I'll skip past the ubiquitous "how can it already be nearly 2010" comment and plunge right into my thoughts on the passing of 2009.
It began with a seemingly never-ending winter. The year started out, as 2008 ended, snowy as hell. I didn't think it would ever stop, or ever warm up. As is inevitable of course it did, eventually, but the length of the cold and snowy season was ridiculous. Seems like it gets longer every year.
Galpal and Beau became Mr. and Mrs. Galpal in a lovely, though wind-blown, ceremony.
Loved their cake.
Lots of work on matters depression-related, strife within the immediate nuclear family as certain children's hormones kicked in, much time spent head in hands. Worry, frustration, anger, bafflement. All things that go along with normal parenting, intensified in our house by the complexities of depressive personalities.
My daughter started driving. My hair turned a bit more grey. She also turned 16. SIXTEEN!
My youngest started middle school, ending my career as the mother of an elementary school-aged child. No more helping with things like teaching multiplication tables, grading math papers or assisting in the art program, the one that teaches the children facts about one major artist a month, then gives them the chance to create a work of art in a style similar to that artist. I don't think I'll ever lose the memory of standing outside watching them fling paint at paper, a la Jackson Pollock, trying to keep the paper from blowing away while also avoiding becoming a walking painting.
All that's evaporated – POOF! A new chapter in my life has begun. Bring on the teenagers … (NO! NO! NO!)
Vacation this year was to the Pacific Northwest, an area I decided I like nearly as much as the Northeast. Almost. We gasped at the majesty of the redwoods, collected shells – trying not to be caught by the tides and swept out to sea – ate fresh seafood, and spent hours watching Napoleon Dynamite. Over and over and over, as we endured seemingly never ending Montana. Quoting lines, laughing and cheering over-excitedly when we passed actual towns helping us keep our sanity.
2009 was the year of the Health Care Bill debate, my anger it appeared it would be voted on without being read boiled over, leading me to attend one of the infamous public meetings. No riots broke out, but hearing opinions pro and con, expressed with vehemence, made me very proud to live in a country where open debate is legal. Our government may not always listen, but no one will disappear in the middle of the night for expressing an opinion.
Then there was TARP, the throwing around of billions of dollars with careless ease. The economy on a roller coaster. And Paul and I are still employed – thankfully.
My nephew became engaged, a niece gave birth to a healthy baby boy – reality hitting hard when I realized breaking from my parents means it's impossible to attend a wedding in the family, or see that baby boy, at least without making elaborate plans away from their hometown.
Finally, completing the requirements for my graduate degree in Library Studies, guaranteeing my salary will enjoy a nice rise in the very near future. With three children lined up to start college, the first within just over two years from now, this is a welcome development.
In a nutshell, that's how my year went. It wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't nightmarish, either. It fell somewhere in between, spiking at times, falling at others. All in all, a fairly normal year for once. But it absolutely flew by.
What do I want for 2010? A continuation of normal. More quality reading, more progress working on art and other creative endeavors, more work on things depression and life related, and surviving the parenting of teenagers.
An unexpected blessing or two wouldn't be a bad thing, but I'll settle for a quiet year, after several incredibly troubling ones. A few ups, a few downs, but an average in the middle. Hopefully that's not asking for too much.
Vacation next year? Probably, but I don't know where or how long. We're trying to get my daughter to as many states as possible before she leaves for college. It's definitely possible we can hit all the contiguous ones, but Alaska and Hawaii I don't know about, especially with one child who refuses to fly. I'd stay home with him, but it would be with great reluctance at the thought of missing seeing two places I may not have the chance to see again. We'll see how it goes.
Before I close, I want to thank everyone for stopping by my blog, reading posts, looking at my photos, and especially those who dropped me a line. If I didn't reply to you personally I apologize. A lot of 2009 was on the fly, with grad school and everything else going on. But I did read every, single comment, and wished for the time to respond.
I hope all of you had a good 2009, and wish great things ahead for your 2010. Let's hope the world stays stable, the economy rebounds, and unemployment decreases substantially. Peace. Hope. Health. Happiness and good fortune. May they all be a part of our 2010.
Happy New Year.