Glancing back, but looking forward | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Jan 04, 2017

I think we deserve a Happy New Year, a fresh start. We’re quite worn out from 2016. I just typed several sentences about politics, wealth, poverty and mixed prospects for a bright future. I deleted them because there was nothing positive about that list, and I am determined to start 2017 with a positive spirit.

I plan to focus on one day at a time in 2017, living that day with enthusiasm and purpose, but if I want to look beyond that day, I hope I’ll look more forward than back. I’ll definitely keep looking back at family times, but I’ll try not to dwell on past sorrows.

Reminiscing is great, up to a certain point. I like Carly Simon’s old song, “Anticipation,” with the refrain, “And these are the good old days.” Sometimes when conversation works around to folks labeling past times as better times, I repeat that line from “Anticipation” because THESE are the good old days, too.

I’ve been thinking about Christmases past. When I was 4 years old, my family lived on a fruit ranch in Yakima. That Christmas morning my father rushed through the kitchen door, letting in a blast of cold air. He called to us to get our coats and hurry out to meet the newborn calf!

We dashed out, our breaths forming frosty clouds as we rushed through the snowy yard. The calf was adorable – no surprise there. And to think he was born on Christmas! We named him Nicky. We admired Nicky for a while, and then ran back to the house, the warmth of the living room, the Christmas tree, the unopened presents awaiting our attention.

Home-sewn doll clothes. Home-crafted wooden toys. Christmas music on the radio. Bliss.

Now I have grandchildren ages 5, 7 and 13, building their own memories each Christmas, memories to store away for a lifetime of sharing with their own kids and grandkids. They’ll recall Christmas morning hoof prints in the snow on the front lawn, with bits of nibbled carrot left behind by Santa’s reindeer! They’ll remember the marvel of a first dollhouse, a spectacular toy fire engine, new hockey skates, and a helicopter that actually flew around the living room.

At Christmas, I think of children in comfortable homes across America unwrapping the toys and games from their Santa lists. Then I think of children whose toys, books and stuffed animals came from local food bank toy shops, service clubs, churches and generous strangers who annually choose to provide gifts for children they’ve never met, children who otherwise wouldn’t receive anything special. I think also of children whose lives don’t hold any holiday joy.

What do I want in 2017?

I want medical research to advance significantly in curing cancer, ALS, heart disease, strokes, MS and a multitude of other illnesses and conditions. I want every child, everywhere, to be safe, cherished, healthy, and educated. I want world leaders to work toward peace, and people to show kindness toward one another.

And every day I want to humbly consider my blessings.


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