Around the Sun

Sarah would have turned 42 today.

Birthdays are milestones, a reminder to pop your head up like a gopher and look around to make sure you’re still on the right track. There have been a few big milestones around here lately. I’ll be 40 this year, Sandy will be 30, and my dad just turned 70. And it’s the start of a new decade. Meaningless, on paper, but it’s human nature to get excited when the odometer is about to tick over from 99,999 to 100,000 miles. My dad always liked to honk the horn every 10,000 miles, or whenever we drove across a state line. I find myself doing the same thing. Our lives are full of these little ceremonies.

So, on New Year’s Eve, I honked the horn, driving from New York to Massachusetts. Once we got home, we observed our family tradition of watching The Court Jester. Nate’s attention span is longer, and he gets more out of the movie, every year. We were all in bed before midnight.

When I woke up, it was 2011, rabbit rabbit, and I popped my head up like a gopher, to take inventory. Are we on track? For the basics, I think we are. Money is tight, but we have a roof over our heads and food to eat, and we’re happy, healthy, and together every night.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. 2011 is going to be the year to get rid of the clutter. Our house is full to bursting, with Nate’s stuff, with my stuff, with Sarah’s stuff; poor Sandy has no room for her stuff, and no one can ever find what they’re looking for. Sarah was a collector (or a hoarder, depending on whom you ask). I’ve been getting rid of stuff ever since she died. We’ve donated literally truckloads of clothing, and (so far) 471 books, but there’s still so much stuff left to go, whole rooms full, and so little time and energy left to work on it, at the end of each busy day.

So I am going to dedicate at least half of this year’s vacation days to de-cluttering. Wish me luck.

And think of Sarah, today. In honor of her birthday, please let me know if you would like a plush manatee. Or two.

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