A very Moritz holiday season

From a few hundred miles away, the diagnosis sounds, well, scary. Granted, there are probably plenty of missing details, but my aunt’s health is not the greatest these days and last week brought a bit of a scare to the Moritz family.

While my Moritz family roots hail from Western New York (ancestorially from Hamburg but later from Buffalo and Kenmore) my Aunt Mary has lived in Western North Carolina for as long as I can remember. She will be 86 later this month, God willing, as her health is slowly slipping.

Ah, but when faced with her latest medical set back, her response was simply that she had to focus on it and beat it.

It’s a pragmatic approach to life in a way — one that seems to be a Moritz family trait. What’s in front of us right now? Let’s address that first. Then, we can move on to other things.

My father’s side of the family doesn’t often wear their heart on their sleeves so it’s possible that privately there is doubt and fear and concern over facts not yet in evidence. But that’s not how they come across. No, the Moritz family is filled with fiercely independent individuals who support each other while each finds his or her own way. They do their own thing but have deep love, care and concern for the others in their lives. And they focus on the positive, on what they can do in any moment, in any situation, and move forward from there.

It’s a lesson that I try to focus on and cultivate in my own life, particularly when the world is throwing me curve balls — like jury duty summons and lake effect snow warnings. And they are traits I’m thinking about often these days from the combination of my aunt’s health and the holidays.

See, Christmas is the time I most associate with Aunt Mary. She returned to Western New York for at least two weeks (sometimes longer) to visit family and friends. She would spend up to a week staying at our house and I adored that time. The holidays have a different rhythm than the rest of the year — one that I cherish more the older I get. Every year we had a Moritz night out on the town with Aunt Mary taking us out to a “fancy” restaurant for dinner. Often, we took a trip to walk around the Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls. We’d hear about Aunt Mary’s latest trips (she always seemed to be traveling), do a good amount of visiting and I would get to eavesdrop on conversations about people I never met but which nonetheless fascinated me.

It’s been a number of years since we enjoyed that kind of holiday entertainment and part of me hopes to continue the tradition. The people and details may change but the pace and the attitude stay the same.

What’s in front of me today? What’s in front of me right now? What’s the opportunity here?

It’s an approach which keeps the uncertainty of my schedule and the weather from wrecking my day.

It’s an approach which keeps me focused during challenging workouts.

It’s an approach which keeps the holiday unique — and allows every day to be special regardless of time and circumstance.

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