I do love the birth of a New Year, unspoiled and still shrouded in some mystery about what might lie ahead… I love it. I feel the New Year differently than I do on my birthday, which is it’s own time of renewal and reflection for me — and November 24th isn’t so long ago, so this time of year in general is often emotional, and usually in the best ways. But I don’t always have words that seem adequate. And in January, I find I’m just kind of… rolling over with the date, and looking at the world with the same eyes, only squinting just a little bit. See how the perspective changes, maybe. Waiting to feel the newness.

And though I always feel hopeful about a New Year, a bit of reflection on the year past is a good thing. As is happens, last year felt stressful and hurty for lots of reasons…  stuff regarding friends and family and people I love, stuff you can’t help but carry around because it’s just in your face all the damned time, stuff that was disappointing, and stuff that can’t be talked about, and stuff that is traumatic and spins you back into childhood places that makes your head hurt, and stuff that’s in the news that feels impossible to ignore… and even if in the daylight hours I looked as right as rain, I logged more sleepless nights last year that I can remember in a lot of years.

Most of all, I loath fighting with Martin in the unsavoury, impassible, horrible ways that we had been. Hate, I tell you. And maybe worst of all is after all this time together, after all these years, the very notion that we could be so very far apart from one another, divided on something external… that each is looking at the other with a pinched face of disbelief, like they don’t even know who you are, with a face that says, what the fuck is wrong with you? It’s astounding. This too shall pass, yes, yes… but I don’t ever want to go back there again.

I never knew I could be as angry as this. I didn’t know I had it in me.

I’ve been busy air-punching everything, and doing ninja kicks at inanimate objects around my house for months. I have a knot in one shoulder. I managed to contract two bad colds during the autumn, which isn’t how things usually go in my life. They took longer to recover from, too. As did that spectacular fall I took off my scooter in October. I gained four pounds as I convalesced, unable to walk the many, many stairs in my life that I’m accustomed to climbing. It’s taken a long time to heal from that, as well — not to mention that extra four pounds that’s still hanging around. And when I climb stairs now — three months later — I still feel pain under my left patella. It will likely never be entirely gone. And just like that, I feel I’ve become the middle-aged lady with a knee-thing.

*slow blink*

Exhaustion is never a good feeling. It makes a person screechy and unmanageable, and all that angst and anger just permeates. Spouses are affected. Children, too. I feel like I’ve been trying to get a bad taste out of my mouth for ages. I want to suck on something sweet.

* * *

Though I’m not very traditional, and I’m not generally a stickler for dates of any kind, on January 1st, I like taking pictures of my kids. It’s been an activity that occurred fairly naturally over the years, and the act tends to balance any melancholy feelings I’ve ever experienced on New Year’s day. It does help me look forward, and see my good fortune right in front of my very eyes — healthy children who are growing and doing well — and I can compare the images to the ones I snapped exactly one year prior, and note these changes as almost palpable. I can tug on their longer curls, and run my fingers down their lengthening limbs, all taut with shining skin… sometimes they have missing teeth, but their smiles don’t actually change. Sameness and differences, both. I really love the experience. And it’s some of the best fun we have together. Whenever I look over the photos, no matter how long ago, I seem to remember so much of the time, I recall the conversation and the giggles and the everything.

I never style them or pose them. They play around and wrestle in my bed ALL THE TIME. Sometimes two or three times a week. Sometimes I grab my camera, but often times I don’t. Sometimes I ask if I can snap pics… sometimes they ask me to, and if I don’t feel like it, I won’t. It’s all pretty casual. I never force them to do anything.

On New Year’s day, after a lovely breakfast I prepared with all the things they like to eat, I planned to snap some pics of them — same as we often do — only this day they wouldn’t cooperate.

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“C’mon. You GUYS! I can’t take your picture if you won’t come out from under there. No seriously. No, SERIOUSLY! You guys, c’mon. OH, COME ON!!”

They laughed at me from beneath the thick duvet as I tried in vain to snatch it off their heads. They jostled so much that one got bumped in the mouth, and then there were a few whiney tears, and then the bickering (oh, The Vacation Bickering…) and though I cuddled and cajoled, and patted and placated and pleaded, they just. would. not. And after about thirty minutes of trying, I became so enraged, I practically threw my camera across the room. I couldn’t even look at them after that, I was so furious. Instead, I took a seat on the couch and didn’t move for about two days. Because fuck all y’all then.

