3-years ago

As I sat at the after school meeting, the facilitator made a comment that caused me to ponder.
Really? It’s been 3-years ago yesterday. Friday, the 13th. 2020.

Because I was a slicer three years ago, I took a look back.
I wrote this about the news being reported on March 11, 2020.
Rereading it and the comments I received three years ago have me pondering more.
So much has occurred between then and now.

Just looking at my immediate family….
Then, I was teaching reading to 6th graders at a new school.
Now, I’m at the same school but the head of the ELA department and act as a coach to the ELA teachers and provide intervention to the neediest readers and spearhead author visits and help staff, students and the community learn about the civil rights history related to our school and town. (And in reality, I try to spin all those plates but may be too many at times).

Then my husband was working for an architeture firm and teaching architecture at Catholic University and was beginning to be a pond gardener in our backyard.
Now, he works at a different firm and is still teaching at CUA and his pond which started with 8 goldfish, now has over 30 swimming around the soon-to-be in bloom lilies and other pond plants.

Then my oldest was working for the Cory Booker for President campaign, living in New Jersey and had no significant other in her life.
Now, she is married, moved to Amsterdam with her partner and they had their first baby 3-weeks ago today.

Then my younger daughter was living and teaching in Toulouse, France and just months earlier had shared she had met a cool guy.
Now, they live together in a condo he recently purchased and they spent their weekends doing home improvements and playing with their cat.

Then one commenter stated: This all will pass. That’s the nature of the news.
Now, the date 3/13/20 will be a moment in my history, a then and now time.
And despite the world shutting down, my family kept going.
So much so that I didn’t even realize yesterday was 3/13/23
until the facilitator at my meeting reminded me.

Christmas = Family + Food + Games

When my girls were little, our Christmas celebrating routine was as follows:
Christmas Eve – family dinner, presents and game playing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house (my husband’s childhood home) with one or two aunts attending (he is the youngest of five).
Christmas Day – presents, Christmas dinner and games at my parent’s house, Nana’s with two of my siblings attending.
Day after Christmas – a return to Grandma and Grandpa’s as my husband’s remaining siblings and their kids came bringing more presents and time for more playing of games.

On Christmas Eve, the game often was The Encyclopedia Game. All sat in the living room with a penicl and paper and one dictionary was needed. The person who was “it” randomly picked a word. Said it. Everyone else wrote down what they thought the definition was. “It collected all the written answers. Then read them out, one by one, along with the correct definition sprinkled in. Listeners had to pick the one they thought was the correct answer. Points were given to those who guessed correctly and to those whose false definition was picked by another. Then the dictionary was passed to another player to be “it” and the steps repeated. Much laughter was included, especially when those playing added creativity to their made-up definitions!

Christmas Day at Nana’s involved cards. Pinnochle was always a favorite. Also Uno and Pit were a big hit!

The day after was probably the most fun for my girls as they spent the whole day in Grandma’s basement with all the toys she kept from my husand and his siblings’ childhood. The favorite was Match-box cars. The cousins, my two girls plus Uncle Bobby’s three kids and Aunt Sharon’s 3 kids spent hours having racecar races using the long orange track with the loop-de-loop! Then all were enticed to sit and eat and watch The Sound of Music together in the family room. My daughters loved playing on this day with their cousins, all either the same age or just a few years older or younger.

This year, my husband and I drove to his oldest sister’s home in CT to enjoy the Christmas holiday. If we couldn’t be with our own daughters this year (both are living in Europe and we plan to visit them later this year), we decided to visit his sibling who also is a fabulous cook. Along with yummy meals throughout our stay, she purchased a new game to try – Wingspan. At first, there was sceptism about learning a new game. As we read and tried to comprehend the written directions, more sceptism ensued. Then we saw in the directions a suggetion to view the video directions. Now we got it! We played past midnight! (I give it 5 stars!)

Over the years, Christmas time for me involves family, food and enjoying time to play together. This year, spending time with my husband’s sister provided great family time and great food but no little kids were around. Instead, my daughters and their cousins are now all adults and all are scattered across the globe. But just before we started playing Wingspan, we got a text. The oldest cousin had the best news to share. His first born, a little girl, was born! What a great Christmas Eve gift! Surely, the tradition of family, food and playing games will continue.


Why do we gather? Priya Parker asks this question as she begins her book, The Art of Gathering. One of her answers in to welcome.

I realize as 2021 gets ready to turn its page and begin a new chapter, I have two special gatherings planned.

My first one is in Toulouse, France. Toulouse is known as the “Pink City” due to its century-old terra cotta bricks, It will be my first visit and I am imagining enjoying my breakfast of a croissant and tea in the hotel coffee shop. Then I’ll pull on my overcoat and head out to meet up with my daughter Anne and her partner, Remi. As I meet him for the first time in person, they will introduce me to their city. I am so looking forward to this December gathering.

Twenty years ago, during the month of August my husband and I explored Spain with our two girls. One evening as the sun was starting to set in Barcelona, we strolled the busy Ramblas, stopping to view the the movements of the mimes. I insisted that we touch the Mediterranean Sea and the girls raced ahead to the water’s edge. Then Brian arranged us by height and suggested we pose with our hands on our hips and snapped our photo. Maybe then we should have realized that at least one of our daughters would return to this region. Anne is only four hours to the north, teaching, exploring with Remi and caring for their new cat, Rajah! Come December, I’ll gather with them in Toulouse.

Five months later, I’ll gather in Savahana, Georgia. Know for its cobblestone squares and Spanish moss-covered oak trees. On May 1st, my oldest, Bridgit, will stand under one such tree and agree to be united with her partner, Charlie with all her family and frieds gathered.

Gatherings. I will admit, I’m a little out of practice thanks to Covid. However, I am feeling grateful my girls are giving me wonderful reasons to gather again in the coming months.

Do YOU have any plans for gathering?!

I learned of Priya Parker her and her work while listening to this episode of On Being. I used this as a Quick Write during my October ELA Department Meeting.