It's that time again...one year prepares to give way to the next and I'm left very contemplative and thinky as it does. This space has been pretty hit or miss this year, and truthfully, it's likely to continue that way. I might do a year in review post and I might not. It might have pictures and links or maybe it will be entirely different or maybe it will exist only in my head. I know for sure that in 2014, I want to worry less (so much less) about the stuff that is truly inconsequential, no matter how much I build it up in my head to be huge. And the truth is, what's important is capturing our family moments and memories and telling our stories in whatever way(s) make sense. Sometimes that will be here, other times via photo books or scrapbooks or just real, in-the-moment living. Time will tell, and I'm prepared to let it. At last.
2013 was mostly a good year, and the real truth is that my biggest obstacle throughout (and this spans personal, professional and all of the in between) was ME. I want to make sure that isn't the case in 2014.
I sit here having just released my family back to myriad destinations after a lovely Christmas together and I'm ridiculously blessed. That phrase is over-used to be sure, but it's absolutely the truth and I need to hold on to that tighter. I am quite literally surrounded by people who love me and support me and want nothing more than to enjoy this life with me, and that's just the whole ticket. Nothing else matters. Early into this new year, we'll open our hearts and our home to another wee one, and while there are parts of that fact that make me nervous and anxious, I mostly just feel excited and ready. Because it just feels like that's the direction our family was always supposed to go, and I can't wait to meet our newest member. He's going to be awesome, and so is 2014.
But before we turn that page, an annual rundown of the chapters behind us:
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Conceived a second child (and with far less time, assistance and theatrics than our first). I'll add that last detail fully risking diversion into TMI terrritory with appropriate apologies.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Meh, didn't really make them, and probably won't again. I'm not much into those, but I am into resetting for new years and really trying to stay the course, which I guess is really the same thing at the end of the day. I'll try that again for sure.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? So many friends and coworkers and acquaintances welcomed babies this year. Even when I'm so sick of social media I'm ready to pull the plug on all of it, the babies in my various feeds keep me going. So much cute. So much joy.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No, and I type that with bated breath and wholehearted gratitude. I don't take it for granted, because I do realize how very short this life is and how very blessed we are to get to be with the people we love for all the time that we're granted. None of it is certain, but all of it is a gift. (That sounds unbelievably corny, but it's where I am right now, and so it's staying.)
5. What places did you visit? Several trips to Charleston and Kiawah, Morgantown to see my parents, the lake to see MIL, Arizona for work, Orlando to see Beck and meet the sweet P's, and that's about it. Kept it mostly local this year, and you know what? I'm fine with that. Travel isn't a priority in this particular life season. So it goes.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Clearer headspace, a stronger dedication to fitness and good health, and a commitment to some level of "me time" because in the end, it will make me a better wife, Mommy and everything else I need to be.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 30 when I had the honor of watching my beautiful girl turn one and June 22 when we discovered that our family was expanding. I also have to mention that first weekend in October when we gathered four generations for the first time to celebrate my Gram's 80th birthday. Even while living it, it had the unmistakeable feel of one of those life moments that you want to pause and remember for the special event that it is.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Keeping my daughter thriving and healthy. I don't take full credit for that, of course. But when I think of achievement, she is what first pops into my head. And making the tough decision to switch my work schedule from five days to four. It didn't fix everything, but it gave me a little more time with my girl, and that made a measurable difference.
9. What was your biggest failure? Staying in my head too much, worrying (way) too much, letting the small stuff get to me. Allowing all of that to make me cranky and snappy too often. Enough already.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing that warrants a mention, and seriously, what an amazing gift that is.
11. What was the best thing you bought? MacBook Air, maybe? Not really sure on this one, but I do adore this silly machine and I use it constantly, so it fits the bill.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Rowan Marie's. My kid is awesome and she's exploded and blossomed so much this year. She's truly a wonderful girl, and I'm insanely proud of her.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Politicians. All of them. Both sides.
14. Where did most of your money go? Nanny, mortgage, savings and probably also (effing) credit cards.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Rowan's first steps and first words and too many amazing moments with my little family to count. And it was pretty damn exciting to find out we're having a son, too. And just yesterday, a scare with our littlest fur baby had a positive ending and I'm still heart-bursting excited about that.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013? I have no idea. I've completely let the habit of discovering new music lapse, and I need to pick it back up again. In the meantime though, it's all about 'You Are My Sunshine' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.' :)
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? The same I think?
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, but I'm also 31 weeks pregnant, so there's a reason! :)
c) richer or poorer? Probably the same here too.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Twirling with my daughter, playing on the floor with her, hugging my husband, cuddling my fur babies. Oh, and working out (sigh).
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying. Giving two shits what people think of me. Letting that voice in my head have way too much power.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013? Here in Chicago with my parents and brother. We cooked at home, enjoyed meals out, ran a billion errands, knocked out some house projects (yep, my family does house projects on vacation...I wasn't kidding about being lucky), went to church, laughed and told stories and loved every minute of magical Christmas in the company of an almost 18-month-old. They left this morning and I miss them so.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? I spent all of 2013 with Beeg and Rowan and Jack and Cooper: the absolute loves of my life. I can't wait to meet my newest love in 2014.
22. What was your favorite TV program? House of Cards, Homeland, Scandal
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2013? Oh jeez, I don't remember! We went to Charleston for a week right after though.
24. What was the best book you read? I never know how to answer this! I didn't read nearly enough in 2013, but the book that immediately comes to mind because I loved it, was sad when it ended, and thought about it for weeks afterward is 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes.
25. What did you want and get? Another year of good health and family fun.
26. What did you want and not get? A svelte, rockin' bod? :) To be fair, the not working out and the getting pregnant didn't really help with this one.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Nothing stands out as noteworthy. Our movie habit has declined considerably post-kiddo. Imagine that!
28. Did you make some new friends this year? You know, I felt all consumed by work and immediate family this year, and I didn't do much in the way of 'friending' at all. I need to change that because I miss my friends and I always love meeting new ones.
29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Truthfully? Tipping the work/life scale a little more in the direction of life. I'm not mentioning the word balance because I'm not sure I believe in it anymore, but more time with my kid always makes the biggest difference.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Complete avoidance of anything form-fitting?
31. What kept you sane? My husband, my daughter, my fur babies, my family, wine (until that whole pregnant thing), good books, a little bit of time by the sea.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Amy Poehler. I love her...she makes me laugh, she does great things with her money and her fame and she sets a lovely example for young women. I'm pretty much past the phase of "fancying" the famous at this point in my life, but she's as close as it gets, I suppose.
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Politics in general stirred me this year, and not in a good way. I had to take a break from the news writ large for a while because there were times when I worried so much for the lot of us and our future and the world I am bringing these beautiful children into, that I could not breathe. It has to get better.
34. Who did you miss? My parents and my brother. Ash and Beck and Robin (and the amazing five children (and one on the way) between them. I'd like to have these people so much closer so our daily lives could tangle up in awesome ways.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. With all due credit to Eleanor, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I gave that consent way too often in 2013. And I can't anymore, because my daughter is watching. And also? A reminder that so much of the good stuff in life...happiness and joy and gratitude...is a choice.