I may have a husband, a house, two kids, and an 11:00 bedtime. I may listen to NPR and have hobbies that are very stereotypically domestic and feminine (knitting, sewing, baking - the trifecta!). I may allegedly be a grown-up. But here I am, nearly 31 years old, and I have yet to write a Christmas letter or send out a single bona fide Christmas card. I like getting other people's cards, mind you, and seeing the pictures of their adorable children and reading about their lives, especially those friends who live far away and are rarely in touch. But I just can't bring myself to do it, and I don't know if I ever will.

I do, however, blog! So anyone who wants to see our pictures and keep up with our comings and goings can read it. That counts for something, right?

Anyway, the end of the year makes many of us reflect on events of the past 12 months, and since my birthday is the 29th and I'll officially be another year older, it's always a double whammy for me. New Year, new age, new goals. Rather than a Christmas letter, I'm doing this post on the eve of the Solstice. I hope it's not too boring.

The past year for me as an individual has been stunningly uneventful. I made absolutely no moves toward furthering a professional career of any kind. None. I had thought I might take accounting and try to acquire new skills, but I didn't. I didn't even play many gigs, just a few low-stress auditions (low-stress for me, not the kids auditioning) and a couple choir concerts. Some days I am okay with this, and some days I am not.

As far as parenthood goes, though, it's been a really good year. Around the end of June, Daniel finally decided to use the toilet all the time, and that had been coming for a good long while. He learned to write his name and spell a few dozen words. Sometime in the spring, perhaps a little later than average, Anya left babyhood behind and became quite the delightful toddler. She finally started to talk around Halloween, and since then I think her vocabulary has doubled every day. They both enjoy and absorb the world around them with the kind of excitement, wonder and enthusiasm that is present only in the very, very young. Whatever direction my professional life takes, I'm glad to experience this time with my children.

Stuart's big news is that he is finally finished taking Computer Science classes at the UW, which he has been doing the past 2 years on top of working full-time. Yesterday afternoon was his final final exam. We celebrated with our friend J, who works with Stu and toiled alongside him all four semesters of those classes; J spent many an evening here on pair programming projects while I cleaned up the kitchen and got the kids to bed myself so they could work. They're a little smarter for it and I'm a little tougher, so we all celebrated with fancy beer and a feast of falafel, pita, hummus, salad, roasted vegetables and cupcakes, all made from scratch. Well, not the beer. J bought the beer. And you know what? Next semester will be the first time EVER in our adult lives that neither Stuart nor I has been enrolled in an institute of higher education for some reason or other (except those few months after Daniel was born, but that doesn't really count, since I wasn't finished). Stu is glad he'll have some leisure time in the evenings to do what he likes and spend better time with the family.

It's been a year of truly distressing medical news for many of our family and friends. Two cancer diagnoses and a broken leg eventually led to recovery and healing, thankfully. But there are other things causing concern. Stuart's cousin had a very premature baby this week, and of course we all hope for the best, but she still has a long way to go. And one of my family members, an aunt, may have a rare and untreatable degenerative brain disease; supposedly we will have a definitive diagnosis by Christmas. As much frustration and anxiety I experience with day-to-day life, I am constantly trying to remind myself to be grateful for the big picture, to live in the moment more, to love the good moments, to breathe steadily through the bad ones, and every once in a while send a little something - you might call it a prayer, I might call it something else like a hope or a wish of good intention - out there for those who need it more than I.

And so, Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice to all of you! I hope you are finished with your holiday shopping and got your flu shots and finished your final exams and donated to a worthy cause or two and all those things that seem so hurried this time of year.

We are traveling to Kentucky for Christmas this year. Hopefully we can leave Wednesday night, but the weather forecast is looking dicey. I expect I'll post again before too long, but in case I don't, Happy Holidays!


Caffeine Girl said…
Don't be so hard on yourself. You will find your way back to professional work when the time is right!

Have a safe trip.
drive safely! we're leaving for Iowa right after my exam Tuesday. It's scheduled until 4:45 - hope to finish early (but 150 multiple choice questions don't sound promising for a 2-hour exam). See you in January!
Steph said…
I loved this. I need to do a blog post like this myself.
Pam said…
I'm so glad I'm finally catching up on your blog!! It's so great to hear what you've been up to and know that you and your family are doing well for the most part. I look forward to reading more!!

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