Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 in Review

Last night, DH and I went out to celebrate "New Year's." We've started going out on the 30th instead of the 31st because it's easier to get a sitter, the restaurants have less expensive (and better!) food choices, and it's nowhere near as crowded. It works for us. Last night, over hummus and saganaki, we had our annual "where were we a year ago" conversation.

Mostly, we remarked at how quickly 2010 had gone. In so many ways, this year didn't stand out as much as blur by. Here are some highlights and some lessons learned along the way.

Ordinary Time: In January, I organized an adult event at my parish, "Spirituality on Tap." The speaker talked about the importance of noticing the blessings in the ordinary living of life. Most of 2010 consisted of Ordinary Time: art class, spelling bees, soccer/baseball/t-ball/basketball practices, homeschool activities, playdates, date nights. Only a few "big" events stand out from our year. It is in all of these little, ordinary moments where we live, love, grow and become the people God intends us to be.

Extraordinary Moments: We had some really special moments this year, too! BigBro celebrated his First Holy Communion in May. We traveled to North Carolina to be with my Dad on his 70th birthday (and then I flew to New Jersey and back in one crazy day, to be part of the party my sisters threw a week later). We had the vacation of a lifetime in early September: two weeks in Orlando.

Flexibility: For 9 1/2 years, DH and I planned a family trip to Hawaii to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We saved, squirreling aside money every single year, talking and dreaming about this trip. In January 2010, we realized that several unexpected expenses in late 2009 made this dream unlikely. We mourned the loss of the dream for about 15 minutes, and then set about planning a different celebratory trip. We ended up spending 2 weeks in Orlando with my parents and my cousin. We didn't get the romantic adventure we'd hoped for. Instead, we got to see Princess' eyes light up as she met Cinderella. We got to see LilBro face-to-face with "Shampu" (the killer whales at Sea World). We got to drink butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, walk through Hogwarts castle, and ride into the Harry Potter movies. And, on September 16, as we clicked our margarita glasses in celebration, all that really mattered to me was that we were together.

Faith: This year had its trying moments, too. October was one of the tougher months for me. DH was recovering from a knee procedure which made him nearly lame for several weeks. And, just as he started to recover, he left us for 2.5 weeks of non-stop travel. My dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer. My sisters had health struggles, diagnoses, treatments. Through it all, I learned to lean even more on my God, who is all good and loving.

Good Changes: In February, we made the decision to sell the above-ground pool in our backyard and join the local swim club down the street. We waited until the weather thawed, put an ad on Craigslist, and a week later had a large round mud-pile where there was once a pool. The grass seed took hold quickly. DH and a friend turned the old deck into a fort for the kids. I wrote a check to the swim club. We waited. In late May, we wandered over there after church, still dressed in our Sunday best. As soon as we stepped inside the wooden screen door, DH smiled. He took a deep breath and declared that he was back in 1967, at his cousin's pool club. We spent nearly every single day this past summer at that club. The kids all learned to swim... independently and well. BigBro and Princess mastered diving off the board. We got to know new friends and deepened old friendships. It was, without a doubt, the best decision DH and I have made for our family in an entertainment realm. I sit here today, looking out at the gray skies and wet ground, and cannot wait until we are back there again... sitting poolside, slurping ice pops, jumping cannonballs, and soaking up another fun summer at the club.

Personal Growth: This year, I continued to struggle to find the balance I need in my life. That struggle, and the subsequent prayer, led me to attend a retreat in April (and to schedule a retreat at the same place for October 2011). I made quite a few trips to Vision of Peace, and on more than one occasion, got to stay for 2 nights... enough time to feel ready to come back to the chaos. I took a blogging break for the month of July and found a better balance in my online life as a result. I kept on running, even when a foot injury caused me to lose some training time. I started working the 12 steps and attending al-anon meetings. I took 3 classes and a workshop toward ministry certification, and committed to some pastoral work in 2011.


Twenty years ago, in June 1990, I graduated from high school. That August, I left my parents' home, moved into a dorm room in Delaware, and started this journey into adulthood. It continues to surprise me, this journey we call "life."

I used to think I was a mound of clay, to be formed into some sort of vessel... useful and beautiful. Today, I think I am, instead, a block of stone, slowly chipping away here and there, sometimes large chunks, sometimes small bits and pieces. I am still creating something beautiful, but not quickly and all-at-once as on a potter's wheel. Instead, I am being revealed, little-by-little, over time. Sometimes my hand slips and there is a big gash. I am learning to smooth those rough edges and incorporate the gashes of life into the changed design.

I don't know what the final sculpture will look like, but I am sure 2011 will reveal some more.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely thoughts. Sounds like you have a great start for the next year. Thanks for sharing. I hope that you made it through the storms w/o troubles.