Tantrums, yo: they’re not just for children. *exhales*

Taking those pics has become something I value — something that almost cures any of the foul, heavy feelings that get carried over after midnight on the last day of December. Well, maybe not an actual cure, but maybe it’s the yin in the yang. Or something. A bit of good to help balance out the not-so-good. I hadn’t realised how much this small thing meant to me until I couldn’t have it. And I felt I really deserved to have one small thing. It was my candy — something to help take that bad taste out of my mouth — and I didn’t get to eat it. And it pissed me off, holy fuck. (One can only blame so much on PMS and nearly-full moons, and such.) But hey, now — everyone knows you can’t always get what you want. No matter how much you want to cry about it. No matter how much I actually did.

* * *

It’s not as if the year was all bad though. Of course not. I have lots and lots of lovely times and items I remember fondly — lots of it was good, and lots made me laugh. And for no other reason than to reflect on the good, here are some snaps of some of my favourite times — our life, as it unfolded from January to December (not including the New Year 2014 pics which are here):

- : WINTER : -

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She turned SIX. It was a school night, so, you know… you cram everything in the way you need to, I guess. Hence, bathroom. (Oh hai, Oliver.)

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At the museum with our tribe of ‘hood rats.

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He turned ten. TEN, holy shit.

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First tooth lost – February 26th

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Visit to Parisian Laundry art gallery

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- : SPRING : -

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As one does…

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- : SUMMER : -

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Outdoor art fair with ‘hood rats.

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Morning looming.

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Place des Arts – Jazz Festival

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Cottage

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…with my darling sister…

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Oliver’s snaps…

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Photobombed.

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- : AUTUMN : -

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He helps her with pronunciation… and then they dance.

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IMG_8982New Year’s Eve with this guy.

My complaints are few, really and truly. Yes, I’m still managing some acute anger about something out of my control at the moment, but one has to remain mindful – especially with the ones one loves the most. There ain’t no bones in ice cream, baby…

2015, I am ready. Let’s go…

G.G.

{ 19 comments }

Spray It, Don’t Say It

November 18, 2014 house stuff

Okay so, you know I hate ironing, right? I do. For me, it’s right up there with vacuuming… though to be honest, I loathe vacuuming just a little bit more. (Okay, a whole lot more.) So, what does a lady trying to curb her perfectionist ways do about all the wrinkles and things? She gets […]

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Kickin’ It

November 13, 2014 Conversations With Oliver

Oliver plays soccer. For the first time this autumn, there’s indoor-soccer activity organised by the city we live in, where all kids could join — the boys were sorted by ages 8-10, and 11-15. He’s ten and a half, but smallish for his age, so he was originally grouped with the younger kids, but as there […]

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Fully Loaded

November 5, 2014 Random Grumbles

I read an essay about what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mother the other day, which was really one of the best pieces I’ve read along these lines. Everyone knows it’s hard. Though this woman’s story wasn’t mine — for instance, I only have two children, and they were intentionally spaced four years apart […]

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Break. DANCE!

October 17, 2014 entertainment stuff

My kids watched School of Rock maybe fifteen times this summer, which pleases me to no end. The soundtrack is pretty good, and Oliver’s been hooked on this particular tune by The Ramones ever since… I can’t help but smile about it. He’ll say, “Can you please put on that head upside down song, please?” (Yes, […]

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All You Need Is Help

October 9, 2014 Conversations With Oliver

On Facebook, my friend Fiona once wisely stated: Homework — Kill it. Kill it with the fire of a thousand suns. I wanted to kiss her because I couldn’t agree more. (And she’s Irish, which would make the sound of this statement that much richer-sounding. That lilt, you know.) But oh, how I loathe homework hour(s). […]

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The Things I Keep Getting Asked to Play

September 10, 2014 Random Grumbles

Perhaps you’ve noticed all these memes flying around the internet lately. Frankly, I don’t love playing them at all, but that’s just ME… enjoy your Internets any way you wanna. I donated to the ALS fundraiser after I’d been challenged by a caring friend of mine, though I was a bit reluctant to do so. […]

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Both Strange and Familiar

September 4, 2014 Random Grumbles

I’m getting back into the groove after hanging with my little homies all summer long. They didn’t have a whole lot of camp, so we mostly walked and we walked, and we took the metro, and we walked some more. These fools would skip and sing and chat to me about endless amounts of things […]

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Head To Toe – July 10th, 2014

July 10, 2014 fashion & beauty stuff

You know that thing when it’s summer, and you’ve spent the entire day sweating your balls off, and then one of your super-gorgeous lady-friends calls to say, “Are we still on for drinks in an hour?” and you’re all, “Yeaaaaaah… suuuuuure…” and even over the phone, the girl sounds like she looks like a million […]

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