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A nod to the nap

August 31, 2016

Summer is THE time to hone one’s skill in the Department of Nap. I have never been prone to this practical and invaluable skill, and I am trying to make some headway into this seemingly unbreachable fortress.

There is no doubt about the restorative properties of the Nap. It can mean the difference between a struggle through the evening and being able to greet it cheerfully. My husband has the capacity to snooze on demand, and while this may come with its own downsides, I wish to be able to call it up when the situation warrants, without fear of incoherence and disorientation upon awakening. Even in college when I would regularly play ping pong until 2 a.m., and then trundle out of bed for an 8 a.m. class, I could not dally in Dozeland during the day.

Lately, I have found that Nap comes looking for me the day after I have been up in the middle of the night for some time. I have tried to infer some correlation between what I have poured down my gullet and any subsequent wakefulness, and have eliminated caffeine, meat and most dairy from my feed. Add in a couple hours biking and swimming and this typically ensures a pleasant forty winks, as long as it is also cool in the bedroom. My primary care physician describes sleep as becoming more fragile as we move through the life cycle. I like this description, as it suits so well. If I have set the stage properly, I generally enjoy my six-seven hours of z’s even with brief forays to pee if I surface. I have also learned not to sweat the times when I’m wakeful from 1-3 a.m., but instead try to enjoy the quiet, and get in some needed reading that I have missed from the day.

I’m not taking this lying down. I realized that this occasional night wakefulness has actually paved the way for my budding expertise in the area of the Nap. Interrupted night’s slumber, plus full workday or workout and voilà! We’re talking droopy, unplugged and battery reset kind of siesta. No lightweight catnap. Nothing to snort (or snore) about.

Philip Roth advises napping to be embraced so completely that one changes to pajamas and snuggles beneath the blankets to more fully take advantage of this delicious passage. I worry that this extreme measure will catapult me into a full on two hour bout of unconsciousness which will then TOTALLY wreck any hope of shut eye at night.

So I’m starting small. During my week on Cape Cod, after a walk through the dunes and a late lunch, I managed not once, not twice, but three times to have a tėte à tėte with the sandman while parked on a sun saturated lawn chair overlooking the ocean. Each time thirty lovely minutes elapsed before I could utter chocolate fro-yo and I found myself only slightly discombobulated and full of energy for voicing my opinion about dinner options. How soon, what to make, what kind of music to accompany.

Ah, Nap. You’re within my grasp. Soon it will not be just during movies that you ask me to visit. Soon it will be my choice to ask for your elixir, your rejuvenating brain massage. If logs really do sleep well, I’m all for emulating them. Rest easy, Nap. I’m coming for you.

The Importance of tears

A client once told me that his mother intentionally kept him from attending his grandfather’s funeral because she didn’t want him to see her cry. At eleven years of age, he felt old enough to be a part of this ritual, and certainly had feelings about it himself. The message of shame around the tears further complicated the expression of grief for the child. Was it okay for him to cry? What would his mother think? Did he need to protect her from his own sadness? When are tears okay?

Another client mentioned that in her very large family that she was the only one who shed tears upon learning of her very young niece’s death. In over thirty years of psychotherapeutic practice, I have had the privilege to bear witness to many types of reactions to numerous events. I understand the person who is numb and does not cry, or for whom an injury was so sustained and delivered by someone who s/he had thought was trustworthy, that the best defense was to create a sturdy (albeit brittle) crust. But I see it as my responsibility to encourage conversation when someone says, “I wanted to tell ___ about my illness, or that a relative had died etc, but I was afraid s/he would cry.”

In these types of instances, tears are not a conversation stopper but merely an expression of emotion. They are part of a dialogue. I have yet to see someone fill a room with tears, run out of tissues, or fell another human with excess salt. People do not crumble because of tears, so the need for protection around them is (unwittingly) fabricated, a fear but not a reality of what will happen. Yes, someone delivering difficult news may then have a response to how the receiver reacts. That is part of our lives that are laced with sadness, however frequent or infrequent. Avoiding it all together means that it rumbles around unexpressed, seeking outlet at often unexpected and inopportune times.

In the wake of the atrocities of the past weeks in our country tears are an appropriate response. Even when not our child or close relative, it is not a far stretch to feel the force of violent unexpected death so close at hand. The intense secondary trauma needs voice lest it be stifled and turn rancid inside.

