I’m feeling reflective in a way I don’t usually at this time of year. Looking back on the past year might be a habit for other people, but for me the transition from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day is more or less like any other day of the year. But this year I feel different. I feel a compulsion to go back through photos from the past year, to read back over some of my writing, to really take in and savor the idea that an entire year has passed and we won’t ever get it back.
Maybe it was the video recapping 2018 we watched from Vox. By the end I had tears streaming down my face. (People who know me IRL know just how rare a phenomenon this is.) I couldn’t help it as I sat and watched the news highlights from the past year - from the good to the bad, from the natural disasters to the shootings (so many shootings) from the royal wedding to the #metoo movement to the historic midterm election. Tyson asked when it was over what it was that made me so sad. Or maybe I was happy? “It’s BOTH!” I cried, “It’s all of the emotions. It’s all the feelings from the past year.” And also the idea that 2018 felt like an actual eternity. Was the shooting in Parkland really only last February? It feels like three years ago. Surely the Kavanaugh hearings were at least that long ago. Or more. It seems like an eternity.
Maybe it was the mistake I made of looking through some old photos. Because I saw Nolan in his diaper at the beginning of last year. 2019 dawns as the first year that hasn’t begun with a child (or two or three) in diapers in a long time. It seems like we’ve turned a page, or a chapter, like it’s some sort of dramatic leap forward. And to look at Nolan, how far he’s come since last January. Physically he looks so much the same, but how much he’s added to his extensive vocabulary. How much more daring he’s become. How much more of a person he is.
Maybe it’s the idea, as I continue to look through those old photos, at how much will stay the same this year. The yearly routine. My birthday in January followed by the three kid’s birthdays to celebrate and plan for in February. Easter sometime in the spring, with all its egg dying and pastel-colored clothing glory. The end of preschool (forever, this time, for two of them) and a dance recital. Summer activities and a perpetual backyard pool and the Fourth of July and hanging out with our neighbors and a trip up to the lake. School shopping and the beginning of another new year of the September variety. The rest of our year really amps up then, as we celebrate and plan for one thing after another: Tyson’s birthday turns quickly into our anniversary which turns into Halloween and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas, all over again. More presents under the same tree, tucked into the same stockings, surrounded by the same decorations and people, now a year older.
Maybe it’s that people really amp up at this time of year, ready to set new goals and intentions and proclaim new words for the year. I’m not much of a goals person. I’m reluctant to set them. I think it has to do with my perfectionism streak: setting a goal means I may not achieve it, and I prefer to avoid failure at all costs. (Healthy, I know.) Then there’s the part where I hate being boxed in - I’d rather let things flow a little bit easier. Whatever it is, I tried last year. I jumped on the bandwagon and set a word and mapped out some goals and then set that expensive workbook aside...and never picked it up again. I have a few goals in mind for this year, but it’s not because of the date on the calendar. They’re already things I’ve been mulling over in my head. And I still like my word from last year: enjoy. I’m not ready to let go of it just yet. I still have lots of enjoyment left in me. I spent a lot of 2018 thinking over that word, what it meant to me. It wasn’t such a bad way to spend the year. I’m not ready to flip over to a new page just because the calendar is.
It’s a *balmy* 10 degrees outside right now as I write this. Part of me is loathe to leave behind the holiday cocoon, the cozy time from Christmas to New Year’s where we’re all cuddled up and don’t mind if we get snowed in because our only plans are to play with new toys and color pictures and read books and watch movies and cook comfort food. When Tyson is off work more than he’s working and we don’t have to know or care much what day of the week it is.
Today Caden and Brooklyn went back to preschool; it was nice, they were ready. When they came home, after lunch and quiet time, I let them watch a Batman movie, by request. It was sort of a special treat. A nod to the fact that I still have one foot in the coziness of the holiday season. We had a snack afterwards, smoothies, made with the blender I got for Christmas because I’m not a complete Grinch about new things in the new year. (Until Nolan spilled a green smoothie meant for Tyson all over the upstairs carpet. *all the facepalms*) Maybe I’ll keep inching forward this way, one foot forward, the other planted a little further back, bringing along the best things of the past year into this new one and hoping for the best.