all in a year

In order to welcome in 2013 I feel as though I need to look 2012 in the eyes, mano a mano, see who is left standing.  Like so many people I know, I’ve been eager to say good riddance to 2012.  For our family it was a tough year, through big and small hardships.  But as Mark and I were recalling our year, the blessings began to stand apart.  I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the goodness where it was.  So, a non-exhaustive list of some of 2012’s highlights:

  • Our family got bigger.   (Of course, this is my absolute favorite thing that happened in 2012).
  • My sister turned 30, and we (well, mostly Mike) threw the world’s greatest surprise party. Ever. Seriously.  And I got a surprise visit from Caroline, all the way from England.  Seriously.
  • Mark and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.
  • Going to a(nother) Dar Williams concert, together as a family, outside in Bryn Mawr, on a beautiful June evening.  The little ones danced, and listened to the music.  We all laughed together as a bug flew up Dar’s nose and she had to stop mid-song – the Middlest still talks about it!
  • All by myself, going to Emily’s graduation from high school – the car ride on that early summer night, alone, windows down; the roar of the football stadium, the feeling of all at once being 18 again and never being 18 again, for being glad to be part of Emily’s tribe.
  • Mark started running again, in earnest.  He ran in a handful of races, and felt good about it.  He tried a few “adventure” races and discovered that the added element of having to cross creeks and run along balance beams adds a new dimension of fun.
  • Major projects that have forever been our home improvement list were finally checked off.  Knock down sunporch – check! Cut wall from kitchen to family room in half – check!  After talking about these major things forever it feels unbelievable that not just one, but TWO of them got done this year.
  • We’ve been outside, lots: hiking, playing in the dirt, the mud, the water, the sand, the snow.  And this is always a highlight.  ‘nough said.
  • My sister and I learned how to can.  We “put up” peach preserves and applesauce, and I think I speak for the both of us that, though it had a steeper-than-I-expected learning curve, it’s not hard and we’ll do plenty more of it.  Also, I’m getting pretty good at making bread.
  • The Middlest started school for the first time, and hasn’t looked back since (to no surprise of mine).
  • My college roommate and her family came to visit.  What a cool thing to watch our kids play together!  And  we had real, good grown up time after the little one’s bedtimes, around the fire pit outside, and talk is full and deep.  Funny to think back to freshman year in North…
  • And more college friends: traveling to Western PA/West Virginia was a beautiful trip.  What made it even better was sharing the weekend with dear friends from college and their families, and the best part was witnessing the marriage of Samantha and Nathaniel.  There was so much about this weekend that make it truly unforgettable – the splendor of the weather, the community that came together for Samantha and Nathaniel (that we got to be a part of!), a house shared by three families numbering six adults and seven kids, and never a dull moment.
  • On a quiet Sunday evening, while Tobin was making a peanut butter sandwich, Mike asked her to marry him.  It is with such joy that we anticipate Mike wholeheartedly becoming part of our family in the coming year.
  • We had a three (ok, maybe four) hour cousin reunion.  We played wiffle ball, we ate sandwiches, we walked and talked and laughed.  Kids ran around barefoot.  We all stretch from East Coast to West, and we’re getting pretty good a this whole speed-cousining thing.
  • There have been ordinary moments of beauty, too numerous to count, too full of life to not be noted.  Some I’ve written about: here, here and here.  Some I’ve let just lived into it, writing it into the wrinkles of my brain alone.
  • I experienced growth that is only resultant after the burning pull that comes from being stretched beyond myself – my comfort zone, beyond the edges of what I thought I knew to be my capabilities.  There were moments of blazing glory that wouldn’t have, couldn’t have been mine without being challenged to the core.  Like a good hard workout.
  • I’m beginning to find my stride with my words.  I’m learning how to bring my voice from inside my head to out into this world, here – for me to remember, for you to receive.

Even through the hardships of 2012, even through the heartbreak, the sadness, the brokenness, the struggle, there has been immense joy and blessings.  Take that, 2012, clearly I am the winner afterall.

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