w00t!

Yesterday my sister completed her college education. She beat the odds — lots of odds. Do you know how many people start but fail to complete college? To say nothing of moms with three children attending numerous institutions of higher learning in several states over nearly two decades? Not many. Reality check! (Or this. Or this.) U.S. completion rates are a national tragedy but .. MY SISTER DID IT! Words cannot express just how proud I am of her.

Tonight we’re going to celebrate. She’s in Virginia and I am not so we will celebrate virtually. We’ll start with a glass of white wine in each state (okay, maybe two) as she unpacks a couple of boxes. Inside are a series of surprises I shipped last week.

She’s out for a run right now so it’s safe to spill these beans…

There are a few unwrapped odds ‘n ends. There is a money belt, per Rick Steves, to secure valuables in pick-pocket territory. (Sure, he’s goofy but he’s also proven right.) A bundle of Redkin shampoos and conditioners in handy foil packets, courtesy of my stylist. The Rick Steves’ 2012 Italy guidebook with an especially nice section on Rome. (Hotel Smeraldo requires current copy in hand for the discount.) The movie “In Her Shoes” with Cameron Diaz. And a selection of sweet and nostalgic tunes for such a time as this.

There are a few gift wrapped items, too. Mini-shortbread cookies and dried fruit nuggets packaged with the Royal Caribbean logo, just for fun. A huge quasi-classy Royal Caribbean tote bag. A bottle of Victoria’s Secret body lotion in some exotic scent. And a home-made travel journal.

That last one is my favorite. It’s so analog. I started with a small spiral bound notebook and added little maps and notes about the journey ahead. I sketched out some walking tours. And included some thoughts about what my sister means to me; sometimes you don’t figure that out until years after you last shared a closet, clothes or a bedroom.*

So, yes. We’ll soon embark on A. Big. Trip. in honor of my sister’s awesome achievement. I can’t wait to begin scheming excursions on Crete and in Athens, Greece; in Ephesus, Turkey; on Sicily, Italy; and especially to return to Rome! I’m going to plot a path a couple thousand years behind the apostle, Paul. In between, we’ll sail the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, enjoying sweet sunsets. No doubt she’ll lap me in her morning runs as I’m walking off dessert and frosty concoctions. With any luck, my daughter and her son will join our celebration.

Seems this is the ~year of celebrations, eh? Two chids’ weddings. A new job. Two special sister trips abroad — the first was in March. Come November, the Hubs and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. That’s an awesome thirteen-month ride. W00t!

Just for my sister, I’ll say it again: w00t! That’s w-double-zero-t — w00t!

~René Morley

*And again, this is why I love Terri Hendrix’ “Sister’s Song”. Listen in…

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