As 2018 begins, I look back on a momentous 2017 for my family, and reflect on some major milestones passed and within reach…
2017 was the first year without our parents and we realised that we had become ‘the older generation’, feeling the loss of the last generation and their place in history, as well as our loved ones. Indeed, the year started with my older brother taking on the role as ‘family elder’ on his 60th birthday, and ended with the first grandchild reaching 30, and the youngest becoming 21 in November. But no sooner had all our children come of age, than we learned the exciting news that the next generation is on its way – with a baby due to my nephew any day now, and the latest news that my son is expecting a summer baby. So my sister and I are about to be Grandparents! In just 12 months, so much has changed and moved on, and we have finally grown up as well as growing older.
It was also a year for seeing the world, and some of its wonders. My husband and son flew half-way round the world to Auckland on New Year’s Day, for the trip of a life-time, sailing with my nephew across the Tasman Sea to Sydney. In August, we made the trip to the USA for the solar eclipse. We experienced the cosmic coincidence, and splendour, of totality, from the river plain of Grand Teton National Park. Then, having loosely arranged to meet up with others in Yellowstone, without anticipating the absence of wifi or phone coverage, we set off anyway and amazingly found each other at the ‘top of the lake’! Meanwhile my husband, younger brother and nephew watched the eclipse from a car park! while visiting the space centres in Georgia and Florida – a treat for my brother’s 50th birthday.
After a big family BBQ and fireworks for my youngest’s 21st birthday, we spent the last month on a working tour of Australia – visiting Singapore and having breakfast with Orangutans (wow!), before coming home for Christmas. But being on the other side of the world meant that I was disappointed to miss out on my niece’s 30th birthday and a surprise 75th birthday weekend for my god-mother.
But there are more big birthdays and events to look forward to in 2018 – brother and brother-in-law joining the ‘over-60’ club, our youngest son graduating and another new person joining the family in the summer.
In a world of depressing politics and prospects too dismal to dwell on, I take comfort and joy from my amazing family, and can’t wait to see what else 2018 will bring.