I love New Year's Eve. I love reflecting on a year gone by, I love dreaming of the year yet to come. I love reminiscing about meeting my most important person 19 years ago tonight (I wrote in my 16 year old journal that he was "like 7 feet tall and the cutest boy I [had] ever met)." I love eating all the junk and then promising to stop eating all the junk tomorrow. I love Netflix for creating New Year's countdowns for kids (and Grandmas), so that we can count down to midnight at 8 pm tonight and then tuck them into bed. I love making resolutions, I love planning the year to come. I love singing Auld Lang Syne and kissing at midnight. I love the fireworks and the parties, I equally love quiet New Year's celebrations at home with little ones sleeping all cosy in their beds.
In 2017, I visited Stonehenge twice. We had family visit from Canada on 5 occasions. I visited Salisbury, Bristol, Winchcombe, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Snowshill, Gloucester, Torquay, London, Hay-On-Wye, Bradwell Grove, Birmingham, Bewdley, Sand Bay, Paris, Versailles, and McDonalds (multiple times- so many cheeseburgers). I became completely comfortable driving in the UK. We learned that filing Canadian taxes from the UK is more complicated than we previously thought. We had children grow 3 sizes, it seems. We avoided reading the news most days. We didn't sleep nearly enough. We reminded ourselves that we hate camping. We enjoyed the fresh air and the beauty all around us. Most importantly, we relished the snow. It was a magical year in the Cotswolds.
Personally, I renewed my study of philosophy, favouring stoicism. I tried to find more opportunities for writing and sharing my art. I continued with the Zumba life and went outside with the kids at every opportunity. I made and grew friendships. I read a lot. I cherished quiet slow times with my family of five. I worked on my patience and didn't always succeed. I continue to have too many projects on the go at all times, and I am learning to accept that this may be how I thrive. Difficulty brings strength. There is much to be learned from accepting our weaknesses.
My partner became a jiu-jitsu Master, probably not yet, but he is loving it. My oldest flourished in his personalized learning environment and we were able to see the difference that excellent special education teachers can make in a child's life. He learned to cook, early reading skills, maths, swimming, games, science, and continues to surpass us all on an iPad or tablet. He brings our family joy and depth. My 4 year old twins enjoyed their last months of freedom before starting school (they still have a few months yet to squish in as much fun as possible). Both boys taught themselves to read and write (I swear, I did nothing but facilitate). They studied dance and piano. Mr. L continues to be an expert on planets and the solar system, he is a thoughtful and helpful child (so grateful for him), prone to taking toys apart and building things. Mr. G is obsessed with various stuff and nonsense (PJ Masks, trolls) and is always creating. He is a ball of chaos, and we love him.
As we begin 2018 tomorrow, may we all find reasons to be grateful and embrace change and growth. My children decorated this tree all by themselves. They even made most of the decorations. It's a bit of a mess, I had been trying not to look at it too much to be honest. I have a large sparkly decorated tree that the boys are not allowed to touch in our front room. But this little lopsided tree, in the toy room, is charming. I just needed to take the time to gaze at it and enjoy all the work and creativity that went into it. Our lives are much like this tree. No one is perfect. Everyone is interesting, everyone is beautiful, and everyone has light to share. May we spread kindness this year. Happy New Year!