We have made it through 2020. We are one month into 2021.

What have you discovered over the past several months? What have you learned? What have you had to endure, and what have you realized out of your epiphanies? What has served you best to make it – day by day – through all of the ups and downs? What has kept you sane, held you when you cried, joined your celebrations, and embraced your highs and lows? What has been your rock?

Like many others, I have become forever grateful for my wonderful family and friends, for the smiling faces of acquaintances as well as strangers, and for the wagging tail of my golden boy Henry. I hope I never take them for granted again by assuming that they will always be there for me.

Little things have made all the difference this year; a bouquet of flowers, an excellent book, the changing of seasons, a satisfying home-cooked meal, music, laughter, an intriguing conversation, a bear hug from a son, an old dog “running” to greet me, a young dog running in the sheer abandonment of joyful movement. All of these special moments bring a smile to my face to remind me of how very lucky I am.

The virus brought me my family this year. They travelled by car for long hours and stayed for months, keeping themselves quarantined but together, here with me at Crosswinds. They worked from home, worked out at home, cooked at home, ate huge family dinners at home, played board games at home, watched television, and lived their lives right here. Every. Single. Day.

It was magic………

It was not wasted on me that they didn’t have to come, and they didn’t have to stay. It just seemed to be the thing to do – to be together just because we had the opportunity, and we had a place to hold us all.

Home is like that. The lines from Bob Dylan’s song could have been written about Crosswinds. “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

This year the “storm” was a weary, confusing world. I was, and will always be thankful that Crosswinds was ready – that I was ready – to embrace my wonderful children and their fabulous partners, their things, their laundry(!), their schedules, their laughter, their love, and even an extra special dog friend. Crosswinds held her arms open wider than ever to collect them all in a massive group hug. Did I mention before that it was magic?

When the time came, as it always does, for goodbyes and waving in the driveway until I hear their cars turn onto highway 42, I stood there for a long time wondering what I would do without them here. I felt very much alone under the canopy of stars that covers the property each evening.

Amazingly, I just couldn’t feel even the least bit sorry for myself though, because there she was……. I had purposefully turned on all her lights – the twinkle lights, the Christmas lights, and the party lights for a sparkling sendoff for my kids. Now I realized that maybe I had actually done it for myself.

Crosswinds opened her arms, like she always does, to a very grateful woman and her old soul dog. “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”