I enjoy these sorts of posts from everyone else and as I get older it’s sadly more difficult to recall the events of the year after they have passed so I am writing 2016 down for posterity.
1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
*Quit a job. I’ve had a position end, been laid off, and settled a discrimination claim but I had never outright quit a job before. It was one of the best decisions I made all year.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
*I didn’t make any last year; which is odd for me. We had just pulled out of escrow on a house and I was feeling pretty low about it. Not knowing where we would be living in a year made it difficult for me to resolve anything.
*I am still finalizing this years resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
*Yes, my next door neighbor (at our old house). We gave many of our baby things to her including the crib that all the kids used. But we didn’t give everything away…just in case.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit? Where did you travel this year?
*Ha ha ha. Countries. Counties would be more accurate. Although I did make it farther this past year than I have in a long time. I traveled to Florida to give a talk on how to respectfully incorporate transgender people in a healthcare setting. I also traveled to Vegas for a girls weekend. And our immediate family took an amazing road trip around the central California coast this past summer.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
*Peace about our school decisions for the kids.
*Health: my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia have flared and I need to get them back under control.
7. What dates or moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
*The last time I nursed Baby. I had wanted to let her self wean and through late 2015 and early 2016 she nursed less and less on her own until finally she didn’t nurse for several weeks. I thought that was the gentle end of it. Then while rocking her to sleep she asked to nurse. At that point there really wasn’t much, if any, milk left and I don’t enjoy long drawn out transitions so I told her that the milk had gone away and we weren’t going to nurse anymore. I held her as she cried the deepest most profound tears of her life. I cried along with her. I think she knew as well as I did that this was the end of an era for us. I just held her and told her how much I loved her and how special she was to me. After pouring out all of her tears she looked up at me and said “But we can always eat chocolate together, right?” I laughed and told her “Yes!” and we resolved to be little old ladies together someday eating chocolate together. Then she mused that she wasn’t really done nursing as one day she would nurse her own babies. And then, of course, I cried some more at that thought. She never asked again after that night to nurse but she talks about it fairly often and will occasionally ask for a piece of chocolate and snuggle.
*Sitting in the pantry of our old house and full on ugly crying as we did the final packing and cleaning. I never lived in a house longer than 2.5 years growing up. We lived in that first house we bought together for nearly 14 years. We didn’t really want to leave but felt we needed more space for the kids and a safer neighborhood. We moved for the kids and it was the right thing to do, but husband and I deeply miss our old house.
*Election night. Older sobbing and falling asleep on the floor because he couldn’t bear to go up alone to his room while we were still watching. All the kids were devastated with the results right along with us.
*Baby telling me “My favorite days are Tuesdays and Christmas”. Tuesdays because I didn’t work on that day – ever – and picked her up at lunchtime every Tuesday. It really cemented for me how much she and I both needed me to be around more.
Gee, this list makes 2016 sound like kind of a downer! OK a good one:
*Sitting at the Ghiradelli ice cream shop in Monterey Bay on the last day of our summer vacation watching the kids share a gigantic banana split while in the booth thinking about how grateful I was for all of them and our time together. Behind them a baby – perhaps eight months old or so – smiled and giggled on her parent’s lap and I thought about how fast our kids had grown up and I just wanted to freeze them right then and there.
Damn, now that story ended rather melancholy too. I’m hopeless!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
*Painting the entire inside of my house (except the kitchen and dining room which we are still deciding what to do with) within the first three months of our owning it.
*Finding a new job that worked for me and my family.
9. What was your biggest failure?
*Taking the job at Unhappy Hospital.
*Putting Baby in school full-time so that I could work at the above job. It hasn’t been a good match for her.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
*I severely sprained my ankle on our summer vacation in August. It has taken months to heal and still isn’t 100%.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
*Our new house.
