Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Rewind

Looking back at my January Magic 8 ball predictions I'm ending 2013 in a pensive state.  I desperately wanted some to happen including:

- there will have been Kenyan soil on my shoes

- I would have had a reason to wash an entire load of smelly, sweaty gym clothes each week

- I would have run a 5k with Ben

- Realizing that I am nearing 40, consciously made the best choices for myself physically and psychologically

- I would have thought before I spoke in anger

Others did happen

- thought seriously about if and how I want to exit teaching

- quietly walked away from commitments as well as relationships that I no longer want to invest time

- done what I could to ensure Ben was getting the best care and then didn't guilt myself that I didn't do more

- broke my own goal of 30 books on Goodreads by summer and as of today am starting book 50

-  worked to meet up with my brother more often

- showed appreciation to those that make my life full in small ways.  Sometimes signed, other anonymously

In 2013 we turned 38, 38, 7, and 3. Over the year, 130 blog posts were written and 49 books read. Many miles put on the car with roadtrips a plenty to FL twice, and DC three times.  We returned to the happiest place on Earth (whole family.) We had the chance in lifetime to be in the Supreme Court and the National Archives over the summer of teacher institutes (Heather). We went to DragonCon (Bill), HeroesCon (Bill and Ben) and have already started making our 2014 convention plans (Bill.) We had a bounce house 3rd birthday and 7th giant waterslide party.  We went to therapy and stopped therapy when the time was right (Ben and Mom).  We spent our first sleepover party and had a friend to porch-camp out for the 1st time (Ben). We were caught playing hot tub with our girlfriend during a summer playdate (Ben.)  We rode bikes/trikes through the 2nd floor on Sunday mornings while mom worked at school (Ben, Ian, Mom.) After originally planning to pass, we went to our 20th high school reunion for a memorable high school girls night (Heather.)

We went to Y Camp (Ben), Wee Camp (Ian), did Jr. Jazzercise (Ben) and Tumblin' Tots (Ian).  We took three trips to the beach for long weekend trips (Ben, Ian, Mom.) We lost first teeth (Ben) and transitioned to full on underwear (Ian).  We did parent/child art classes and used our studio pass to continue clay creations (Ben and Mom). We were in a family wedding (Bill, Ben, and Ian.) We crashed a wedding by sobbing about a lost quarter in the bushes (Ian.) We went to lots of repeat places like the NC Zoo, Durham Science and Life, Pullen Park, Scrap Exchange, and Marbles.  We ventured out to new places for Camp Mommy field and weekend trips.

As 2013 closes, many dreams were realized, others deferred, even more took a different course than planned. It was a year in which there were times of extreme joy but also of dire sadness and crushing loneliness. Routines became a surrogate companion.

As 52 weeks unfolded I can say that I am thankful for my health, the health of my family, the ability to work, and the gift of time spent with Ben and Ian.  I have few regrets that I didn't say yes to the important opportunities when presented.

As tradition my Best in Show:

Best books read:  The Dovekeepers, Five Days at Memorial, NightFilm, Where Did You Go Bernadette, Beautiful Ruins, We Live in Water

Author I want to meet at Starbucks for coffee- Jess Walters.  I read three very different books in style and substance in 2013 and loved them all.

Best TV- House of Cards.  I just  re-watched season one and loved it all over.  Inside the Beltline drama that would make Shakespeare proud. Addition to Breaking Bad and Good Wife and it's desk clearing betrayal tie for 2nd.  Honorable mentions for Portlandia, Homeland, and Arrested Development binge watching.

Best movies- I saw few movies in a theater or even at home this year. I loved going to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham in April as well as the AFI Documentary Festival while in DC in June. In particular I loved films The Stories We Tell, Frances Ha, and the chilling, and intense true story After Tiller.  My 2014 list of to see includes:  American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue is the Warmest Color, Kill Your Darlings, West of Memphis, and All is Lost.

Best new cooking related item- Skinnytaste for great recipes with Weight Watcher points already calculated.  The Shrimp Salsa was a summer staple at Casa Vinson.

Best local Camp Mommy location-  Three Bears Acres- Can we say ask a kid to dream up everything they could ever want to do outside and then grant their wish? 2nd place- Durham Science and Life.  I have already earned back the cost of a membership in Sunday afternoon visits with the boys to burn off energy.

Best new Camp Mommy location- The NC Transportation Museum and Dan Nichols Park in Spencer, NC.  Who would have thought on a 100 degree August day we would have spent almost 8 hours?

I'm excited to try out The Carolinas Aviation Museum as a meet up with Uncle Brian soon.

What kept me going on the long days filled with many moments of brotherly love fighting.  

Moment of right timing- The decision to end counseling for Ben this fall.  At this point last year, Ben had lost a great deal of weight and was in counseling after a difficult fall.  We found the right medication, his appetite returned, he ended the year on grade level for reading, and outside of normal 7 year old fears, he his happy and content.  At his final session, his counselor had me sit in on his time and it was all I could do not to sob at how much in a year can change.

Parenting Fail of 2013- A tie, between Ian walking out completely naked after going to "wash his hands" at a T ball game as recounted in Gettin' Busy in a Burger King Bathroom or my picking up and exiting stage left with a sobbing Ian during Bill's brother's wedding. Both defied reason or logic other than the mind of a 3 year old.  I won't even mention 8 stitches in one week, including five as a Mother's Day present spent in an ER.

Best way to spend an adult evening- Cards Against Humanity.  If I ever needed a reason to mention Oprah crying into a Lean Cuisine, I found it.  This card game is a must for parties sans kids with a required two drink minimum.

Thanks Internet, but no thanks. In cutting chatter and time wasting, in 2013 I abandoned Twitter outside of flagging news articles to read and Pintrest for unattainable Martha-like lifestyles.  I never was on Instagram and I don't play any online games.  I feel so 1988, but the payoff is more time = more sleep = more happy

Thank you Internet... So worth reading and/or listening-
33 Rules for Not Being a Crummy Human Being- Single Dad Laughing
Giving it Away- TED Radio Hour
Harper High School Series- This American Life

Moment for 2013- 10:00 am on June 24th at the US Supreme Court.  Few people hear the smooth voice of NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenburg and get excited. I never in a million years would have believed that in the most important week of the Supreme Court's term that I would be sitting in front of the robed nine. Being part of the DC energy of those awaiting a monumental decision on gay rights was amazing. Seeing Justice O'Connor and meeting Justice Ginsburg was a once in a lifetime experience.  I am so lucky to have been part of the teachers chosen for the 2013 Supreme Court Institute.

We have again weathered the hard among the many, many moments of unbridled happiness throughout the year. We live our lives at maximum volume with loud, crazy days.  I am reminded that checking the enough box is ok, and perfection is an illusion of unattainable status.  I take into a new year confidence that with patience comes answers. I have the knowledge what is to come in 2014 will happen regardless of anything I attempt to do to control.   I'm leaving 2013 behind and hoping for a 39th year around the sun filled with goodness and light.

Happy new year, happy new dreams to you and yours in 2014.


Carrie said...

Happy New Year! I think it is great that you are spending more time with your brother! And, wow. You've read a lot of books this year! I am sure it beats all the time you would of spent on Twitter.

LauraC said...

Happy new year Heather! This is my favorite post of the year. So happy you are my friend and I hear you on this being a tough year but a good year at the same time. My post tomorrow has similar thoughts.

Ms Mae said...

What a great year you had. I love looking back at each year and thinking it was a great year and really couldn't get better.....just to end that year with the same thoughts. Enjoyed your recap. Excited to see what 2014 brings.