old house.
Since Lydia was born, we have slept in five different locations as the house was being renovated.
We loved all the spaces, but this one is our favorite.
As I write these words, I am sitting at the table in the above picture.
About the New Year. About how to make the second half of our time here even better than the first.
I’m ready to cross the bridge tonight.
We won’t be going to any parties. In fact, we might enjoy some hot chocolate and popcorn and go to bed early.
Here is a quote I’ll be pondering as we enter 2018:
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations. ~ George Bernard Shaw
Happy New Year to all.
Would love to know a highlight from your 2017 and your dream for 2018.