A few days ago, one of my classmates posted on Facebook that she was ready to see 2010 go. Putting aside how funny it is that she "friended" me a few weeks ago-- this was the same classmate I'd had issues with in clinicals all semester-- I had to agree with her. It was an exhausting and sometimes trying year. But it did have its moments.
We had a number of deaths in the family this year. In August, my son's cousin (my ex's nephew), who was more like an older brother to him, died of a heart attack. He was only 28. We also had three deaths recently in my wife's family. The most awful was the death of her cousin's four-year-old daughter, who died of complications from the bone marrow transplant she received two years ago to treat the leukemia she'd been diagnosed with before she was a year old. Her Uncle Paul, her father's brother, died a couple of months ago, and we just learned that her aunt Nancy, her mother's sister, died a few days ago.
All through the year we struggled with money problems. My wife's job is advertising related, and this is, of course, the first thing cut when the economy tanks. She had three different jobs this year. Finally, it seems that she's in a job that is in no danger of going away. Through a couple of loans from my parents and dipping into my retirement account, it appears that I'll have the financial resources to finish nursing school.
One other little blessing was that the restaurant I work at, which was put on the market over a year ago, has not been sold, and will probably not be sold before I finish school. It would be a pain to be looking for a job while I'm trying to finish school.
Thanks to some planning ahead on my part, and some good Black Friday deals, we were able to cobble together a nice Christmas for the kids. My son seemed to really enjoy the Kindle I got him. Thanks to a gift card from my in-laws and my wife, he was able to start downloading some books right away. His selections were interesting: Marx's "Communist Manifesto" and "Das Kapital," the key works on communism, and Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations," the key work on capitalism. Not surprisingly, he's thinking of studying business and economics. Oh, and he downloaded Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
I was feeling a little too exhausted to feel super Christmasy myself until I saw the sight that is pictured at the top of the post. It happened a few days before Christmas. One of the two owners was hosting at the restaurant. Of the two owners, Dan is the most gregarious and friendly. You'd never know he's survived two bouts of cancer, a coronary bypass and the death of his wife. He takes every day of his life with cheer and gusto. A few nights ago, a young couple had a baby who would not stop crying. After a while, Dan asked to take the baby. Within seconds the baby stopped crying. I had to grab my Blackberry and snap a picture of this-- a guy who never had kids who is great with kids. Later, Dan told me that this always happened; that whenever there's a baby at a family event who won't stop crying, they say "Give it to Dan!" and it never fails; the baby stops crying.
When my son was a baby, I observed that he seemed to have a sense for who was a good person and who was bad; there were people he warmed up to immediately, and those he couldn't get away from quickly enough. And nearly 100% of the time, he was right about their character. And in this case, the baby Dan held was right. If there's a nicer guy on this planet than Dan, I have yet to find him or her. Even the Grinch's heart would have warmed up.
So as this year closes, my wife and I are getting ready to once again celebrate our anniversary apart; it's tomorrow, and she's taking off to Minneapolis to see her family as she usually does for the New Year. I may be going out tomorrow night with my buddy Joe, whose anniversary is also tomorrow (I was actually out with him on New Year's Eve 17 years ago when he met his wife). It's all just as well-- I'm working New Year's Eve and New Year's Day-- hopefully my last ones as a waiter.
So, to all, we made it through this year! Have a Happy New Year's!