Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016- Balance

Happy New Year!!

I know, it's been a while. I've missed the outlet of blogging so I thought ringing in the new year was a great time to try and get back into it.

I really hate the idea of New Year's resolutions. Like an arbitrary date is really a signal that it's the best time to make a change. But a few years ago, I had a friend who told me that each January she picks a word that will be her focus for the year. A touchstone to come back to as you walk through the months. I loved the idea, so I started in 2013 with Joy.

When I chose joy, I didn't know what a challenging year lay ahead, but I told myself I would work hard to find to joy in every situation. Early in the year Brooks' company started struggling. Our paychecks were late, then sporadic. The company failed to pay health insurance repeatedly which led to me banning trampoline fun and considering covering the boys in bubble wrap. In October, on Dash's birthday, we got the call that the plug had been pulled. The company folded. I had no idea how we were going to get through it, what we were going to do next or how I was going to lift up my broken husband. So I looked for joy. I found joy in our love for each other. I found joy in the extra time with my husband home, even as the circumstances stunk. I found joy in the support from our parents and friends. I found joy in our amazing preschool who not only employed me, but gave Kell free tuition. And I found endless joy in my boys who likely never realized how much I needed their snuggles and kisses.

The next year started with our family still in jobless limbo, so I chose Faith as my word for 2014. Brooks started looking at jobs in other cities and it looked like there was a possible move to Denver in our future. It felt so important to believe that we would land exactly where we were meant to be. The beginning of the year seemed to crawl by as Brooks took a job in LA while waiting to hear from the other offers. Then in March everything changed quickly - he got an offer in Maryland, close to my hometown, and had two weeks to get himself there to start. We agreed I would stay in California to sell the house and let the kids finish out the year.  Faith couldn't have been a more relevant word to get me through the next few months! The house sold in days, we packed up most of our stuff to ship it east and stayed in a hotel to make it through a school play and a first communion. Meanwhile Brooks and I settled on a city I'd never been to and he bought a home I'd see for the first time when moving in (FAITH!) I had a bittersweet farewell dinner with friends as dear as family, checked out of the hotel the next morning and the boys and I jumped on a one-way flight to our future. Arriving late, we stayed with my parents the first night and the next morning drove to see our new home. It also happened to be Mother's Day (good thing he picked a great house :)). I was terrified that our children would have trouble adjusting and that Brooks would hate his job and by the time I looked around and realized that they were all fine - no GREAT - I would realize that I was the only one having trouble adjusting. I'd be lying if I said it was easy, it wasn't. But we now live in an amazing community and having my children get to see their grandparents more than once a year is such a gift.

After choosing such a rewarding word for 2014, I wanted to do more in 2015 so my word was Yes. I promised myself I would put myself out there, I would try more, do more, get involved. I missed so much about California that it had really held me back from loving more about Maryland. I needed to fully embrace our new life here. In 2015 I would go all-in. And because I was so grateful for our good fortune, I felt compelled to do good as often as I could. If I was asked to donate - time, talent, money - I'd remind myself that "if not me, then who." If I could have done it, I did. I considered choosing No for 2016. But I didn't.

The word I chose for 2016 was Path. 2015 had given me so many new experiences but I wanted to narrow my focus. I wanted to figure out what I really wanted to be when I grow up. I wanted to open myself to the life I was meant to be living. I wanted to feel as settled as everyone else seemed to be. As the year progressed, I felt myself focusing on what was really important and thinking about what I could let go of. But mirroring 2014, the word seemed profoundly prescient as I was forced to think about something I was putting off - the size of our family. Brooks and I had talked about being "done", but we hadn't taken any real measures to ensure it. In late Oct/early Nov, I spent a few days feeling like I was coming down with something, then I realized I was late. We were pregnant. Our joy was short-lived and I had a miscarriage. But it forced us to face what we really wanted and demanded an honest dialogue about that path. It also gave us another opportunity to grow and strengthen our relationship as we celebrated 15 years of marriage. We finished out the year on an amazing vacation, a high note, and again I felt grateful as I reflected on how the word had informed my year.

For 2017, my word is balance. Life/work, self-care/mothering, food/activity, needs/wants, you name it. Balance. I'll let you know how it goes! Consider choosing a word for yourself this year and let me know what it is!

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