With the holiday season fully engulfing the civilized world, it takes a certain amount of effort to step back and really try to appreciate the significance of it all. For me, Thanksgiving has always been one of the best times of the year. I (as many people know) love food, and food loves me. Being able to enjoy a lovingly prepared meal with friends and family while sharing and remembering new and old stories alike, somehow makes me wonder why so much of the rest of the years is so stressful. I know why the stress builds; I just don’t know why I let it infiltrate my psyche like some expanding insulation foam, filling in all of the nooks and crannies of my attitude and bubbling out in to the open air. Luckily, Christmas does not follow too far behind (especially this year) which allows for another opportunity to sit back and reflect on what is really important.
My two beautiful, intelligent, independent daughters and my amazingly caring, compassionate, forward thinking wife are the most wondrous gifts I could ever hope to receive. My Grandma and the spiritual lamppost that she provides have helped shape my attitude toward family in ways that she may never comprehend. I am certain that without the acceptance and outreach of my Mom and Dad (in-law) the success that I have attained in my adult life would be non-existent. They have both, through example and advice, shown me what it means to do what you love and love what you do.
Celebrating the end of the year past, and the beginning of the year ahead is quickly becoming one of the true highlights of my life. Having friends that feel like family, is a blessing that I never thought I would have in life. Knowing that there are people who would sacrifice time with their other friends and family to come and put up with the craziness that is the Smack household, renews my belief that good friends are a treasure like no other.
Looking forward, I am hopeful. I believe that every step forward will bring new challenges and require courage in the face of difficult times. I also believe that as time marches on, new relationships will grow, and old relationships will become stronger. I am hopeful that good health, happy moments, and new experiences will make me a better father, husband, son, and friend. Greif, disappointment and heartache, being as integral to the human condition as joy, encouragement, and love, will forge me into the man that I am meant to be.