Happy New Year 1999

One of the best things to happen at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 was that our 24-year-old son came home and spent the holidays with us. He is in the first of seven years in a religious studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Raised Catholic, he specializes in Tibetan Buddhism and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco.

Having him home made our family complete. Although my wife, our 16-year-old daughter, my mom and our dog Buddy do great for the most part, it’s nice to have our son here just like “old times.” Needless to say, his mom loved having her firstborn home, and his sister tried to spend every waking moment with her big brother.

Going into 2014, it helped me to realize what is truly important in life. It had seemed as though we traveled back through time to the year 1999. My son took out his old Nintendo 64 game player and hooked it up to our TV. He and his sister then played some games while my wife and my mom prepared dinner and I played with Buddy.

We actually all sat at the dining room table and no one took out their smart phone. We laughed, joked and while the meal was rather simple, it was the best one I had in recent memory. Everyone pitched in and cleaned up, after which we took Buddy for a nice walk. When we returned home, we got my mom and jumped into the family car.

I drove around surrounding neighborhoods and we looked at all the homes decorated with Christmas lights. As corny as this sounds, we were singing, probably to the dismay of our canine, as my singing voice is the equivalent of a broken dog whistle. When we got home, we played cards, then a game of Charades – parents against kids and enjoyed each other’s company. We didn’t want it to end.

Of course, we return to the real world of work, school, texting, television, checking emails and eating fast food on paper plates. But nothing can take away our being a family and the memories we create when being together – as fleeting as those moments may be.