It was not until I learned about the death of my friend’s beloved Golden Retriever that my own tears were unleashed, also bringing forth the anguish about the loss of human life. The protests are evidence that people feel strongly enough to speak out for those who cannot. So, too, tears demonstrate our very human connection to what we have experienced. It is one way that we show the depth of importance, the truth of meaning. At a time when people are hurting, seeking the comfort of contact with another, we don’t want to let a little bit of water to get in the way.

Tears do not need to manipulate, detour, influence, hijack or otherwise derail any discourse between people. They are merely a punctuation, evidence of the power of vulnerability and a marker of human interaction. They can act as a bridge between us; everyone understands the pain of tragedy. Let us be willing to accept the message of tears without adding the judgement about them which serves only to separate those in need from those who can learn from and be present with them.

Mammoth impact of documentary about elephants

June 29, 2016

One would have to be made of stone to not be moved by Sangita Iyer’s award-winning documentary, Gods in Shackles, about the torture of elephants in temple rituals in India.

The movie opens with a scene shot during the largest festival of the year, in an immense square teeming with people and a line of elephants on either end. The elephants are bedecked in glittering color down their long foreheads and onto their trunks, and ridden by men who use sticks with barbed ends to keep them in line. Their beauty and height above the crowds make them a dramatic symbol and dazzling border to the intensity of the thirty-six hour continuous activity. I suppose it could be easy to forget that they are not merely decorations, and not an imperative part of this celebration.

Iyer, Toronto based journalist and documentary film maker, brings our attention to the fact that they are sentient and particularly sensitive beings, and this is being ignored in their treatment and use in ceremony. She points out their painfully raw ankles where the shackles rub them for hours on end, and reminds us that their feet, which are built for the softness of the grasslands, are tormented by hot pavement and unrelenting sun. Their feet are also made for many hours of movement a day, in order to find feed for their enormous frames. Standing still for hours at a stretch is in itself an excruciatingly painful practice.

Perhaps most frightening are the firecracker-like noises which punctuate the festival. The majestic elephants, with extremely keen hearing, are subject to these blasts without a way to react or move in response. What results when they do bolt or move suddenly out of fear and frustration is injury (or death) to nearby people or the elephants themselves. These avoidable tragedies are part of what drives Sangita forward in her quest to end this practice.

I sit at the world debut screening at Elephant Walk Restaurant in Cambridge, and know I am among like minds. There are PETA representatives, and people who are already sympathetic to the plight of these magnificent creatures. Many of us are nervous about watching the movie. I could not watch Lassie or Flipper as a child; even with predictably positive outcomes, I could not bear any potential (or imagined) suffering that might befall these stage animals. Now we are watching multiple ways in which these real life gentle giants are mistreated without thought.

I am prepared to avert my sightline during very graphic shots of wounds inflicted not only to the ankles, but ears and eyes as well. But the places that truly take my breath away are the scenes where Sangita herself is meeting the elephants, helping to bathe them and embracing them with the kind of love one sees between parent and child. Her joy is radiant and jumps off the screen – it is this passion which is infectious, and matched by her professionalism in documenting the fate of the elephants.

The event is also a fundraiser to help get the multiple award-garnering film to the seven cities where it will screen in India, and Kerala, Iyer’s home province. Although Iyer wants it distributed yesterday, she is aware that the process of moving it forward is circuitous and that each gradual step counts toward her goal of liberating the elephants and restoring them to the wild where they help maintain the delicate balance in the ecosystem.

It is a rare privilege to support this intensely focussed, humane, and inspired movement to return these beautiful animals to the place where their spirits soar. Visit www.godsinshackles.com

Blown away by the Manta Ray

June 8, 2016

Off the coast of the big island of Hawaii, we don wet suits, snorkels and masks and splash into the salty Pacific. As dusk approaches we make our way the short distance from the chartered boat to the raft, grabbing the red handles that ring the structure in order to float with legs stretched out.

