This year has been crazy; a wild roller coaster of ups and downs. At times emotional and draining, at other times overwhelming elation. The year started much like any other year. The first couple of months were slow, but showed great promise. I was in a job that was very taxing, but the prospect of a new opportunity had my spirits up. I eventually landed the new job which has been extremely exciting and rewarding.
However, around the same time I was offered the new position, I learned that my closest brother Joe had passed away very unexpectedly. As I type this I realized I never wrote about this happening on the blog. I guess I internalize things like this quite a bit. Joe was smart, funny, and one of the most social people I have ever known. He could work a room with the best of them. I have always had a very frank view on death; it happens to everyone and after it happens there is nothing you can do to prevent it. I grieve quickly and believe more in focusing my energy on helping to keep the legacy of the person alive. This has never been more true than with my brother, who was expecting his first child with his longtime girlfriend Molly, when he passed away. I will always love my brother Joe, may he rest in peace.
Several months after Joe passed, I received news that my cousin Paul had passed away. As an oldest child I had never had an older brother, but I definitely viewed Paul as an older brother figure. Some of my earliest memories as a kid involved hanging out with Paul. He taught me so many things (some good and some bad) that you would expect an older brother to teach a younger brother. Even though he was technically my cousin, to me in just 3 months I had lost both a younger brother and an older brother. But the sadness I felt for my lose was matched by the sadness I felt for the children of Joe and Paul. I hope they know how awesome their dads were and will do my best to remind them as long as I am living.
However as the year has closed out I was blessed to have two beautiful nieces born in the last few months. On Sept 11, Joe’s daughter Ivy Tennyson Jasper (left picture) was born. Then on Dec 17, my sister-in-law Mandy (and Greg) delivered Julia Irene Gintz (right picture). It has been wonderful spending time with these two little ladies and I am excited to be an uncle to both of them. This is made sweeter by the fact that we have moved back to Wisconsin. As I outlined in the post Farewell Ohio, I’ll miss you Cincinnati, we have moved back to Wisconsin to be closer and more involved with our families.
Other highlights in 2013 include getting a new car, celebrating Gabe’s 8th birthday and Oliver’s 3rd birthday, celebrating 11 years of marriage with Marcia, participating in Stuart and Courtney’s wedding, getting back into curling, finally getting my first deer during deer hunting, and so much more. This year has taught me to do a better job appreciating the people in my life. To keep a positive outlook and focus as much on the now as I was on the future. Here is to a memorable 2013 and an exciting 2014.