For most of my adult life, each year has been so full of activity and events that it's often hard for me to remember what happened exactly when. 2011 was no exception; so, I thought I'd write down some of the year's more notable events.
No doubt, the year's most significant event for me, personally, was the birth of my first grandchild, Inara Mae Langan, to my son, Nick, and his wife, Mary, this past June. A grandfather at 41: who'd have thought it? But, I guess that's a chance you take when you have your first kid at the tender age of 21. Fiona and David and I visited the new family in their home of Baltimore at the end of July, and then they visited us in December. Needless to say, we saw huge changes in the baby, who grew ever cuter. (Yes, I know I'm fawning--it's a grandparent's right, okay?) This whole grandparent status has been kind of a strange one. There hasn't been the same kinds of dramatic changes in my day to day existence that accompanied the births of either of my sons. It's more a sense that my family has extended itself further into the future, that it hasn't grown just in number, but in duration.
2011 was also the year that Nick passed all the tests and was accepted to join the Baltimore City Police Department. He'd been trying to obtain a position with one of his local police departments for quite some time, and given a number of factors, including his age, the number of returning veterans applying for the same jobs, and the overall state of the economy, that he would succeed in finding a police job was not a sure thing. It came as a tremendous relief when he got the call from Baltimore City at the end of 2011. He'll start the academy in less than two weeks, now.
Nor was my younger son, David, any less busy. In addition to completing second grade and starting third, he began taking classes in Tang Soo Do--what I guess you could call Korean karate--at the local Y in July. Somewhat to my surprise, not only was he good at it, he was very good at it, and steamrolled through from his white to orange belts by December. He seems to me one of the stars of his age group, and I won't be surprised if, by this time next year, he's earned his green belt.
David's taking up a martial art also meant me ultimately returning to martial arts. I had studied Isshin-Ryu Karate in New Paltz several years ago, until bad knees and the demands of my schedule necessitated me giving it up. Watching David doing his moves class after class, though, I found myself missing the old routine. He and his teacher were eager for me to join the school, but I was leery of muscling in on something he'd made his own. So, we compromised: once he obtained his orange belt, I would begin taking classes. I should add here that I assumed it would take him at least a year to earn that next belt. Needless to say, I was mistaken. At the end of December, I put on the Do Bahk and started my training. It's been cooler than I could have predicted, taking a martial arts class with one of my sons. As of this writing, I've made my first, small advance towards my own orange belt. We'll see how it goes.