Within minutes a twelve foot Manta Ray swims into view not four feet away, its wings flapping fluidly as it banks left and swims off. “Argglg!” I exclaim through my snorkel. Even though we are expecting them, the appearance out of the depths is still startling, as is their size of up to sixteen feet from wing tip to wing tip. Within several minutes there is one after another looping up in front of us, gigantic mouths wide open and gills spread to filter and catch as many plankton as possible. We see their gray and sometimes spotted top and white belly as they make several circuits in a row and I am in awe of the acrobatic and graceful arc that they carve as they repeat this choreography. My eyes grow wide and I am wonderstruck at their size, elegance and utter grace. They come within inches of our outstretched bodies, and several times I’m certain that one of their wings will brush against me.

Suddenly a shout pierces the air. “SH*T! OH SH*T!” It is the teenager from the family of five. “MOM, IT’S SO HUGE!” he bellows at the top of his lungs. At first I am annoyed, worried that his screaming will scare the Mantas. It quickly becomes evident that this is not the case as more of these enormous creatures make their way to the lights from the raft, which attracted the plankton. The boy cannot contain himself. Any veneer of teenage cool has vanished as he continues at volume ten: “MOM, IT’S SO CLOSE. THEY’RE AMAZING. IT’S LIKE A BALLERINA DANCE. SH*T!” Now it is pee-your-pants funny. And the joy that is unselfconsciously bubbling up from him is contagious.

His voice booms utter astonishment mixed with a touch of fear, as he is completely overcome with these toothless and stinger-free giants. I cannot even fathom how he can keep his mask underwater while his mouth is above water to narrate his flabbergasted observations. Anything I try to say comes out in a garbled mush. My husband, who is immediately to my right does not even hear him at all, we find out later. My 26 year old daughter is in between the kid and me and is as tickled as I am.

Even as we are reverent, and silently witnessing the majesty of the moment, there is a part of all of us that feels exactly like this fifteen year old. We all want to scream and shout and wiggle all around and it is just our desire to interfere as little as possible (and our snorkels) that help us to remain silent. For every moment that I am speechless, he is broadcasting the magic with his natural megaphone.” SH*T! OH MY GOD! IT’S A LITTLE SCARY BUT THEY’RE SO COOOOOOL!” Honest and pure, life giving and hilarious, unadulterated WONDER.

I am IMMENSELY GRATEFUL that the unbridled enthusiasm of this awestruck teenager was PRESENT to enhance our reverence of these magnificent animals of the sea. They will remain forever favorites, coupled with the neon lit expletives provided by our young friend.

When the chickens come a-callin’

April 18, 2016

Saturday was a day of unusual relationships. It started with a bridal shower at which I was meeting the bride for the first time, and ended with greeting our daughter’s (newly ex) boyfriend’s family who had flown in from Scotland. But neither of these was the most unusual.

When I arrived home from the shower I was greeted by one leaping dog, who insists on demonstrating her enthusiasm in this way until I get her to settle down. But where was her slightly shyer sister?

I spotted her in the middle of the yard, and she appeared to be munching on something. “Oh NO!” I screamed and went tearing out to the yard at break neck speed. Our seventeen pound peanut of a rescue was pecking at a downed hen. She looked gleeful and I couldn’t spot any chicken parts, but it was clear that the hen was expired, inert, an ex-hen. The break neck speed had evidently been in reference to the hen.

I turned tail and careened inside where my husband was already lacing up his shoes to dispose of the unfortunate clucker. “Nooooooooo,” I wailed, even though I knew it was too late to save this feathered friend. “Nooooo.” Twice before I had caught Livvie with a chicken in her mouth, and had raced outside screaming bloody murder to um, stop the bloody murder. And despite the plethora of flying feathers, both times a hen had waddled away swiftly. Our dogs stay within the bounds of their underground fence, so each time the hen was visiting our (h)enticing, insect ridden yard.

Our sanguine neighbors were unperturbed. “That’s Mother Nature,” and then “That’ll teach her to go in your yard.” I was dubious about the learning curve of the hens and imagined one arriving back at the coop. “Guys, do NOT go over there when the four leggeds are out. Man, they are FAST, and their bite is way worse than their bark. I lost a whole patch of feathers back there. How’s a gal supposed to relax and lay eggs after that?”

I felt terrible that our previously shy and shakingly terrified terrier had hit her stride and was aggressive with the chickens. I know how upset our neighbors have been when hawks, owls or coyotes have picked off their brood. Having just seen Zootopia, I ponder the question of how we overcome our savage tendencies. I am just as struck by how deep this streak can run.

