I welcome the new year lovingly with open arms, laughter, and a smirk. I flippantly wave goodbye to year 2011, a small part of me wondering if perhaps a double middle finger is in order (this is the same small part of me that only swears when #1: children are not present #2: I am slightly intoxicated #3: I am talking about something that gets me riled up such as “Legos for girls! They’re pink! RUN to the store! Aren’t those marketing researchers brilliant?!?”). Last year was not unlike the first weeks and months after a baby is born: you get through it because you have to.
2011 delivered so many changes, so quickly, that it was hard to catch my breath. The new year started with an error in judgement on my husband’s part. We rode the roller coaster of Jake quitting and gaining a new job, to find that the same old monsters hid underneath the shiny exterior. My parents world drastically changed, leaving the rest of us, my sisters and I especially, trying to navigate through the rocky terrain.
But it is unfair to judge 2011 so harshly, to focus on the negative without highlighting the brilliant light that was always there, shining through the cracks. Moments of happiness peaked through every day. Last year delivered more happiness than I can account for, now that I try to recall: Lily’s sweet “I love you, Mama” and watching her boldly step into her own kindergarten self; Vivienne’s intense gaze and small hand stroking my cheek; weighty goals accomplished; secrets shared between friends over a cup of coffee, a martini, a lunch; insanely fun adventures traveling to new places; connecting with a family who “got” us, with love and acceptance, from the very beginning; joy in first birthdays; new opportunities to grow our careers; promises vowed and love renewed.
2011 threw some curveballs and piled on the complication. But happiness was always there. Happiness IS always there.
Sometimes it is hard to know where you left it, and where to look. Sometimes you forget that there is always someone there waiting, wanting to hold you when the light is just too hard to find. Sometimes you don’t realize your world creates itself through the choices you make, and even when you are utterly stuck, a path can always be uncovered.
A new year marks a new beginning like a breath of fresh air. I breathe in the hope, the humor, the love, and wrap my arms around 2012.