Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking back at another wonderful year of life and motherhood

Well, in less than 12 hours, 2011 will be a thing of the past. I logged on to Facebook to see so many comments about how the year sucked and how happy people are that it's almost over. A few days ago I was kind of thinking along those lines. I was focusing on the sucky (is that really a word?) things, but so many other things made it a good year.

Have there been some things that have sucked? Sure.

Like when my oldest was in gym class and a classmate was goofing off and lifted him up in the air -- and dropped him on his face on the floor causing two teeth to get knocked out.

Or like when in a frustrated and very animated conversation, he managed to knock his fist through the thin window he was standing next to that necessitated a trip to the ER and several stitches.

Or when my dad fell on some ice outside our house and fractured his ankle.

Or when one of the younger boys decided that he doesn't like to go out to recess because he thinks nobody likes him -- so instead he doesn't turn in homework (that he has already done!) so that he gets to stay in the classroom to do it and avoid going out to recess.

Or seeing my father-in-law recover from lung cancer surgery (following two heart surgeries.)

Or seeing my mom's health decline and her missing several family get-togethers.

Or seeing my dad fall off a ladder, have a seizure in front of me and then force him to go to the hospital where he found out his ribs were cracked and he was diagnosed with diabetes.

Or when the travel section of the paper that I've been writing for for the past decade was cut out in a redesign.

Or when my son got additional ear infections after having his second surgery to put in ear tubes.

Or when my son got his license and then we bought him an old car to drive -- and it only lasted about two months before the engine gave out.

Or when the painting job my teen had been doing after school and on weekends ended.

Or when my writing checks started getting smaller and the cost of gas and groceries kept going higher.

Or when cancer struck more people I know and turned their lives upside down.

Or when friends got divorced and I saw how hard it was on them and their kids.

Or when our roof started leaking and we had to spend thousands of dollars on a new roof.

But, ya know, I've never been a glass half-empty kind of person. When I turned around and looked at the totally outweighs all that sucked this year.

Like when I became a great aunt for the first time to a darling little girl in Australia.

Like when our whole family got together to celebrate my dad's 75th birthday, including his sister who traveled from Minnesota for the occasion.

Like when I got to meet a young lady I'd known only through mail and e-mail, but who I consider one of my heroes -- an Army reservist and mom in her 20's who we'd adopted when she was serving in Iraq. I was able to take her and her son to a Cubs game and it was one of the highlights of my year.

Like when dad's ankle healed faster than expected and didn't require any physical therapy.

Like when my father-in-law's check-up indicated he was cancer free after having part of his lung removed.

Like the times I've been able to spend having lunch with my mom and playing Boggle with her and laughing together.

Like the times I got to see my youngest play t-ball for the first time and how I cherished those last few days on the field knowing that it would be my last time having a little one playing t-ball.

Like when I got to see my son's little league team win their league championship.

Like starting a food blog ( with my sister that has been so much fun.

Like when we took a family vacation to Kentucky and the boys had a ball romping around on the farm we stayed at.

Like when I first looked at my book - in hard cover - the first book I'd had published in 8 years.

Like all the days I spend at one of my favorite places on earth, Wrigley Field, with some of my favorite people - my sons, my dad, my sister.

Like when we all spent a few days in Wisconsin Dells lounging in the water park and seeing the joy on the boys' faces.

Like the excited look on my son's face when he got a gerbil of his own (however, this one could also land on the sucky list as she is CRAZY.)

Like seeing my son's straight A report card and hearing about the fun things he's doing in enrichment class.

Like hearing my kindergartner read bedtime stories to me.

Like going to see Paul McCartney in concert with my son and two nephews.

Like seeing my first children's book in print.

Like having our goofy dog around who I this year FINALLY gave in to and let him up on the sofa. I haven't regretted it. He's a great cuddler.

Like spending my 20th anniversary with the man I love so deeply.

Like taking some day trips with my husband when we now had all our kids in school all day long.

Like an overnight getaway to a B & B with my hubby on the anniversary of our first date 24 years ago.

Like all the days where I've looked at my little men growing and been overwhelmed with emotion and pride and have been so unbelievably grateful that I have had so many days with.

There's good and bad each year. Everyone has their ups and downs. Their highs and lows. 2011 wasn't so bad. There was much to enjoy and be grateful for. I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store and I hope to have more of what I want the most - time with my loved ones.

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