This was an odd year, to put it lightly. Friends lost family members, which hit an open nerve with me after having my mother die near the end of 2015, then my brother killed himself, one of the kids’ best friends was murdered along with her mom and little sister, then, as the finish line seemed near, the kids (and I) lost their other grandmother. It just seemed ridiculous. This was right there with 2008 as the most depressing year of my life. It’s almost funny because it was so bad for myself and those around me…and this is all before the misfortune the public brought upon itself in November is even added in.
Then, I look to the positives from the year and realize there was a lot of joy in 2016. There is a point where you have to take inventory of everything going on and see the good things in their own light, removed from the mess surrounding them. This year felt like trying to excavate a fossil from the hardest rock around, but we found some nice pieces in there.
First off, the yearly stats: I played 58 shows in 14 states while travelling over 12,400 miles. I also got asked if I was or was kin to John Moreland 4 times. I worked a full time job for another year while doing this…but, sadly, my streak of not missing any of the kids’ concerts/plays/etc ended this October. Sure, in nearly 18 years of parenthood, I’ve only missed one concert, but it still sucks. Especially since it was Ian’s first professional orchestral concert. I think I made up for it with a 2 week east coast tour together. It was truly a highlight of my life to tour with my son on bass. He held up and we had a great time. Then, to close out the year, Brightwire played their first show and we’re already working on future shows out of state to keep this band moving forward.
Secondly, baseball! Over the Memorial holiday, we headed up to Kansas City to see a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium and caught a Tulsa Drillers game on the way up. We made first time visits to PNC Park and Progressive Field, as well. Then, we got to see another game at Camden Yards, which is our favorite place to see a game outside of Houston. Even when we showed up to a shut down venue in Greenville, SC, we made a night out of it by catching a Drive game. Lots of good baseball was seen.
Thirdly, I had my daughter enter her senior year. She passed her driver’s test, dealt with a lot, took her SATs, applied to colleges, made the best grades of her high school career, started painting more and basically, got more awesome as the year moved forward. Even in the face of all the grief, she kept moving and used her art to deal with life. She keeps working to do better and to be a strong young lady in the face of a society that seems like it’s against her simply because she’s a woman.
Fourthly! My son got his gig with the Baytown Symphony Orchestra, which makes me very proud. He’s grown as a musician by leaps and bounds over the past year. On tour, he handled 7 hour drives followed by 3 hours of playing while working on classical music I couldn’t begin to fathom. I mean, he reads music! I know a lot of musicians, but not many that can do that. Ha ha. He keeps growing up to be a thoughtful, understanding, compassionate man, which is my main goal as his father.
Fifthly! I’ve had the good fortune of living with Kim for the past year. Through all the mess, she’s been pretty strong and helped me deal with so many problems that weren’t necessarily her cross to bear. She excitedly agreed to my insane travel schedules and even came up with her own insane tour routes. We played together, sang together, shared in memories together and had a lot of special moments along the way. It was a good thing.
Sixthly, I can’t fail to mention all the wonderful music and concerts I got to attend with friends…and sometimes concerts with friends playing. We saw some bands I had wanted to see forever, enjoyed a lot of great performances and met a lot of people off the stage. For a second straight year, and we only got to attend the first night, Holiday Hangout gave me a good end of the year breather. I hugged a ton of people, talked with people I only see a couple of times a year if I’m lucky, sang along to bands filled with people I’m lucky enough to call friends and made it home in time to see the boy’s Christmas concert. Not bad at all.
To close, 2016 as a whole is something I’ll happily see disappear. And for all of you saying a year is an arbitrary thing that humans created, etc…take an astronomy class. It’s a trip around the big ball of fire that keeps us alive…you know, the one we’re trying to allow inside more each day by not caring about global warming. This lap was a tough one, but I’m ready to give this next lap a go…