Tuesday, December 31, 2013

end-of-year babbling

Goodness, what a year. Actually: goodness, what a last three years.

2011 was about going through cancer treatment while my first marriage broke up. 2012 was about finalizing the divorce, rearranging a ton about my life (on a practical level: every major appliance including my car died at some point; on an emotional level: hooo boy), and starting a new relationship for the first time as an adult (no, I wasn't an adult at twenty-four). I end 2013 married again, five months pregnant, and adjusting to living with someone after living alone for two and a half years. And because in 2014 there will be, barring something terrible happening, an actual baby, things are not exactly going to settle down around here.

Thankfully, my job has remained fairly stable through all this.

Thankfully, I was able to keep paying the mortgage and stay in the little island cottage I love so. (It's far too small for both my stuff and Berowne's, not to mention a baby's, so we will have to find somewhere else in the next couple years. Like I said, things are not exactly settling down.)

Thankfully, my family is all well (Impending Baby will have two cousins born right around the same time!) and the dogs are their fabulous doggy selves.

Thankfully, I met and married a man who... well, the following two conversations speak for themselves:

1. Me: Guess what is today's historical anniversary? Think cannibalism.

Him: The Donner Party?

Me: No... though that is also right around this time!

Him: The whaleship Essex?

Me: Yes! [claps hands] You know me so well.

Him: I love you.

2. Upon our being congratulated about our soon-to-be "family of three":

Him: Um, family of five.

The dogs: Damn straight!


So the year ends on a sweet note, but of course challenges remain. As I said, it's a major adjustment to suddenly be living with someone again, especially someone who comes with a whole adult household's worth of stuff, and I have not always been, shall we say, gracious about it. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE MORE STUFF TO BRING UP TODAY I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE" was said a few times, not to mention how jarring it sometimes is to see a completely rearranged living room full of his furniture. (Yes, my old furniture had been eaten down to the springs and frames by certain canines. But it's still jarring.)

I can't have proper cancer screenings until I'm done breastfeeding, according to my oncologist, so if I do breastfeed (I plan to try) I may not have another mammogram for a year or more. Breastfeeding does lower one's odds of recurrence, but that's still a disturbing prospect. However, I always knew that pregnancy would be slightly dangerous, and I always knew I wanted to try for kids anyway (a covering OB called me a "warrior" for getting pregnant after breast cancer, and I said honestly that it never occurred to me not to try). So this is a mixed bag as well. Everything is.

As I have mentioned in recent posts, due to some eating-issues triggers we're unfortunately ending this year with the return of perfectionism and self-shaming. But I beat those things before and I will beat them again. Cheese limits! Not in this life. 

2014 will have challenges I can't even imagine, but there will be books, and laughter, and apples. There will be dog kisses and long walks; delicious meals and good friends; excessive capitalization and parentheses and other fun with writing. When I was reading "A Christmas Carol" out loud to Berowne, our friends, and the dogs, the baby danced the whole time, so you know there will be Dickens. There will be no cheese limits. 

Resolutions for 2014: 

Hang onto my sense of humor - I'll need it, I know, and so will those around me. 

Let myself take it slowly when I need to, and imperfectly almost always (of course this does not apply to my work, which is data-based and so does have to be accurate, but absolutely none of my outside-work activities are measurable [or comparable to others'] to the extent that I pretend they are). 

Try to enjoy the moment (stop worrying about whether my car's parked in at a party, about whether I'll regret spending Saturday afternoon reading instead of cleaning, about what next month's bills will look like). Life's significant blows are almost always unexpected, and the best preparation for them is to not already be wound spring-tight in fretful preparation for something else; even if it is the prepared-for something else that does arrive, having made myself a wreck expecting it doesn't, astonishingly, help. 

Always live in a house full of love (this is merely dependent on oneself and local rescue organizations: when I was single and living with two dogs, it was still a house full of love). 

Be grateful for the abundance of what surrounds me and is available to me, rather than assigning gratitude the role of what I should feel for the few things I haven't denied myself (when the self-denial is based on nothing more than principle). 

No self-neglect in the name of bravery or stoicism or Doing It Right. This isn't a real issue while I'm pregnant, because any self-neglect doesn't affect just me right now, but it's an old habit into which I'm too likely to slip once the baby's born. "Only the world's most selfish mother would be concerned about her own health issues!"

I'd say "less guilt", but I'm going to be suddenly responsible for a small human life, so that's unrealistic in the extreme. As is "less worry". I think this train of thought comes back around to the first item about not losing my sense of humor. As long as my daughter never sees me become bitter or resigned, as long as she doesn't see me centering my present life around past tragedies or resentments, as long as she sees me laughing and moving forward, I think I'll be doing okay. And on the days I can't do okay, the dogs can take over. (I wonder how Kongs are as teething toys.) 

A very happy New Year to all. May your nights be comforting, your dawns rejuvenating, and your days full of laughter.    

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