I wondered how much dinner the little carnivore would eat after her live snack, but she ate normally, and our daughter commented that she looked remarkably unbloody. The meaning of this struck home the next day when watching Livvie (aka Chickenhawk) playing with Fred, our fifteen pound kitten. She was jabbing at him with her mouth the same way she does with her sister dog, or us. My husband’s words came back to me, now that I could hear them. “She was pecking at the (unresponsive) hen, trying to get her to engage.” It’s possible that Livvie was playing, but was just too rough, and the faint hearted chicken was literally scared to death.

Our neighbors have talked about clipping the wings of the chickens so that they don’t fly over the fence. I hope this helps. Even with the complete understanding of our egg collecting friends, it does not sit well to have their animal population so impacted by ours. I am grateful for their perspective and will consider whether it’s possible to train the chicken chasing gene out of our feisty young dogs.

A Leprechaun’s Improvisation

March 17, 2016

On the evening of March 16th, when Kate was eight or nine, she greeted me when I returned home from work around 8 pm. “Guess what,” she cried. “I’ve put my boots under my bed so the leprechaun will leave me treats.” What ho? This was a new one in my world. “Someone at school told me about it. Isn’t that great?”

I hesitated just a moment before replying, “Yes, how fun is that?” I was feeling for the hard working leprechaun who had so much to do and might not have enough treats in his coffers to fill the boots of so many children. Tall boots to fill, that.

She went to bed happily while I considered the options.

There were no more outings scheduled for the evening and I scanned our cabinets. We often bake and have homemade cookies around, but not then. I found an item that I have not bought before or since: Drake’s coffee cake packages. There was one left and I snuck it into Kate’s boot, lest the leprechaun suffer some untoward delay. And then I did something completely uncharacteristic of me. I left the empty box in the cupboard.

I am a dedicated and prompt recycler. When a box of something is finished, I crush and add to the recycle bin. Nothing lingers unattended in the kitchen, as the clutter which is already loud threatens to overtake if I don’t feed the recycle bins promptly. I’m not sure exactly what my thinking was here.

The next morning Kate arose and came downstairs holding the coffee cakes triumphantly. “Look what the leprechaun brought, “ she crowed. A cloud passed over her face and she walked very deliberately to the cabinet and stretched onto her tippytoes to reach the fated box. I cringed as she opened it and looked inside.

“The leprechaun took our Drake’s cakes.” she sounded perplexed. I opened my mouth to protest and offer an alternative solution…(Dad ate it last night…the dog pushed a chair over and made his way into the box…a hardy herd of ants carted it off together..) An instant later her face brightened and she declared, “What a smart leprechaun he is. He had not been expecting me to put my boots under the bed. It’s the first time I ever did that so he just used what was here.” Satisfied and pleased, she bounced off to get ready for school.

I sat in awe of her creativity and conviction in her beliefs. Once again I am shown how we create our reality. Certainly I was relieved that it met her expectations. I was grateful that she orchestrated this whole event and established a new tradition. I will be eager to see what lands in my boots on March 17.

Loving the Leap Day possibilities

February 29, 2016

Why should frogs have all the fun? The concept of Leap Day has always captured my imagination, named in such a way as to invite boldness, a time to try out a new behavior or idea, a designated opportunity to bring freshness to life.

This quirky day, designed to bring synchronization between the solar and calendar years, dates far back in history. Julius Caeser (hence the Julian calendar) instituted the extra day to compensate for the roughly extra quarter day each year that separates the two calendars. However the actual difference is slightly less than a quarter day. It is eleven minutes and fourteen seconds less. In my growing respect for how small increments create big change, it is not surprising that these minutes would eventually throw the calendar off course by a full day, and it is Pope Gregory XIII who is credited with adjusting the formula to eliminate a leap year three times out of every four hundred years. (hence the Gregorian calendar) The rule is, a century year cannot be a leap year unless it is divisible by four hundred, thus 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 1600, 2000, and 2400 all are. With this method, it will take 3,000 years to give one extra day. How this conundrum will be handled?

