We just got home from our 2018 Christmas adventure. It started with a night in Fairfax, VA where Gracie was starring as a snowflake in the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker. From there we drove up to Central New York for 3 days with my family followed by 3 days with my in-laws in Windsor, CT. The last leg of our journey from my in-laws’ in Connecticut back to Virginia should be a 6.5 hour ride without stops or traffic. It took us 12 hours this year. Every electronic device in the car was out of battery by 8 hours in. At 10 hours my 2 year old and 7 month old had full meltdowns. They cried as loud and as hard as they could, totally inconsolable, for 40-50 minutes before tapering off to sleep (passing out?).
When we finally made it home we had to make arrangements for Santa, who was making a special trip that night since we were out of town. We put out the milk, cookies, and carrots (for the reindeer) and the kids wrote their notes to Santa. Then we tried to get our excited and overtired 7 and 5 year old to bed so Santa could come. By the time it was all said and done, I got to bed at about 12:45 AM. Jack was the first one up at 5:45 AM and it was time for our Christmas morning.
The kids hit the jackpot this year for gifts. We went a bit overboard since they lost all their old toys earlier in the year. I was feeling quite good about this until a buddy of mine reminded me that I was really just replacing all of their old stuff, about 6 months late. Better late than never I suppose.
By 10 AM on our Christmas morning it was time to leave for Jack’s basketball practice. I’m the head coach, so skipping wasn’t an option. After basketball Jack got a call to visit at a friend’s house for a bit and Grace got invited to party at the neighbor’s. Then I went grocery shopping.
Christmas with 4 kids is living. Laughing, shouting, joy, tears, frustration, happiness, energy and exhaustion. One minute you’re the greatest parent in the world and the next you’re the worst ever.
Our wild “vacation” capped off a wild 2018 for the Demmas. There were major life events like having our fourth baby in May and then moving from Seattle to Virginia two weeks later. There was the incident with our moving truck. We built a house in Virginia that we thought we would sell, but ended up moving into it. We sold off our multi-family investment houses in hopes of simplifying my life a little.
It was an active year at work also. I left behind my Seattle-based division, which was really hard. I had an amazing team there. We led the company in a number of ways by the end of our time together, and more importantly we had an amazing team dynamic. I was recognized with an award for innovation in July, which really meant a lot to me. I started in my new division in June. I have some great teammates here also and we executed a turn-around leading to a top-3 in the company performance. I’m starting with a new division again in January, so more change is on the horizon.
What else happened this year? The kids found old and new friends back here in our neighborhood. Jack played three sports and started Jiu jitsu (we were together when I got my purple belt in the fall, which was really cool). Gracie started preschool and is the teacher’s pet. James entered his two year old phase, which has been a rollercoaster, but he is a true joy to be with. George has lighted up our lives with his constant squinty eyed smiling.
The best part of 2018 was sharing it all with my beautiful bride. My highlight was getting her back to her happy place here in Virginia.
God only knows what 2019 will bring. If I’m a part of your year I hope to make it a little better. Let’s dream big and make this year better than we can imagine. Happy New Year.