As we wind down the hallowed year of 2013, I find myself reminiscing – something I do more of, as I get older – about the events of 2013 for which I am thankful. Some are tinged with sadness; others are just outright joy.
I am truly thankful that my Dad is at peace (hopefully among the angels!) and no longer suffering. He had a tough year. I am thankful for his life and the good life he gave us growing up. He is my hero.
I am thankful for my Mom too. She has weathered Dad’s passing with the vulnerable stoicism we’ve come to know. She has learned to live her own life, with constant support from us kids. She gave up a career as a hygienist years ago to marry and raise her family. For that I will always be grateful. She raised us right (even though she never knew until later, what wise guy the two boys could be). And we always had nice white teeth. That hygienist thing, I’m sure.
I am thankful for my siblings – two sisters and a brother – who pulled together to help our Dad, particularly during his last few months, and also supported our Mom during and after Dad’s passing. We did not squabble over who did what, who did more, who did the most during that timeframe – unlike so many families I know, who take such opportunities to rip their families apart. You’ll find any two of us talking about a third sibling every now and then, but we all seem to know what family is and what it means to us.
I am eternally thankful for my wife Joanne. Many people who know me call her a saint. I’m sure I don’t know why… But we still do many things together, from shopping to snoring. She helped me raise two wonderful kids, who are now pursuing their dreams. Robert is a tank commander in the Marine Corps, survived two tours in Afghanistan, and is now a Captain. He can do many more than the 50 pushups I can do…well, almost 50, these days. Danielle is attending Tuft Medical School to become a Physician’s Assistant. Years ago, she wanted to be a surgeon; then she said maybe “just” a doctor. Then she apparently though about that time commitment and figured that, since she wanted to have five kids someday, she’d like to be a PA. Better hours for raising all those kids, we were told. Such a practical young lady…she’ll do well.
I am excitedly thankful that our son and daughter-in-law Erin are poised to give us our first grandchild in June. Finally, I will catch up to my brother, who is two years younger and already has nine grandchildren, the oldest being 18. I’m trying to decide what I want to be called by the next generation. Grandpa? Poppo? King? My wife has settled on Nana for title. I think I might like Papa. It’d be easy for me to remember, so few letters and all. I’ll probably have to clean up my act a bit. Right now, when I get together with my grandniece and grandnephew, I love goading them on. And they love it too. But will I have to put on that sterner, patriarchal image with my own grandchildren and be less of a clown? As I think about that, naw… What are grandparents for, really, if not to get down to a kid’s level, right? That’s not a big stretch for me anyhow. That’s why they call my wife a saint.
I’m thankful for our community of friends and family, some we’ve known forever, some we just met, and most, with whom we just connect occasionally, always picking up where we left off last time. I enjoy my quarterly lunch with a couple of friends from college, and breakfast every month or so with a few local friends. I enjoy church suppers at our church where many people roll their eyes at my antics. I love interacting with friends in the many organizations to which Joanne and I belong – St. Jude Parish, our ALERT team, the VFW in Pelham, MooreMart, my brothers in the Knights of Columbus, the Blue Star Mothers, my NH Freedom Cup buddies. They all roll their eyes too… I think we’ll have plenty to keep us busy when we do retire.
I am thankful for all that God has given us – and the things he hasn’t, so that we can learn what is really important in life and why we are really here.
And I am thankful for you too, readers! If you didn’t read my stuff, I’d have to talk to myself more often. And that could be dangerous, if not interesting.
So have yourself a Happy New Year. And reminisce about what you, too, are thankful for. It’s all worthwhile. Especially if they roll their eyes.
Visit Londonderry Hometown Online News every Tuesday Morning for another one of Joe’s great columns! Select “Share this story” and tell a friend Joe is back!
Joe’s Two Cents – It’s Great To Be Alive is Joe Paradis’ first published book and gathers 40 of his most popular stories, enhancing them with humorous photography. The book is a compilation of forty of Joe’s best short stories.
Injecting humor into topics from everyday life, Joe answers those earth-shattering questions we all have about the beach, the bathroom, the junk drawer. From guys’ tools to girl talk. High school seniors to the senior years.
This classic collection has been updated to include pictures and a short introduction for each story. Until now, only God knew what possessed Joe to write about these things. Now you can too!
Joe Paradis is one of Londonderry’s most popular columnists and authors. Visit his web site at www.joes2cents.com today and order his latest autographed book, “It’s Great to Be Alive!”