(Or, The year my hair got a lot grayer, my stomach got a lot flabbier, and a whole lotta weird shit happened)
I was thinking of the wild ride the past year has been and thought I would bullet point (or 'dash' point, as it were) the highlights:
-Almost exactly one year ago to the day I quit smoking. Like for good. As in, I can't stand the smell of them and though I'm pretty sure I am no longer as fun as I used to be when I did smoke, I am very proud of this achievement and don't care to go back. Aside from two pregnancies and a period thereafter, I smoked since I was 15 years old. (I'm 35--eek!) Oh, and please don't tell my parents. I may be a grownup, but this is still information I prefer to keep away from them. It's much more fun to hear my Dad still sometimes say, "I can't believe you used to let your friends smoke in your car during high school." Uh, okay, Dad.
-One year ago we quickly learned and decided that we were going to transfer to California.
-One year ago we started a paint-the-house and remodel-the-master-bath project in anticipation of selling our home.
-One year ago we were two weeks away from saying goodbye to our sixteen year old German exchange student and her eating disorders.
-One year ago we were a couple of days away from the other half already leaving us to work in California during the week. He only came home on the weekends. This would go on for four months until we were able to join him. In case you were wondering; yes, it did suck. Bad.
-11 months ago I flew out (by myself) for a house hunting trip and an amazing couple of days to myself here on the coast where I wined, dined, spa'd, and rode horses.
-10 months ago I flew with B for another house hunting trip where we realized that there was not much to choose from, and it was hella (I got that from the east Bay kids!) expensive to get something comparable to what we had back on the mother ship. Oh, and on this trip, we almost got kicked out of our hotel because B would not sleep at all. This trip's icing was my flight home with him where Linda Blair from "The Exorcist" invaded his body and made him THAT BABY on the plane, and me a sweaty, stressed out mess.
-Almost nine months ago the movers came and packed up the house we loved so much. We, in turn, said goodbye to my parents, drove the boys to Plano to drop them off with the other grandparents, and then started our 2000 mile trek across the country in a sweet minivan with three dogs, two cats, and high hopes.
-Seven and a half months ago B took a tumble down one of our many flights of stairs and chipped his front tooth in half. Don't worry, it adds character.
-Seven months ago L was visiting with her little girl, and while I had my back to them, B pounced on the old-aged legs of our sleeping dog and in turn ended up in plastic surgery at Stanford Hospital. We ended up with the tough decision of what to do about our dog and ended up keeping her. We had to put our dog in quarantine for awhile. The whole thing was awful and I do not wish any of it on anyone, nor will I pass judgment on someone's choices made after such an event.
-Six months ago the other half had his third surgery on his knee. He was a pretty good patient in terms of not being too whiny, but a horrible patient in that he said he was going to 'kick this surgery's ass' and put weight on the knee and did way more than he was supposed to early on. Needless to say, he then ended up having a longer recovery and the damned thing still isn't quite right.
-Five months ago my overly-dramatic sister called me first thing in the morning with panic and tears in her voice to tell me that Mom was in the hospital. She pretty much had me convinced that I would need to get on a plane soon to go visit my mother before she died. As my Mom tells it, she sort of wished at the time that she could have died because she was in so much pain. All is well, though, and it was just a bad case of diverticulitis. No more popcorn or nuts for her. Poor Mama.
-Five months ago M's old teacher and her daughter flew in from the mother ship to watch the boys for a few days while we went down to Monterey and Paso Robles. It was a great trip! (HA! See? I did have something positive to say!)
-Three months ago I turned 35. Lamest. Birthday. Ever. I'm pretty sure the other half had actually forgotten about it until I said something. Make note that 36 will be festive and spent doing something that I want to do. Seriously...make note!
-Two and one half months ago we hired an autism specialist to observe and assess sweet M. He tested between 9-12 months, cognitively. We know he can do more than that, and so does she, but it still hurt to see it typed up in the report.
-Two and one half months ago we officially realized just how downhill our child had gone since moving. The changes are drastic. Looking at photos from before we moved is heartbreaking. This is NOT the same child, and this is NOT an exaggeration.
-Two months ago I totally should not have gone on a sanity-saving, no-babies, no-husbands, allowed girls' trip. But I did. And damn, I had myself a good time. (See? Another positive thing!)
-Less than one month ago I went back to the mother ship. I was supposed to stay for a week, but ended up staying for 11 days. I never left a 10-mile radius of my in-laws' house. I needed the TLC from Grandma as much as my children did. I needed to sleep in. I needed to drink wine every single night. I needed to watch my children smile every day as they played with their cousins, aunts and uncles. I have always been ready to go home. This time I was not.
-Two weeks ago we decided, for sure, that we need to leave this beautiful place we were lucky to have returned to, if even just for little while. If it was possible to remove M from the equation (which, of course, it is not) I would be able to look through my rose-colored glasses and recall the view of the ocean from every window of my house and how it makes me feel every day that I am lucky enough to see it. Or how I have made really amazing friends here. I have so much in common with these women and I can only hope that *somehow* we will be able to continue our friendships once I am gone. I also can recall that one, really successful trip to the beach with the boys and how on top of the world and confident I felt after it. Or the way I feel as I drive north on Highway 1 toward San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the world, over Devil's Slide, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever seen. Or the fact that even though we've only done it once since we've been back, Sonoma is just a short drive away. There is so much beauty and wonder in this place....if only all the pieces of the puzzle could have fit.
This has been a hard year, no doubt about it. My optimism is waning. 2008 ended in my favorite number from my youth. It clearly didn't serve me well. However, 2009 ends in the other half's favorite number and he puts a hell of a lot more weight into that than I do. So maybe the number nine will become my favorite number, too. I am anxious to see if that is the case.
Wishing you all well in 2009. Happy New Year!
Oh, and SUCK IT, 2008 :)