A cold front arrived on Long Island yesterday.  After a couple of glorious, mild days, the next few days will feel like true winter. Today the wind is biting and cold even as the sun shines.

 Another year has come and gone as well.  I can’t help but be thoughtful and reflective at the beginning of a new year.  As much as I enjoy thinking about and making New Years’ resolutions, I also recognize their limited nature.  I make and try to keep my resolutions based on how I think my life will look in the coming year.  And yet, I know so little about what the year will actually hold.

Last year as I wrote my first post for the coming year I had no idea about Stony Brook or that my family would move across the country six months later.  Nor did I know that my brother would have a brush with cancer in 2011 or that a friend’s mother would die in the final days of the year.  We hope and dream and plan, but in reality our ability to control the events of our lives is really limited.  I don’t mean to sound bleak.  I still plan to make some resolutions for the New Year, and I think it is a good thing to reflect on the past year and desire to make changes.  The start of a new year is a perfect time to do this.

Perhaps my resolutions this year should be made with a more conscious recognition that all of my goals and plans are to be held loosely against the backdrop of “Lord willing.”  I am giving myself this month to think about and set my resolutions for the New Year.  I’ll keep you posted.

On another note, my family’s Christmas travels have come and gone.  I wrote before I left about my growing excitement to experience another road trip and to see family.   I was pleased that the drive did feel quite a bit shorter, and just when I was feeling like it was time to be done with the driving—we were.  I was also surprised by some of the disorientation I experienced in regards to thinking about home.  This was our first “big” trip since our move this summer, and when the topic of home came up I found myself pausing and thinking, “Waco? Stony Brook?  Where is home?”  Even Anna commented on this as she was getting ready one morning at my parent’s house. She came to me and said, “Mom, I just thought about home and Waco came to my mind first instead of Stony Brook!”  Confusion of this sort only seems natural, but I was struck once again of the significant changes to my family’s lives in the past five months.

Today is the first day of second semester for the kids and Brad.  The boarders returned last night and tonight will be our first dinner in the dining hall for the New Year.  There will be new table assignments and so new students will sit at our table.  I am fairly confident that the topic of conversation will run along the lines of “how was your Christmas break?”  It will take a few days to re-establish our Stony Brook rhythms.  A New Year, a new semester, a new month—so many firsts on this cold January morning.

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