2021 holiday letter

Dear Friends & Family, Christmas 2021

2021 has been a year I’ll remember for the Aga family. Life is good, and we continue to watch with wonder as our kids grow into the young people God has in store for each one of them. But 2021 was also a year of a missed opportunity for me.

Austin (23) is turning into a world explorer. He spent May in Italy with the OU in Arezzo program, and subsequently graduated from OU in June with his degree in advertising. He took advantage of the work-from-home trend and decided to start his career by moving to Seattle, Washington where he teleworks for Global Gear, an OKC based apparel company. On weekends he is exploring Seattle and the Pacific Northwest and hopes to continue his career with a northwest agency in 2022.

Evan (20) is in his second year at OU, which feels like a first year since last year as a university freshman all his classes were virtual with closed buildings. This year the OU campus feels open again, and Evan is living in an apartment east of campus, with a pair of roommates he has known since kindergarten. He bikes to his classes for engineering a couple times each day, which is giving him great exercise. He has grown well over 6 feet tall, and is easily the tallest Aga. He likes to take quick sprints (he does a half-mile in under 3 minutes ), and he spends weekends with the OU academic bowl team, including tournaments in Oklahoma and Texas.

Addison (14) is in her 10th year of dance at Massay’s, and her 2nd year of cheer at Whittier Middle School.

Emerson (14) is playing point guard for the WMS 8th grade varsity basketball team. She has a great team and group of friends, and she practices and gets better each day.

Addison and Emerson came with Shelli and I to Portugal this summer, where we got to explore Lisbon and Porto. We rented a car for a week and made it to the mountains that separate Portugal from Spain.

Neville’s parents Hoshi and Nergish decided to move from Birmingham to Norman to be closer to their grandkids. They have settled into a senior living center in Norman and Neville gets to drop by throughout the week. It is a very different dynamic than having them 700 miles away. They have gotten to see one of Emerson’s basketball games and weekly lunches with their kids and grandkids.

Shelli’s parents have had a challenging 2021 with Donnie getting a cancer diagnosis, but the great news is that reasonably early detection has given him a good prognosis, and he is feeling better now than he has felt at any time this year.

Shelli is active daily in her local yoga studio, fit and strong as ever. She is practicing headstands and keeping our family on track with all the events, activities, and homework of the girls.

As for me, after running what is likely my final half-marathon in October, I found out I have a broken heart (literally, not figuratively) and will need surgery in 2022 . I will finish up my night MBA program from OU this summer. Work at Cisco is humming along fine, I am in my 13th year of architecting networks at OU/OSU and school districts around the state. I did have an opportunity to move to the beach in Daphne, AL. Really a dream job for me at this career stage — Cisco security in commercial covering Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Looking back now I am very upset with myself for turning it down. I think about that bungled opportunity daily. I thought I was putting my girls needs ahead of my needs, but in reality I did not show the leadership and vision that the head of a family should show. At least now I know what was the biggest mistake of my life. One day soon I do want to get back to Alabama and the beach.

We hope this letter finds you well and thriving. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and an exciting 2022.

Neville, Shelli, Addison, Emerson, Austin and Evan

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