Today Faith and I made gingerbread cookies, with cookie cutters and all! My reason for baking was twofold: 1. To spend quality time with my 13 year old who prefers her bedroom to my presence and 2. To use the cookies as a decoy so the children don’t notice the toffee hidden on the counter behind the garlic bread. I hate sharing my once a year toffee from sister Pat in Seattle. I know, I know, sharing is caring…and all that jazz, but it’s toffee. It just makes sense to hoard it.
Christmas is over and the New Year is about to begin. How did 2016 fly by so quickly? There’s nothing I like more than doing a Year in Review, and I’m sure my 6 followers would enjoy that as well.
The first 3 months of every year we celebrate all 4 of our kid’s birthdays. All of them have a unique story and recognizing how they have changed and grown over a year is always special. The obvious and biggest change was the fact that Jack can now legally drive at 16. For a mother with control issues, watching her son get on the road alone has not been easy. But Jack is careful, and drives much like an elderly grandmother in his old minivan. We welcomed Faith into teen-hood, and love watching her become more and more about the things that matter than the things that don’t. Will and Zoe, my February babies, remind me daily that love is way more than a feeling, and much more an action verb.
This year at the end of May, right around the minute school let out for the year, we loaded up the minivan and headed out on our 4,000 mile road trip. Billy drove every single mile, except for the 30 feet I did in Seattle when I had to use my gifted and talented skills to parallel park. The children watched in awe and Billy watched in annoyance. In the end, just like I told the kids, the important thing is to remember how amazing I am.
All in all, the trip was incredible. The only bad thing that happened was when Jack sat in gum at Disneyland, followed by a bee flying up his shorts minutes later. I recognize both of those could have ended quite badly for him, however, he maintained and gave us all a reason to belly laugh among huge crowds and long lines. Overall, our trip was one of those experiences that felt blessed by God. Not only did we sense God’s protection along the way, we felt His presence. I will count this as one of the best 2 weeks of my life.
The summer of 2016 was filled with several weekends of the boys rebuilding our deck and the girls and I “helping”. In the end, my boys learned a skill and now I have a deck that we can all walk on without getting splinters in our bare feet. We went camping with our best friends and saw a real live bear. We shuddered at the thought of school starting and all of us cried when the dreaded day arrived.
Fall 2016 was filled with volleyball, homework, preschool, outdoor lab, and passion projects. The kids got in a routine, as Billy and I continued to navigate being parents to 4 kids that don’t stop needing something from us, whether it’s a hard conversation or a ride to their next adventure.
The saddest day of 2016 for us wasn’t when Donald Trump became President, or when Carrie Fisher died. Our lowest day of 2016 was one week ago, when we took our beloved little dog Spencer to the vet to let him go. He wasn’t sick for very long but when the time came, we knew he was ready and we had no choice but to say goodbye. The kids had finals, and I had to work, so Billy bravely took him alone, and said our goodbyes for us. We all wept sorrowfully that night as we remembered 8 years of happy times with the best dog we ever had. And yet there was laughter too as we recalled the funny things Spencer did, or the way Billy impersonated him knowing him better than all of us. Saying goodbye to our sweet dog was harder than I ever imagined it would be.
The happiest day in 2016 was every day that I went to bed without regrets. When I could close my eyes and feel at peace. When I could close my eyes and feel content. When I could close my eyes and know I tried my best. When I could close my eyes and know I made the right choice. When I could close my eyes and know I sacrificed instead of serving myself. When I could close my eyes knowing I was not only loved, but also when I loved someone else.
Resolutions never seem like something I can obtain. Sure, I’d like to be able to run a marathon and have amazing hair, but neither of those will ever happen. And that’s okay. Instead of a grand resolution, I will set realistic goals for the New Year. For me, I hope 2017 is a year for forgiveness, grace, service, and mercy. I am going to try and see the best in others rather than jump to criticize. And finally, because we all need hope, I will put this verse from Micah 7:7 on my mirror to remind me every day that: “As for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me”. Happy New Year. I hope you have HOPE.