Some of the traditions around Leap Day include the dated Irish tradition that women could propose to men on that day. It is also sometimes called Bachelor’s Day and in European countries the understanding was that (upper class) men who refused a woman’s proposal on February 29th had to buy her twelve pairs of gloves (supposedly to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.) This does conjure tremendous fashion possibilities, and certainly lots of business for the glovers of the time. Yes, this is what glove makers are called. Today they would move to Virginia, which is known for Glovers. Would they give twelve pairs of the same boring white gloves, or would it include leopard, red, blue, rainbow, and stripes? And would they include hats to match the gloves, or would that be considered gauche? These are the questions that vex.

I propose that Leap Day be considered a personal opportunity to break free of the mundane, to celebrate initiative and reward inventiveness. Employees should be given the day to research new material, to seek new business or to sit still, whichever is most unfamiliar. I love that this day occurs to pay homage to inexactness, to the effort to coordinate and to create a common language by which (much of) our world speaks of days and years. It is a public declaration that we honor the sun around which we cycle each year, and over which we hold no sway. We cannot move or change the sun, we can only adjust our own behavior and measure to accommodate our relationship to it.

What an important concept to remember and reminds ourselves about. It is a piece of structure around which our most creative selves can and do emerge. It is within a framework that our most striking achievements develop. Everyone’s Leap Day will look different, but may it be a time for adventures as large as visiting a new country to as small as changing up our morning routine to try a new cereal or coffee. It feels good to stretch ourselves. We need to have faith that possibility lies within our capability. What better invitation than a day named for this jump?

Indian Hill Orchestra shines in Lincoln’s Legacy

February 26, 2016

I grew up the daughter of a professional musician. My dad played principal oboe in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, as well as in chamber groups at the college where he taught Music Theory, Piano and Jazz. I attended many symphonic concerts growing up, reluctant as I was to give up The Adams Family, or an evening with friends. I took piano lessons, initially from him, and then from my favorite teacher of any subject, Robert Guralnik, who was passionate about music and teaching, and who taught me so much about listening to the melody line while simultaneously producing accompanying chords, arpeggios, or a counterpoint line. It was a place I could expand as much as I wanted or needed, and my musical vocabulary blossomed with age, time and exposure to more music.

People thought I was going into music since I played violin in the orchestra, sang in the choruses and accompanied one of them on piano. I knew that I was not, as I was clear that I lacked the discipline necessary to put in the hours needed to really excel the way musicians need to who thrive professionally. However, my love of music was ignited and has never stopped, getting me to concerts of many genres in many cities. We required our own two daughters to be literate in music, one choosing flute and the other piano as her instrument to learn. How fortunate we were to have Indian Hill just minutes from our home- a place for lessons, to perform, and to hear others play.

This afternoon we had the great pleasure of listening to the Indian Hill Orchestra deliver a powerhouse of a concert which started with William Grant Still’s Poem for Orchestra. This lush orchestral piece with sometimes deliciously off center harmony gripped from the beginning and flowed over the audience in a giant wave of multicolored beauty. It was followed by John Williams’ masterful suite from the movie Lincoln and then Kristin Renee Young joined the stage to sing Pamina’s Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and then after intermission the tender Previn’s Take My Mother Home, from Honey and Rue. She followed this with a virtuoso performance of four spirituals and the performance ended with Deval Patrick narrating Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. Taken as a whole, this was a most satisfying and filling afternoon. Truly I felt a kinship with everyone in that hall, as we had all taken in the language of hope, of toil, of respect and journey and love of humankind. It felt as though the concert ended in a sunrise, with thoughts of what is to come, and what we deserve and choose to be for one another.

I am grateful to have this professional and dedicated resource right here, literally in our backyard. There is no replacement for the grandness of music produced artfully and passionately by a symphony orchestra. The endless combinations of string, brass, woodwind and percussion, with solos from many of the wind and brass instruments created a palate so broad, yet responsive to the thin band held by Master conductor Bruce Hangen.
The attentiveness of the orchestra itself was matched by that of the audience as we sat spellbound by the intent and intensity of the messages being delivered as to leave us breathless and on our feet.

I will find out how I can listen to this music again, but a recording cannot match the electricity of a live performance where there is interaction between performers and listeners. I am just happy to have been among them.

Valentine Presence

We moved our daughter into an apartment yesterday. She’s 25, and excited about this move, ready to get to know a new town that has to this point been a place she has visited a bunch of times. The apartment is perfectly situated near the center of town, with easy access to the highway as well as public transportation. It’s spacious and light, and she will share it with two other friends.