*An artificial Christmas tree. I was very against artificial trees but I really like to put the tree up right after Thanksgiving and leave it up until January so a real tree looks pretty terrible by that point. Couple that with Older’s and Husband’s allergies and Husband convinced me to try a fake tree. We got a very nice, pre-lit one and I have to say I am a convert.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
*All the kids when we were on our summer vacation. It was amazing how well behaved they were. They almost never complained through about 20 total hours of driving. They all slept beautifully too.
*My mom and dad: the volunteered to fly down here, get a hotel room, and take our kids to “live” at said hotel room for 3 days straight so we could move without the children. It was one of the nicest and most helpful things anyone has ever done for me.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
*The president-elect. Enough said.
14. Where did most of your money go?
*Food (The kids are really eating now! I am somewhat frightened of the idea of three teenagers in the house someday).
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
*Our girls weekend in Las Vegas. My mother turned 64 last year and she said something along the lines of “who knows how long I will last?” and in a VERY uncharacteristic move her per paid for my sister, my sister’s girlfriend, me, my aunt, my cousin, and my sister-in-law to have a girls weekend in Vegas. IT WAS AMAZING. There was an odd number of us so I got my own ridiculous decadent 700 square foot hotel room. My mom was worried I might be lonely in the room all by myself. Let me tell you, I WAS NOT LONELY. My mom pulled out all the stops including giving us gambling money. I spent it on a 90 minute massage instead. Heaven on earth!
16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same
b) thinner or fatter? About 5 pounds heavier. I would be more bummed about it except I am rather proud of myself for only gaining 5 lbs given all of the stress of this year.
c) richer or poorer? About the same. Less money in the bank but more of it in the house.
17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
*Hiking as a family
18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
*Facebook. I am not terribly active on Facebook but it is a time suck and I am thinking one of my 2016 resolutions is going to be a month without Facebook.
19. How did you spend Christmas?
*At home. My sister and her girlfriend, my mom and dad, my in-laws, and Husband’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came to visit. It was more chaotic and filled with more material gifts than I would have liked but it was a good day overall.
20. What was your favorite TV program?
*Once Upon a Time. I recently introduced it to older and he is totally obsessed. It’s fun that he is old enough to share that sort of thing with him.
21. What was the best book you read?
I cannot pick just one; I read quite a lot. I read lots of great birthing and breastfeeding books such as Sheila Kitzinger’s “A Passion for Birth” and “Where’s the Mother: Stories from a Transgender Dad“. I read some young adult dystopian fiction, including “The Giver” series, that I had never read as a kid. I am also reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (we’re on Farmer Boy) to the girls which is something I always wanted to do with my kids.
22. What did you want and get?
*A new house with a bedroom for everyone and more than one bathroom.
*A new job.
*Older and Middle to be happy in school.
23. What did you want and not get?
*My garden to be ready for planting by January 1st.
*Feeling like my family is complete. I’m not sure I will ever get to that point. I will just get too old to have any more babies.
*A kitchen that I like (in the new house). Sigh.
24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
*I was planning a small party but then Husband got sick but then we quickly converted to a girls night at a fancy restaurant which was even better because I didn’t have to clean up!
25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
*Not being so damn tired.
26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
*Scrubs are ugly. (Thankfully, my new job is business casual with a lab coat.)
32. What kept you sane?
*Not working on Tuesdays and taking Baby out of school that day early every week to spend one-on-one time with her.
*Lunchtime walks at work.
*Husband buying me large quantities of See’s chocolates.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
*LGBTQ Civil rights.
35. Who did you miss?
*My mom. She and my dad are currently 400 miles away but are moving to 1 mile away from us (walking distance!) in 12 DAYS!
36. Who was the best new person you met?
One of the lactation consultants I worked with at Unhappy Hospital. She was the best I’ve ever met at getting a baby to latch on, she was constantly encouraging me, and was very kind to everyone. She reminded me of my mom.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
(I had a VERY bad feeling about taking the job at Unhappy Hospital but I did it anyway and it was, not surprisingly, a disaster. You would think at 38 years old I would know this by now – apparently not!)