I knew I’d write a New Year’s post of some sort. When you write compulsively anyway, the siren song of a manufactured call for reflection is just too much to pass up.
I’ve had no chance to get near the computer for the past few days, but that mattered not. ‘Writing’ to me has become far less a physical act than it is a mental exercise. So I spent the last two nights writing, as it were – toying with words, parsing them, rearranging them and editing them in my head. (In case you ever wondered what I do at two a.m., now you know.)
There was no question of what tone the post would take. There was no threat of it feeling remotely melancholy nor containing so much as a faint sense of nostalgia. Instead, I knew from the start that the post would carry an air of defiance. Of good riddance. Of ‘Hey, 2010, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.’ Of ‘Thank God it’s over’-ness.
2010 was not an easy year for my family. In fact, it was one of the most trying on record. And in a life that’s been anything but a straight line, that’s saying something. I couldn’t – or wouldn’t – or, well, let’s just say I chose not to – write about what was happening in the background of our lives this year. Instead, I kept my focus tight on the main characters in our story, steadfastly shutting out that which I’d deemed inappropriate for public consumption.
So there was little to no mention of the nagging fear that dominated most of 2010. There were no posts about the nearly endless string of sleepless nights, no entries delving into the often painful self-reflection, desperate frustration or overwhelming insecurity that the year’s events precipitated. And yet, that was the year in a nutshell. It would be pretty easy to look back and say unequivocally that 2010 just plain sucked.
I planned to resurrect a favorite quote from T.S, Eliot’s Little Gidding. It’s one that I’ve used before. It’s even the very same one that I put on our Christmas cards this year, at least in part. The one in which I knew some recipients would sense a hint of not yet faint bitterness, while others wouldn’t read into at all.
Last season’s fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
I even thought about trying to hunt down the origin of the expression, ‘*%#@ you and the horse you rode in on’ to add a little color to 2010’s grand send off. I mean, if you’re going to do it, might as well do it right.
But then something changed. I don’t know why. I’m not sure exactly when. There was no single, perspective changing event. But I suddenly found my stark, unforgiving memory beginning to soften.
I started to remember that although 2010 was hard – even really, really hard – it had contained some really wonderful moments.
There were watershed moments in which years of work came together and progress – undeniable, real, tangible, HUGE, previously unimaginable progress took shape.
There were blissful moments of unprecedented freedom.
There were cherished moments spent with each of my children, with my husband, with all of us together as a family.
There were walks with friends.
There was a vacation – God it seems like a lifetime ago – but there was a vacation. There was a kite and a beach and laughter. There was a milestone. And then another.
There was a play date and then another play date.
There was a friend.
There was the very first field trip I got to chaperone.
There was a play.
There was a dog. Holy hell, there was a DOG. Who ever would have believed we’d get a dog? Us – a family with a child TERRIFIED of dogs. And not just a dog, but Winston.
There was the Inclusion Committee and the Panel on Learning Differences.
There were revelations realized and bridges both built and crossed.
There was circular gratitude and respect.
There were new friendships forged.
There was Mama camp.
There were long summer days by the pool.
There was a movie – a whole movie in a theater for the first time EVER.
There were new favorite colors.
There were rides on a flume.
There was sisterhood, both familial and chosen.
There was family.
There was the Godspell dress rehearsal and the Mary Magdalene doll.
There was support.
There was faith.
There was friendship.
There was community.
There was love.
Yes, there was an abundance of love.
( ed note: I wish I had the time or the inclination to make links of all those. I have neither, but each and every one of them can be found within the last twelve months of posts.)
So, where will I leave 2010? Where will I end the retrospective and what will I choose to carry forward into 2011?
I’ll leave it at this -
2010 was hard. Yes, I’ve said that repeatedly, but trust me – HARD. Nearly comically so at times. And in many ways I won’t be sorry to see it go. But if I’ve learned one thing on this crazy ride, it’s that as overwhelming as the hard stuff might be at any given time, hard is never the only story. And if we wish the time away and long for nothing but kicking the years in the ass on their way out the door, we might just wind up denying ourselves a long list of really beautiful, life-changing memories.
I won’t miss the lows, but I will carry their lessons as I continue down the road. I will walk into the new year holding them close. But they will not be the only souvenir of the year. They will be right next to the now very long list of good – really good – memories that are also etched into my being. And I will be grateful for the blessings – all of the blessings – of another year in this crazy life.
I wish you and yours happiness, health, peace, progress and joy in the New Year. And God willing, a lot more sweet than hard.
And an abundance of love.