I love this time of year for turning inward. The days are short, the world is holed up and cold; it’s a time to slow down, to be inside, and to reflect. This morning I’m trying to reflect on a magical memory from 2022. When I first starting thinking, I could hardly even remember what happened this year.
And then I did. This was the year my husband and I took the train to Washington, DC to hear the symphony, and we had date nights in Eggleston, Salem, Roanoke, and Richmond to get used to our new lives with one less child in the house.
This was the year I finally met my team in person after working together for two years; we travelled to Cannes together, and I got to see my friend in England on the way and meet his family. This was the year I travelled to Denver and got to see and hang out with and laugh with work friends I haven’t seen in five years.
This was the year our son graduated from high school and went to senior prom. This was the year the four of us traveled to Iceland for his graduation trip. We ate pastries and walked Reykjavík and saw waterfalls and puffins, and he bought himself a Tissot watch, in Iceland, with his graduation money. I got into photography again thanks to that trip, and had fun learning my camera and shooting different kinds of photos, of decay in the garden, and black and white photos at the beach.
This year was the year our daughter got her driver’s license, and we didn’t have to drive her twice a day to swim practice anymore, and suddenly we had a lot more time on our hands. Despite her new freedom, though, she still likes to hang out with us. She still wants to go get bubble tea together, and she’ll always ride with me for Friday night takeout. We watch Formula One together, and sometimes the Great British Baking show, and we eat dinner at the table every night, just the three of us.
This was the year we took our son to college orientation, and six weeks later, moved him out of our house and into the dorm. This was the year his room was empty at home. We visited him in Charlottesville, and took his roommate out to dinner, and tailgated with a future roommate’s family on parents’ weekend. This was the year our daughter went to her first homecoming dance since she skipped it last year to see Harry Styles.
But if I had to pick the most magical memory from the year, I think it’d be when our son opened his acceptance letter from the University of Virginia. I don’t know that he’s ever wanted something as much as he wanted to go to UVA. When he opened the letter and saw he got in, he shook with joy and relief. I hugged him tight and felt his heart race with adrenaline, and he fell back on his bed with a huge smile on his face, totally in bliss. Perhaps most magical of all is that UVA has not just met his expectations, it has exceeded them. There’s nothing quite like seeing your child happy and fulfilled and living their life to the fullest.