"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
It's closing time for the year 2012, and a brand new fresh calandar beginning in the year 2013.
I can say with all abandon, as I look back over it, that it has been the best year of my life, to date. In my own secret and safe imaginings though, each year to come will only grow sweeter.
There have been hours and hours of temper tantrums. Nights of nursing, nursing, and more nursing: fevers, vomiting, and wetting the bed. Days of wondering how I'll get through without utterly losing my cool. Moments of wanting to rush out the door, wind in my face, air thick in my lungs- Feel my legs pound on the concrete, the freedom of breathlessness. Dive into the ice cold ocean and feel it's power, bigger than potty training issues and 4 year old impulsivity.
There have been hours of early morning Barney episodes. Watching The Dude sprawled out on the floor, alternately pushing his truck, and swaying involuntarily to the music. Some mornings when my pen flowed effortlessly across my journal, and I walked in the quiet cool garden of my prayers with my Savior- hearing Him speak, resting in His promises. And mornings when I stared blankly at the pages. Listening to the silence. Not sure if I really wanted to hear the answers. Mornings when the undone laundry and dishes and floors and children screamed so loudly that I struggled, often unsuccessfully, to tune them out.
Somewhere along the line, Aquaman started to sleep past 6, then 7, and occasionally 8. He started to grow fine red hair on his scrawny little boy legs, that, when I forget how much he is growing up, sometimes tricks me into thinking he's gotten into something dirty. (But then again, there's usually dirt there too).
I've struggled many many days not to expect too much of him. I've learned that the things that most drive me crazy about him are the things that make him so much like me. I've wondered aloud whether I was failing him. I've accepted his forgiveness for moments of impatience, and I hope I've been gracious enough of an example that he's learned how to forgive himself too.
I've spent long stolen moments imagining the brightness of his future.
The Dude approaches 22 months, and he brings into it an arsenal of personality, humor, and persistence that charms me in its progress.
As much as I adored his infancy, and want to kiss his chubby 2012 cheeks, his budding language skills (very regularly stringing 2-3 words together now, though more often repeating the same word over and over emphatically) are showing me more and more about who he is, and it is fascinating.
I think one of the greatest mysteries and joys of love is discovering the heart of another person. How they work, and what drives them. My greatest joy of 2012 was drawing closer to these dearest of souls, and finding that in our vast array of differences there is one theme.
We are so much more alike than we think we are.
One of the hardest things for me since the birth of Aquaman has been giving up time spent with JT pursuing mutual passions. Dates for us, pre-kids, consisted mainly of swimming, surfing, or running together. Granted, I could never really keep up with the insanity of his pace- but it was something wonderful we shared together.
I went through a bit of an identity crisis after Aquaman's birth. Working full-time and caring for a newborn, and a colicky one at that, meant that I often barely had enough time to get the tangles out of my hair, much less hit the beach for a run/swim. But it wasn't just that.
As much as I missed that running, swimming, and surfing- all of sudden holding this little life in my arms- I realized where I truly felt His pleasure.
And I understood JT's more.
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
I love the way God made my husband. It takes him from me every morning and out to the pool, with a passion that, even in my love for the same activities, might have been hard for me to understand before I became a mother and discovered how much joy there is in doing the thing you were most made to do.
If there has been anything better than watching my children master one thing or the other, it has been seeing my husband succeed this year. He fought through the end of fire academy, battled out the ups and downs of ocean rescue season. Led the county to a 2nd place finish at regionals and himself to his 2nd award of Officer of the Year, and performed CPR on a drowning victim who later returned completely to her normal self.
All the while somehow still managing to make me feel like the luckiest girl alive, and raising two little boys: the oldest of which, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, answers simply: "Daddy".
It has been an easy year. The peaks were high and the valleys mild. The action constant and the moments of despair few. Statistically speaking, it was a bit of a vacation from the wild swings that life often has to offer.
But I say, with no small amount of trepidation, that I am not afraid of the uncertainties of a new year.
May it not just be a happy new year, this one. May it be an intentional one, a soberly considered one. May it bring all the pains that will bring us to our knees and lift our eyes and hearts upwards. May the trials of life humble us, but not break us.
May we not be afraid when we can't see our hands in front of our faces.