I welcomed 2012 in the quiet of my childhood home, my two month old baby sleeping quietly beside me. I was glad to see a new year. 2011 was difficult for our family in many ways, facing death and disease and discomfort. I wanted the fresh start. I believe in them.
This year was redeeming on some levels. It was not twelve months of perfect, but it was not all painful, either. There is still disease, and that weighs on our hearts every day. People we love fight monsters we don’t understand and our physical distance furthers our helplessness. There was also joy, and healing, and cracks that provided transformation.
I was a friend. Relationship is the key of my life. In Oklahoma, where the culture is so different, I took for granted the natural friendships. Since I moved to LA and out of the sorority house at the same time, I have learned one lesson after another about adult friendship. It has been mostly confusing and frustrating. I spent many years trying to twist LA’s arm into what I believed it was doing wrong in the girlfriend department, and it was only when I let go of these expectations that I found a camaraderie in this city and, of course, online. Friendship doesn’t look the same in 2012 as it did in 1995, and relaxing into that brought people into my life for whom I am grateful. Realizing, slowly, that old friendships will also change has been a relief. I clench less tightly to parts of my past, hoping others will give me the same grace.
Of all my talk about friendship over the years, I’ve had revelations lately that my angst clouded the fact that I am often a crummy friend. I won’t make any grand declarations about how I’m going to change this, just that acknowledgment is the first step.
I was a mother. Just as with my daughter, my recovery and emergence from the fog was slower than I would have liked after the delivery of my son. When I was going through pictures this weekend, some of the earliest of Pirate don’t even ring a bell. Fourteen months later, I wouldn’t say my body has bounced completely back, but my mind feels better. These early years are hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Wouldn’t you know it, I’m not the most patient parent. I am quick to accept my strengths and weaknesses in many areas, but there are things about my own parenting that I know I want to do better. I’m okay with not being the fun-wrestle-on-the-floor momma, but I wish we sat and read books together more. I’m okay with being the primary disciplinarian, but I need to make sure to temper that with as much healthy praise as possible. These early years are hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
I was a wife. The Gorilla and I celebrated five years of marriage this September. Our wedding weekend seems like it was just minutes ago, but I feel like I have been joined to this man for most of my life. His work and its success gives us our home, our food, our lifestyle, and it comes with strings attached. This year we had to make more compromises on our time and hearts than we ever have previously. We draw from a solid foundation, and I praise God above that I married someone kind and generous, with the ability to put up with a lot of crazy. Marriage is a marathon.
I was a writer. I called myself that this year for the first time without trepidation. I have always been a writer in my heart, but I haven’t always written. This year, as a paid writer for several websites and with the invitation to visit Sri Lanka with World Vision, I finally felt like I was moving towards a dream.
Still, I want to deepen. I feel like I fell into some bloggy traps this year that I want to rectify for 2013. Most days it’s easier to tell you my beauty routine instead of opening my soul, but great moisturizer only enhances so much. Writing is for me like exercising is for others. I breathe and sleep better when I’m doing it. I feel off when I don’t. I have written tens of thousands of words in 2012, but most of them won’t last beyond their link. I vow to write more that matters.
My mantra for 2012 was to Start Where You Are. I said it to myself all year, and I have messages from many of you that you did, too. I did, I think, Start. The message of it is something I will carry forward. So we’ve started, now what? This is the middle, how do I want to fill it? How do you?