This is one of my favorite times of the year. There are a few days to slow down, to decompress, and to reflect. As hard as I try, I find it hard to do these things as regularly as I would like. From everything I read and see around me, I’m not the only one. The world seems to move faster and faster, the demands of work and the expectations of availability consistently increase, and as my own kids get bigger, they have more going on that further complicates the daily and weekly schedules in our house. Here we are though at Thanksgiving (amazing how fast the fall flew by!). I love this holiday and all it stands for. To be fair, I love it more since my mother moved down here and I’m freed from my battles with the Belt Parkway in New York, but I’ve always loved it. And while much of my life is directed by my stomach and my love of food, and while I do indeed love every piece of the Thanksgiving meal, this holiday is about so much more. Like everyone, I’ve had my share of loss and difficult times, but I try each year at this time to really focus on all the things in my life that are good and that I am thankful for. There is quite a lot in truth, and I feel very blessed by so much. In no particular order, they include:
1) A wonderful wife who understands, appreciates, and somehow seems to love me despite my various quirks, who is as good a friend, a partner, and a spouse as anyone could ask for.
2) Two amazing children who can always make me laugh with their zaniness and whose curiosity about the world gives me endless pleasure.
3) A mother who lives close by, who somehow has been able to forgive the times when I was a jerk, who loves my wife and kids, and who is an inspiration for how to continue to grow as we grow older.
4) In-laws who have always treated me as one of their own and who I genuinely enjoy being around.
5) A sister, brother-in-law, and nephews who are all great people. And now my sister works here at Solebury which, despite the jokes I may make about it, has been wonderful!
6) I get to live and work in an absolutely beautiful setting. The mist on the hills of campus, the beautiful trees, the open space, the way my kids can run free around the campus all are a gift that is almost beyond the power of words.
7) In my work in admissions, I have the chance to meet such wonderful people – parents seeking the best opportunities for their child, children hoping to find a place where they can become their best selves, educators from other schools who are justifiably proud of the students they present to us, consultants who do such great work in helping match us with students and families who “fit” with us, and colleagues at other schools who are ethical, professional, and good people who I love getting to see throughout the year.
8) I work with an incredible group of colleagues – both young and old – they push me on a daily basis to be as good as I can be in all the things I do here, and they make me laugh and smile as I go about my work. In the 24 years I’ve been here, they have without question helped me develop into not just the professional, but also the man, I am today.
9) While I think most people think of me as a sports guy (and while I certainly watch my share of Sportscenter), I love musicals. In “The Sound of Music” there’s a song where Maria and Captain Von Trapp sing about how lucky they are and say “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.” I stumbled into this life, and this school, in a really haphazard and accidental way; however, it has been a continuous blessing. I get to work in a place that constantly seeks to improve so that young people can grow and learn as much as possible, that is supportive of people’s dreams and goals, that recognizes that all of us work better when we are appreciated and cared for, and that supports never-ending intellectual and personal growth. I don’t know what I did in my youth to deserve this, and frankly, I’m not sure that I did anything to suggest that I do, but I do know that I’m incredibly grateful for the life I have.
So thank you to all of you for helping make my life as blessed as it is! I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!