I hope your New Year has been terrific so far, and that the holidays were fun or at least satisfactory, and now we can look ahead to the New Year!!!
The year is young and I’ve already had some wonderful surprises. I shared with you my mixed emotions about New Year’s eve, which never measures up to what I hope it will be, which is true for a lot of people. Well, this year, it sure did measure up, and then some!!. Two of my children wound up being home with me, from the other cities where they live, and they very sweetly decided to spend New Year’s eve with me, which was a VERY nice surprise. I had been planning to just cash it in this year, and climb into my pajamas and watch re-runs of Downton Abbey, and go to sleep. But my kids spending that night with me was a terrific surprise. And two of my other local children decide to join us for New Year’s eve. (I haven’t spent New Year’s eve with my children for about 15 years, since understandably they had more exciting things to do on New Year’s eve than spend it with me!!). So instead of curling up with my two Chihuahuas, and watching TV as planned, I got to spend the evening with four of my kids. They cooked a delicious dinner, and shopped for it before, made all of my favorites, they set the table beautifully, arranged flowers, and I got to spend the evening with the people I love. We laughed and talked over dinner, were joined by one daughter’s husband, my son’s fiancée, the boy who has become part of our family for the past 13 years and lived with us when he was in school, and two of their friends dropped by after dinner. We played silly games after dinner and laughed a lot, and thanks to my children, the evening combined elegance, delicious food, a loving group, and good fun and lots of laughs. What could be better??? I can honestly say it was the best New Year’s eve of my life, and I’d have to go a long, long way to match this one!!! There’s no question, the home team is best, and part of what made it so special was that it was so unexpected. At their age, in their early and mid 20’s, most people don’t want to spend New Year’s eve with their mother, so it was a real gift of love from them. It was really terrific!!!
The next morning, on New Year’s morning, I was sad to see my daughters leave, and to see the holidays end. It was a warm, cozy family holiday this year, and it’s rare for all of us to be together. But we were all together on Christmas this year and my children from other cities spent almost two weeks at home, which was the best gift of all. On New Year’s morning, they left at the crack of dawn, and the house seemed sadly empty, just me and the dogs…..but before I had time to get seriously glum about it, I got an email with another big surprise. Twelve years ago, I received a great honour from the French government, and was decorated (got a beautiful medal!!) and knighted as an ‘Officer’ or the Order of Arts and Letters in France, which is a big honor, and I was truly thrilled. It was in honour of my writing career and many books, and the decoration and all that it signifies has meant a great deal to me, since I have spent a lot of my life in France. And on New Year’s morning, I got the astounding news that I am going to be decorated for a second time, and ‘knighted’ again, this time with the prestigious Legion of Honor, also in France. It’s the most important decoration in France, and it’s more for lifetime achievement, and the things you have accomplished in your life, my writing, I guess, the two foundations I have founded to assist the homeless and the mentally ill, and to prevent suicide and child abuse, and perhaps for my involvement in the arts, and now in music. It has been given to some very impressive people, few Americans, and not many women. And no matter who you are, and what you’ve done, when you get a big award like that, your first reaction (or mine anyway) is—Who? ME??? I am so very grateful for such an honour, and REALLY thrilled!!! There will be a ceremony sometime in the next few months to give me the medal, and hopefully my family and the people I love will be there.
So the year is off to a great start, I got to start it with the children I love, and I got a wonderful honour…..I hope it’s an omen of a good year to come. And I hope that your year ahead will be AMAZING!!!
With much love, danielle