This year has sometimes seemed like it happened to someone else, a long time ago.

For the first time in 25 years, I didn’t manage to design or send a single holiday card. But I was touched by those who’ve sent greetings and news, so I’m putting our holiday 2020 online.

Cheryl Strayed put it well: “It’s been a hard year for most of us. Hard, hard, hard.” Lynne Twist wrote, “When the heart feels tender and broken, leaning in to the wisdom of … thoughtful writers can be a balm for the soul… Our pain has the wisdom to teach us.” We’ve been working and learning from home, sad and scared by global events, missing everyone, but fortunate and healthy.

With no commute, the dog gets very, very long walks. One way I’ll remember 2020 is snippets of overheard conversation, news of spouses coping with kid-breached offices, children refusing to do school, plans cancelled, conflicts strategized. These early morning fragments drift away quickly, masked and from a distance; crossing the street to avoid each other is the new polite. But I couldn’t help feeling like all our stories are alike this year. There’s something we’ve got to talk about, and it’s floating away even as we say it.

We lost my Dad in July, not to Covid but dementia, though the pandemic prevented us from visiting, and then from holding a funeral. [Wayland Kerr 1934 – 2020]. He and Mary had lived together in Independent Living until February, but Dad needed more and more care. I think it was lucky we got him settled before everything shut down, though not being able to visit was awful. The need for rituals of grief made obvious in their absence. I never thought I’d long for uncomfortable funeral clothes or keeping the kids quiet in a funeral, but it would have been a comfort.

My brother Scott continues his role as family hero, first everything with dad, and now helping Mary with appointments and practicalities. Scott and his wife Beth are getting close to completing the house they’ve been rebuilding since the fire several years ago. That will be a joyous completion, we hope in 2021.

Jay’s brother Robert continues his IT regulation work at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission while promoting kindness and respect to non-human animals with the creative vegan community around DC and Arlington, Virginia.

Shayla is 13, 5 foot 7, and halfway through a virtual 8th Grade. She’s taught herself a lot about makeup, and sometimes startled us with a sudden new look. Currently half her hair is scarlet, in a modern above-the-shoulder did-it-at-home cut. It’s tough for her to be sequestered at home, though in some ways she’s more relaxed dealing with middle school from a distance. The adults in her life are all assuring her it gets better.

Jaden is 10, 4 foot 11-and-a-half, channeling the energy he was spending on sports and hip hop into video games. That might be a tragedy most years but is probably a grace this one. That and the trampoline his friend Mateo shares with us. Three families are coordinating “school” for our 4th Graders, with each adult snoopervising one day of the week. Fantastic that he has two friends he can see. Sometimes they even stay in class and do the lesson.

David’s godson Myles is 18; he got to have most of a Freshman first semester at NYU, after a 2 week quarantine, and has made friends and enjoyed the in-person New York, though the mostly-distance learning sounded less fun. He’s back at home in Boston until January when we hope his school will resume.

Jay’s godson Alex, 23, graduated from SF State with a Music and Business custom degree. He supplemented his school with some amazing detours, including touring his band Sarchasm through Europe (in 2019). Until our most recent shutdown we enjoyed many distanced Sunday dinners with Alex and his folks Aunt Amanda and Uncle Jonathan, though for the remainder of December we’re under strict stay-at-home orders.

Jay lost 30 lbs on Noom! And he helped lead the daunting transition to remote instruction for 3000 faculty and students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He read bios of Frederick Douglass and Janis Joplin, and started “Reaganland 1976-1980” by Rick Pearlstein. He also curated our substantial screen enjoyments. A partial list of favorites: Schitts Creek, Hamilton, The Good Lord Bird, I May Destroy You, The Crown, David Byrne’s American Utopia, The Good Place, Never Have I Ever, Insecure, Jojo Rabbit, Howard (documentary about Howard Ashman), Apple Family plays What Do We Need to Talk About and Incidental Moments of the Day, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Douglas (Hannah Gadsby), I Am Not OK with This, Russian Doll, Atlanta, the Virtual Democratic convention, Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce, Knives Out, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Trip to Greece, Rocketman, James Baldwin: I am Not Your Negro, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Call Me By Your Name.

David enjoyed a lot of reading this year, including Hilary Mantel’s trilogy Wolf Hall, Bringing Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light. Thomas Cromwell’s life was fascinating, as were the 1500s in England. And Mark Doty’s What Is the Grass: Walk Whitman in My Life was an interesting deep read of Whitman and his poetry. A perfect birthday gift. Other reading highlights: Roddy Doyle’s Love, Zadie Smith’s Intimations: Six Essays, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again, David Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue, Téa Obreht’s Inland, Sally Rooney’s Normal People, Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy, Anne Enright’s Actress, Douglas Stuart’s searing Shuggie Bain, Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance, Rumaan Alam’s That Kind of Mother, Carl Hiaasen’s Squeeze Me, Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Nick Hornsby’s Just Like You, the first three Louise Penny Inspector Gamache mysteries, three recent Liane Moriarty guilty pleasures (I’ve liked them all), and two new Jennifer Weiners. Not that you’d want them, but more books at

We hope you’re safe and well, we send our most heartfelt wishes that you find peace, comfort, and joy in 2021. May we emerge stronger, more united, and grateful for all we have.

Much love to you!