Guess what? I made it through an entire year of a project.
I say that with some disbelief. Okay, not some. A lot. A lot of disbelief. I know most of you understand. Most of us are typical creative types with a lot of good intentions and a lot of half finished projects lying around. Lots of ideas, very little follow through.
So I am pretty happy about this. Happy I have this record of our life. Happy to have inspired some of you to do the same.
I also have the support from the other five Whitneys (four really, but Mckenna says no to everything) to keep up with this project into 2011. The images came easy – it was the words that were hard for me at times. I am not sure if the words will continue in the same fashion, but I will have to see how it all plays out.
Thank you for being here this year, and for inspiring me to keep going.
In December, if you can believe it, the pox on our house CONTINUED. Oh yes it did. Our downstairs toilet had cracked and because we were unaware, it slowly leaked onto our wood floor. It must have been happening for months when we discovered the rotten wood behind the toilet. We had to have the floor in the bathroom replaced, and the toilet repaired. We all took turns with some pesky health problems that dampened a lot of our plans.
Jeff turned one of our problems into a surprise. I came home one day from running errands to find a brand new dishwasher had been installed while I was out. He had even put a red bow on it! An even bigger gift than the new dishwasher was not having to research or purchase it on my own time. He handled everything and it was exactly what I needed. That was when things started to turn around.
Because of everything that happened over the last few months, I wasn’t as prepared for Christmas. Mentally or in any other way. I decided that Bernard wasn’t going to be able to happen this year. I had to give myself a break somewhere. But oh, that was such a hard decision. I had made preparations but I didn’t have the energy to deal with it. We were still shopping the day before Christmas Eve, which is so totally not how I like to do things. We managed, even in a rush, to bring some meaning to Christmas Eve. Shane and Rachel came over and we made a steak and lobster feast, then stayed up late wrapping and playing Santa. I love that tradition, and I am so grateful to them for wanting to do it with us. I love love LOVE filling the stockings and deciding which things will be popping out of the top for them to see when they race downstairs, and what will be all the way down in the toe. Love designing how the presents will lay under the tree. Love that last moment before heading up to bed, when Jeff and I sit in cahoots and look at all that work, all that preparation, all that sweetness under the sparkly tree.
Christmas morning came bright and early as it always does. It was quiet and special, with Perry Como and Bing Crosby on the record player. A cup of hot milky coffee in my hands. Among other things, the boys got a new TV for their room, for video gaming. Mckenna got a new iPod and a footsie pajama that is pink polka dotted like Uniqua. Anna got cowboy boots and toys. Jeff and I have wanted to start a garden in the backyard and he had a bunch of supplies under the tree for me, including a compost bin. I love Christmas morning – I love the settling down of the hustle and bustle. We spent the rest of the day visiting family and at the end of the evening drove home in the rain. I felt like I was in a warm cocoon in my car. I didn’t really want to reach our destination and get the sleepy kids into bed. It would mean it was all over, for good. But we did and it was, and the next day we cleaned up.
On New Years Eve, when we took the above photos, we had some friends over. I made red and green enchiladas and Roquamole. Jeff created a shot list – his six drinks of the night. They included a buttery nipple, a scooby snack, a duck fart, a surfer on acid, a kamikaze, a screaming orgasm, and a 4th of July. Every hour from 6pm to midnight, the brave (or stupid) of us met in the kitchen for the “Shot Of The Hour”. Mckenna laughed every time someone said duck fart. If you say it to her today, she will still laugh. Brett and Billie brought the materials to tie dye, and we spent the 10 o clock hour at the kitchen table with the kids, rubber banding and mixing. We all made it to midnight and it was the first time the kids stayed up. The next morning I woke up to a mess and my first thought was that I was grateful to have it. My heart felt so full. It was just lovely to have everyone over. You know you had fun when you leave a mess behind.
This morning Jeff and I seemed to wake up needing to talk. We were lying in bed, legs intertwined, trying to keep our feet warm. We started talking about life. About what changes we wanted to make. Where we wanted to take our family, our health, our business, our time. We talked about how hard this year was for us, and how different it was from 2009. In 2009 we made huge leaps of progression. It was the year I began to understand where my depression came from, and what to do about it. It was the year we changed our focus as a family, back to each other. To being content. We each lost 40 pounds and I started my journey with making healthy food. We felt power in making those changes. We gained self respect. In 2009 our attitudes completely shifted and we grew as a family.
Looking back on 2010, it seems like a bit of a disappointment. Instead of progressing, we were really just holding on. Treading water. And in some ways regressing. We never let go of the rope completely, but a few times it was really close. I gained back 20 pounds of the forty that I lost, and have struggled to try and get back to where I was. In fact, I am still struggling. I look at the jeans that WERE falling off me – the jeans I can’t even button now – and I hate myself for getting here again. I know what I need to do to be successful at weight loss, but this year I just couldn’t do it.
Mckenna. Everything changed with her this year. She went from being a mentally and emotionally disabled child to a mentally and emotionally disabled teenager. This is a whole new ballgame. Her behavior isn’t “cute” anymore. It was easier when she was little. Her delays and lack of development still kind of fit in for her age and size. She was just a toddler for many many years. Now, she still acts like a toddler but has the body and the hormones of a 14 year old girl. There isn’t any more hiding from it, in my hopes and dreams. Now it just IS. Now, it is just very very real. The things I hoped might happen aren’t going to happen. I have had to make a lot of concessions this year. I have had to let a lot of my hopes and dreams for her die this year.
I guess this is me choosing to live my life based in reality instead of fantasy. I see reality now, I can’t really hide from it no matter how hard I try. No matter how much I want to.
But this year reality kicked my ass.
I am glad that I didn’t gain back all forty pounds. I am glad that I have my family and we are all alive and healthy. I am glad that although our home seemed to be falling apart, we have one. I am glad that we didn’t let go of the rope entirely and give up.
Most of all, I am glad for another chance.
I am going to take it.