With all the great fortune in mind, I am very lucky to have been born into my wonderful family. Dynamically different but united by blood and love, I find moments with any of them, or with a small group of them, or, miraculously, all of them quite terrifying and satisfying.
While planning my next year 2015, I noticed that a couple of my nieces had asked me to attend special events with them. Jodi requested a ski trip; Lisa wanted me to participate in her 50 Years Old Bash (a speed triathlon); and Karen wondered about a trip to Disneyland in October with her and her son, my great-nephew, Connor. As I jotted down the possible dates, I paused and then said loud and clear, “I think I’ll make 2015 the Year of the Nieces!” Why would I plan only three activities with three nieces when I have many more?
With a blast on the keyboard I sent a message to each of them (including political nieces) with a proposal: Let me know what you would like to do this year and I will be there to cheer, participate, support. and link. Because of this, I have several craft days with a niece, two half marathons with two more nieces, an exercise / fitness show at Physique! where my niece is employed and serving as a lead instructor, short career fitness and exposure with her niece and daughter, and a trip to Ogden, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. Of course, the extra fun will come through the year, but I have my initial outline developed.
The Sundance Film Festival was completed with niece Julene this past weekend. Awesome and fantastic minimize the joy of our time together. She flew in from her hometown and I drove from mine, picking her up at the airport. After lunch and shopping in downtown Salt Lake City, we headed north towards Ogden. The College of Idaho, Julene’s alma mater, had organized a two-day festival for 30 of us. This included a grand hotel a short walk from the Egyptian Theater (a design masterpiece), welcome reception, dinner, box tickets, hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and desserts delivered from heaven. The montage was perfect and the movies ??? Amazing.
Our first movie was Stockholm, Pennsylvania written and directed by Nicole Beckwith. The acting, directing, filming and all the magic of the movie are amazing and the ending is one that no one would suspect and is mind blowing. After the movie, Ms. Beckwith was present for a question and answer session. His explanation of his writing, the script, the general planning, and his insight into the mind and human relationships are extraordinary. I rank it in my Top 10 of the best movies ever. Rarely have I left a movie with so many quotes in mind, chills down my spine, and intertwined thoughts.
The second movie, 71, it also provoked thought and wonder. It’s a movie that I now know requires a second viewing to capture all the complexities that I missed during the first. I should also brush up on my knowledge of the Catholic / Protestant struggle in Ireland in 1971. Yann Demange, director, and Gregory Burke, writer, have created a masterpiece.
And while it has bits and pieces of our adventures, the essential ingredient of the weekend was time alone together: aunt and niece; Niece and aunt. Our memories will shine forever. So I ask you to think about the family that you love and love. Find ways to spend valuable, individual time with each of them, or as many as possible. The rewards will be substantial and the music of your heart will resonate forever. And as for the year of the nephews? That’s the next thing!