The waning hours of 2015 are upon us. Reflections on the year are all around, and I’m eating them up like they’re leftover Christmas cookies (dairy-free, of course). I can’t get enough of everyone’s top 10 lists and bullets tallying the mistakes that were made and successes that were celebrated and goals that were realized. I love most the lists that mix the good with the bad, because let’s be honest, no one gets through 365 days without a little rain.
But, oomph, 2015. There was a lot of rain this year, across the country and across the globe, and in the lives of dear friends. There were days – whole weeks — that my heart just ached. Life was brutally unfair to too many this year.
Life in our corner was, in many ways, easier, but the full adjustment to a house of two kids + two working parents came with its own challenges. I’d be glossing over the truth if I said I’ve met each of those challenges with grace and aplomb, and put them behind me. I can look at some (8 months of pumping!) and put them in the success category. Others, like managing the post-work dinner-bathtime-bedtime rush? Let’s call them works in progress and see if 2016 gives me another shot at mastering them. (Or a money tree in the backyard with which to pay a live-in cook.)
But as I’ve said in these look-back posts before, the hard times make it all the more important to pay attention to the good things around us; they make the sun shine just a little brighter. And so, with that, a few last good things from the year that was.
Things I loved:
- Baby milestones. Sitting up. Clapping. Standing up. Those first, tentative steps. Hearing “mama,” even in a wail, even at 3 a.m. The sound of the smack as she kisses my cheek.
- Toddler/preschooler milestones. Potty training. Moving to a bed (and finally staying there). “Riding” a bike. Sitting in the big swing. Putting on his own shoes (and shirt, and pants). Telling whole stories. Putting on his backpack and walking up the steps on the first day of school. Singing in his first assembly.
- Watching Teddy and Katie together. I loved it so much that I had to write a whole post about it (more about that in the next bullet). They are truly each other’s favorite person. I’m okay playing second fiddle in that picture.
Things I learned:
- There are other places to submit my work. Listen to Your Mother renewed my zeal for writing last year, and this year, I ventured out to publish it in some other venues. Thanks to The Mighty, Project Underblog, Mamalode, Club Mid, BonBon Break, The Good Mother Project, and Lacuna Loft for sharing my words (and thanks to some other sites for their gentle nature as they turned me down).
- It’s worth the time and money to invest a little in myself. Namely, to invest in some new clothes, after I spent the better part of the last four years in clothes that were outdated and stretched out. And learning about new styles can be fun! For example, now I know that I love colored pants. (I already knew that I liked elastic waists.) Thanks, Stitch Fix.
- There is so much goodness in the world. Even in a year when awful people doing horrible things to others dominated the headlines, there were amazing, moving stories of generosity and humanity and love. Like the Compassion Collective, and the Together Rising Love Flash Mob and 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion and Carry the Future and new empathy cards to say the things that are hard to say and kids who gave their class trip money to their sick teacher and 1 million people who mailed a little girl Christmas cards. And the list goes on, and I think back to it when I’d otherwise just lament that people suck and society is going to hell in a handbasket.
Things I felt grateful for:
- Good health, for me and my family. Number one, now and always. We had a bump in the middle of the year for both of my parents, but they’re both doing well now, and my blood tests continue to be where they should be.
- Friends, and family, and readers, who listened as I struggled to adjust to our new reality of infant + toddler. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and we have been sleep deprived now for 14 months. I so appreciated the support I received – without judgment – as we tried to find our footing, lost it, and searched for it again. And again. (Related: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Katie, for sleeping in your own crib for the entire night last night. Time number four in the last 14 months! Woo hoo!)
- Related: the patience of those closest to me. This year was a tough one for me in terms of figuring out the balance in motherhood, working, friendships, time for B, time for ME, and on and on (you all know the list). You also know there’s no such thing as attaining balance, but that didn’t stop me from trying to figure it out! I’m eternally grateful for the grace that others – particularly the three other people who share my house — showed me through a somewhat bumpy year. I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) smoother 2016.
Speaking of, I’ll be back next week with a look at the year ahead. In the meantime, what do you count among this year’s good things?