Family and Fitting It All In

How lucky I am. We had a parade of warm welcomes from so many dear people on our quick jaunt north for Christmas. In order of occurrence, not in order of importance, because how can you really put these huge bundles of love in any kind of order? The list looks something like this:
Jolie and Dan left the lights on, so that we could tiptoe up to Chloe’s room to sleep when we arrived at midnight.
Jolie set up a perfect first breakfast and a bit of time with her when she really should have been meeting clients.
Time alone with Mom, which is always a rare event that I can never get enough of, so a few hours was a treat!
Then time to chat with Dad even though he was exhausted from four hours with lively Elizabeth.
Kenny and Jenna welcomed us at their new home where their skills of craftsmanship and interior design are blossoming.
Christine, Christian, Cathy and Matt prepared our favorite foods, and arranged a great visit and a cosy room for the night.

The Winn Dixies!  The best group of friends imaginable
The Winn Dixies! The best group of friends imaginable
Winn Dixie time for me and guy time for Bill to fill our hearts with companionship extraordinaire.
A quick visit with Steph and Teo to make me really miss CBHS and all of its meaningful connections.
Erica stepping off a plane from Colorado with a face so lit up it could warm any planet.
Camp. Nuff said.
Back to Kenny and Jenna’s for Lindsay’s arrival and a day where the girls finished Christmas prep and the boys finished (almost) the deck.
Up at the top on foot.  Not quite enough snow for skiing
Up at the top on foot. Not quite enough snow for skiing

Crazy bunch on a hike to Onset
Crazy bunch on a hike to Onset
Smooch at the top chair
Smooch at the top chair
Camp time hiking and family gatherings.
Bill and I tried our best to keep up with Marathoners cousin Ben and Lindsay on a chilly hike up to Goose Eye
Bill and I tried our best to keep up with Marathoners cousin Ben and Lindsay on a chilly hike up to Goose Eye
Tundra conditions near the top at Goose Eye
Tundra conditions near the top at Goose Eye

Back to Connecticut for Christmas Eve at Ann and Al’s with most of the Swanson Gang.
Christmas celebrations and overindulging in delicious foods with the Weigels, Kwokas, Woolstons, and Wills.
Loose Boots Lounge beside our ski camp was back in full swing!  We danced all night to a live band with our kids and the rest of the Mt Abram family!
Loose Boots Lounge beside our ski camp was back in full swing! We danced all night to a live band with our kids and the rest of the Mt Abram family!
Dancing at Loose Boots, catching up with our Mt Abram Village family, and lounging.
Dining in Boston with Conor’s parents who were more lovely than I imagined.
One final night at Lindsay’s awesome home in Boston.

Little things meant the most. The hugs, the laughs, the sharing of new ideas and challenges, the plans and hopes that were expressed, the brilliant wisdom and recollections from the hearts of those we care about. I was so topped off by the time we had to say goodbye, that I knew that this journey to Maine was well worth the time and expense. I dissolved into tears saying good bye to Sue Luthe, because she said she would take care of our children in our absence. This is the hardest part of our cruise; leaving behind our children and all of the people we love. Thank you, Mama Sue, for always being there for the Mt Abram family. And thank you to all of my siblings who cheerfully lend a hand every time a family member is in need.

Seeing Alembic again gave us a huge sigh of relief for many diverse reasons. First, she was safe and unharmed by the storms that had charged through during our absence. Second, Colombian officials hadn’t taken her into custody as a result of our expired documentation. Third, we were home in our cosy, efficient space. And fourth, we could again focus on each other, and our upcoming adventures. The sigh of relief was balanced by the melancholy feelings of already missing our loved ones. My challenge today, and in the days to come, is to fully engage in the adventure at hand. Whether I am deep in conversation with a loved one, battling enormous seas, sailing in light air, coming ashore in a foreign land, swimming with new species of marine life, or planning our next voyage, I hope to be able to be wholly present.

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