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Traveling grace for 2020

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This particular Jan. 1 is significant in that not only do we begin a new year, we begin a new decade. We humans are big on symbolism so now we have an even greater incentive to make a fresh start to walk back some bad habits, reevaluate our priorities, or mend some figurative fences. 

Depending on each person’s unique circumstances, this new decade may be full of excitement and promise or fraught with worry and fear. I remember my young married years, hoping each new year would put us in a little better financial position. Decades later that youthful optimism was replaced with that waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling I experienced the seven New Years of my husband’s illness. But whatever is going on, we just need to remain cognizant of the blessings we have, even if we have to dig a little deep to find them. 

Speaking of blessings, I’m thankful I’m alive but this bit of annual introspection revealed the need to revisit my priorities. I have some dear friends that I’ve known more than half my life, who like myself, moved here to God’s country after becoming empty nesters. How is it that I’m so busy in “retirement” that I rarely get to see them? 

I am guilty of not enough family time as well, but it’s a little different story. I view my activities and independence as a good thing for them because they don’t have to worry about me or take turns “entertaining” me. For example, “Jessica, it’s your turn to take mom. I had her the last three months!”

I think it’s natural for parents to worry more about their children than vice versa. When my four were little, I could manage their safety and well-being using my “Mom superpowers.” Now, I can barely keep up with my own schedule much less that of four children, their two spouses and 10 grandchildren scattered all over Texas, but I confess to being superstitious where their safety is concerned. 

I choose to believe that I’m providing some sort of “traveling grace,” when I tell them to “be careful” every time they drive off. And as if I can ensure their safety by willing it so, I stand in the driveway and watch them until they turn onto Washington and are out of my sight. The blessing is that I was able to let go when the time was right and that they’ve grown into hard-working, responsible adults of which I am very proud.

Another blessing in my life is the Navasota Examiner. I know I say this a lot but it’s true – I love writing about the people and businesses of Grimes County, and I love Navasota! I’m thankful and proud to be part of 125 years of the Examiner brother and sisterhood who are recording the events of our time for future historians. 

As we journey into 2020, I’ll seek that traveling grace for all of us so that we may navigate the year with eyes wide-open, priorities in order, using common sense and compassion in all things. So, from me to you, Happy, Happy New Year!

Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.