During the holiday season, New Orleans' City Park lights up with unicorns, Santas, peacocks, fleur-de-lis, and other festive decorations like the steamboat above, a replica of one that plies the Mississippi River. I'm heading to the Pacific Northwest next week to visit my daughter Kate and her family for Christmas and enjoying a few Christmas traditions here before leaving.
One tradition I love is going out with a group of close friends for a holiday lunch. We met shortly after I arrived in New Orleans five years ago and sometime after that, a few of us formed the Anarchist Book Club. Our friendship grew and we took road trips to Montgomery, Alabama, to see the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and to the beach. One of us passed away this year from cancer. On the way to visit her in a hospital in Houston, we stopped for gas at a truck stop and bought her a glowing doll that that eerily transformed from Jesus into Mary and whose eyes seemed to follow you; it was just right for our spiritual, irreverent friend. I've never particularly seen myself as a badass, but with this group of women, I have surprised myself.
Writing my book has led me to surprise myself in other ways, too. Managing my time and working towards a goal have not been areas in which I've excelled in the past. Nearly three years ago, I urgently desired to finish this book that I had been working on for so long. My husband John had passed away a couple of years earlier. One night out at dinner with Kate and my son-in-law Alex, I expressed my frustrations. Alex is an entrepreneur, the CEO of a company of engineers, a terrific manager, and he offered to be my accountability person. We've worked together on it now for almost three years, making goal after goal, though I certainly have a ways to go. We have become personally closer, too, which means a lot to me. As he said the other night, "Not many mothers-and-sons-in-law could do this successfully!"
The holiday season brings out other feelings, too, like how much I miss John. I'm coming to accept that the sadness I often feel at this time of year is simply a part of the season for me.
Before signing off, a couple of bits of business:
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A number of people have mentioned that they are giving Holding Fast as Christmas presents. If you are doing that, or would like to, I would love to send you a thank-you postcard. Please email me a copy of the receipt and your mailing address to my email address, email@example.com.
I'm very grateful this year for all of you, and wish you a holiday and a year full of joy, peace and good health. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if there's anything you want to share about this time of year.