A year in review

The year is swiftly coming to an end. I cannot believe that it is December, which is the same thing I say every December around this time. It seems as though year-end is a time to look back and count blessings.  Here is my list of notable shtuff that happened in 2013.

1. Amilynn had a baby! My friend Amilynn is so very suited to being a mom, and I am thrilled to see pictures of her little guy on Facebook and hear the progress reports. Cameron is a lucky dude to have such awesome parents. I can’t wait to meet him and nibble his little baby cheeks!

There are so many new babes coming in 2014! New life is so humbling and hopeful. My personal “deadline” for expanding my brood is 35, so 2014 is a loaded year for me. I’m quite certain that I am done having babies but sometimes when I’m with Nina, if she is being particularly clever or funny or affectionate, I think about having twice as much of this joy and I can’t think of anything I want more.

2. I’m having a tawdry affair with Netflix. So many oldies, so many documentaries, and original programming! Orange is the New Black is awesome, and I cannot wait to see the next season. If I had realized I would have to wait so long for season two I would have watched it in smaller doses so it would last longer. (Or at least I tell myself I would have.) And someone finally gave us new episodes of Arrested Development! I know a lot of purists were not thrilled with it. I know it wasn’t perfect, but I love Jason Bateman. I would do terrible things to that man.

3. I adore my daycare provider. She is awesome and I am grateful for her every day, because she takes care of the most important person in my world. She is gentle, reliable, and an absolute gem. She opens the door when Nina wants “one more hug” before we leave for home. I think it is safe to say that leaving your child is almost always harder on you than on them, and having a good sitter can help take a little of the sting away.

4. What a year for Malala Yousafzai! That girl has balls. She is one of the most powerful people in the world right now, because she knows the value of educating girls. The Taliban is so scared of her that they tried to kill her, but she has returned even stronger than ever. Educating girls and woman will improve their lives and the lives of their families, and will in turn improve their communities, onward and upward.

Girls all over the world are doing some rad things – in science, social justice, art and pop culture. I can’t wait to teach Nina more about all of the amazing things girls can do.

5. Pope Francis, a pope who doesn’t inspire a blind rage in me. He might just be the breath of air that will bring the Catholic Church back to life. He doesn’t get caught up in the issue of individual sin. Each person will have to deal with the consequences of their sins at the end. In the meantime, what about the church, the people, the community? What about what treating people like you want to be treated?  Finally a Pope who cares more about the church as a whole than about what people do in their bedrooms! I think that Catholicism has been so mired in judgement that they have completely missed the spirit and intent of faith: to bring people together, to support one another, and to forge a community. I’m excited to see him tackle the issue of women in leadership.

6. RIP Nelson Mandela. The thing that most inspires me about Nelson Mandela (and there are so many things) is his ability to forgive. It is so easy to hold a grudge, against an old neighbour, a former spouse, the person who cut you off in traffic. I don’t wish to diminish the importance of taking responsibility when you’ve wronged someone, or wanting to be validated when you have been wronged. But forgiveness is special because it is about you, not the person who has done wrong. And forgiveness can be given even when the other has not asked to be forgiven. I believe that Mr. Mandela understood forgiveness in the most profound way, because he forgave people who took away 27 years of his life. And his forgiveness freed him to do incredible things. To negotiate the end of Apartheid. To become the first democratically elected president. He taught us about service to others, and about understanding things that are bigger than ourselves. He changed the world. And he will be missed.

7. My kiddo got through the “terrible twos” and we all survived. I am forever amazed by how quickly she learns things. She knows her alphabet, she can climb the ladder at the park all by herself and put on her boots (on the right feet!), and use a fork and spoon like a pro. She has embraced the fun of the swimming pool and the snow hill.  Every day she tells me You make me happy and I love you, and (my favourite) I like you.  She has a mind like a steel trap and a seemingly endless capacity for love. Our mission for 2014? To conquer the potty.

8. My nephew was born in May of this year. He is the toughest little bugger I’ve ever met. He was born at 30 weeks and he spent almost 4 months in the NICU. He continues to grow and thrive. He has started smiling, which is so damn cute it makes my ovaries hurt. If I had my druthers I would spend one day a week just snuggling him and smelling his sweet baby head.

9. Friends and family.  They are not necessarily many, but they are great. A text, an e-mail, a card, or even a smile, can turn a day around. My husband and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary on December 11th. My friends do awesome things like knit belugas for me to give Nina (because “Baby Beluga” is her song, in case you didn’t know) and listen to me vent and give good advice and listen to me vent some more. They tell me I’m awesome when I don’t feel awesome at all. As an introvert, and a person who is not naturally good at making new friends, I have been blessed to somehow find new friends and build friendships in spite of myself.

10. I got a Level C in French oral proficiency! This probably doesn’t mean much to anyone outside of the Canadian Public Service, but it was kind of a big deal for me personally. Trying to cram all that stuff into my already overworked brain was hella hard. I’m hoping that it will mean good things for my career in the coming years.

Cheers to 2014. May it everyone find success and joy, however you define them.

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