None of this sounds so unusual. What is unusual is the proximity to our town. She will be less than a half hour away. While she has been living at home since Christmas, before that she had been in Spain for three months, and apart from a summer in New Haven, had been in Colombia for a year and half prior to that. All of this followed college, which was three hours away, so a town as close as thirty minutes presents unlimited possibilities.

She’s close enough to meet for coffee, to shop for work clothes, have dinner together at either of our houses. She can stay with our still-getting-used-to-Massachusetts dogs, go to movies, walk through the woods with or without pups— all things that we usually do when she is around, but at least for the next few months, we don’t have to be concerned with cramming them all in during the week or two that she usually lands at home.

I am well aware that she is applying jobs that may or may not be in this area. One cannot determine where teaching posts will be for Spanish in the way that she is excited about teaching, and I know that the right job is more important than where it is, at least at this point. We’ll see what pops open, where actual offers come from, and how the factors shake down.

I realize that with her travel in places that have often been remote and not easy to contact or access, or that have involved some level of risk, that I have held myself just a little in check. While my love for her is constant, and our communication is positive, I have been unable to count on more than sporadic conversations and visits only a few times a year. It is always possible to maintain the thread of a relationship, but it takes more concerted effort when someone is hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Even with the multiple options available today, technology will never replace proximity. And who would want it to?

At least from here, it seems that her next job will be Stateside, so although I cannot count on meeting at the bakery around the corner from her new apartment, I can at least be assured of reliable internet, and a flight of less than six hours, as well as a few months of this nearby arrangement while she sorts it out. Seems like as good a Valentine’s gift as I can conceive of. I’ll gladly take it.

Death is not convenient

January 29, 2016

Death is not convenient. It does not wait, tarry, ask permission, or discriminate against age, race or gender. The place and time are a secret agreement with every person and are revealed in its own time, in ways dramatic and quiet, public and private, violent and peaceful.

When I learned of the death of my childhood friend’s father, I was saddened for him and his brothers and their families. I was coming off a long week’s work with meetings after work on Monday and Tuesday, a day long out of town conference on Wednesday and a ten hour workday on Thursday. So when I learned Friday morning about Herb’s passing, and the service on Sunday, I did not immediately assume I was going. It was over three hours away, and I couldn’t imagine it. Even though Herb was 91, it was a surprise for them, as he had been in fine health, exercising regularly, and still living at home.

By Saturday morning, however, with a more typical day on Friday, I couldn’t imagine missing it. This was the husband of my mother’s partner with whom she ran a school for 25 years. Their son, Seth and I were founding (and dominating) students at age three, and I had spent countless hours at their house growing up. We laid out under the stars, filmed movies riding their St. Bernard, or in pretend cars on their long, steep, winding driveway. We played the board game Shenanigans by the hour and wolfed down lunches Shirley cooked up before running outside again. This was my second home and it has become a museum for the family, displaying photographs by my friend who became an internationally renown photographer, paintings by his older brother and family photos of the past fifty years.

It was the end of an era for me, but mostly for the three sons who stood together as each spoke about the dedication and steady influence of their father who I didn’t know as well. Their arms on each other’s shoulders, they were a living representation of that steadiness and of the respect and love that infused their relationships.

The link to the future was evidenced in their children, ranging in age from 25 to 3, and as I watched them host a meal afterward in that historic home built in 1881, I thought about the joining links from parent to child, parent to child. Herb’s death marks a passage for them and others, but they will navigate this wave with the connection to each other, and perhaps the next time they collect from the corners of the United States will be a celebration: a graduation, a wedding or a birthday.

What will become of the seventeen room house that I remember as the most intimidating place to play hide and seek I could imagine? None of them live near there now. They are all ensconced in their lives in California or Florida.

As time warps, creating the topsy turvy disorientation following the death of a close and beloved family member I wish them time to sit with their thoughts, with the fullness of their feelings, and allow the length and breadth of their memories to float forward. May the waves of joy of a long life well lived waft in, smoothing the tearful bumps that will inevitably surface as well. Their straightforward relationships mean a deep wound that will heal cleanly with time. May this first holiday time bring some welcome distraction, if not quite yet the start of new traditions as they move forward in this next stage of life.