My New Year’s Wish for You…and No, it Doesn’t Involve Happiness or Rainbows

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I seem to derive a certain amount of pleasure from doing things the hard way. “Glutton for punishment,” my hubs likes to say. We went east to celebrate the holidays with my hubby’s family: Christmas in Connecticut and the days leading up to the New Year in New York City. I lugged my Canon camera with me. Yes, using my cell phone for photos would have been much simpler but my Canon challenges me in ways that my cell phone doesn’t. I have to consider the lighting, the distance, the shutter speed, the aperture, the focus…all the things that are automatically taken care of with a cell phone. And while my cell phone does a respectable job, {refer back to the first sentence of this paragraph.}

We arrived in Connecticut for Christmas and were immediately swept up in a flurry holiday activities. Being away from home and off the clock, I didn’t take many photos. A few here and there, but that was it. Halfway through our trip, our tribe of five said good-bye to family and headed into New York City for a few days.

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We’ve had the good fortune to spend quite a bit of time in NYC so when we’re there we tend to simply wander through neighborhoods exploring and people watching. I thought the city would kick me into the photographing mood but honestly, my boys bickered our entire trip. The kind of bickering that made me want to gouge out my eyes if another word fell from their mouths. Nothing I seemed to do or say would stop it and as my hubs said, “It was a buzz kill.” On top of that, the city was jammed with human beings. Trying to walk through Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree was a lesson in mob survival. I think we all secretly wished we could hop on a plane early just to get home and have some space.

I did pull out my camera in Washington Square Park where the winter light was scrumptious. Upon doing so, I discovered that my auto-focus wasn’t working. Five years ago this would not have been a problem but now, I need reading glasses to even read my cell phone with the jumbo font size. I had no idea whether or not the photos I was taking were in focus.

When we finally boarded our plane home, my hubby said to me, “We will not be going on another family vacation outside of the state of Oregon for at least five years.” When our car pulled into our garage at 10:00 p.m. on New Years Eve, all three of my kids immediately scattered to be with friends while Dave and I watched the ball drop in the city we had just left from the comfort of our own home and without the crowds.

The following day found the five of us alone in our home and unexpectedly, all was harmonious between my boys. Was it because they had some space? Was it because we had traveled, we had survived, we had returned, and we were now our own survivor’s team? This lasted through the following day. And the next. And it’s still, relatively speaking, harmonious. (Okay, so there was one episode involving an annoyed, homework-focused 15-year-old, and a fourth-grader deep in stop motion animation movie making with the sound turned all the way up…but, still.)

And when we think back on our trip, the bickering has somehow faded a bit. We talk about the five of us curling up in our hotel room watching movies. About busting our way through the beehive of Rockefeller Center and Times Square. About how sweet it was to watch my mother-in-law be proposed to on Christmas Eve, in the front of her favorite church, with her kids and all of her grandkids surrounding her. All of us were a little teary when she said yes.

When I finally got around to uploading my photos, I discovered that many of them were not perfectly focused. But somehow, I find that the lack of focus, and the blurred quality of the photos adds to the beauty of the lighting and of the people in it.

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Life is not perfect. I’m not perfect. My kids are not perfect. Was it a perfect vacation? Smiles everyone all the time? No. But, amidst the chaos and imperfections of our holidays, there were perfect moments to hold onto.

Wishing you a Happy New Year of imperfect days filled with perfect moments. Embrace the messiness of life, my friends!

With love,
Carrie