Today was great. You know what’s cool about that? It’s nothing new for me to have a great day, lately. I have been thinking about this a lot in the past few weeks . Let’s jump back a bit…
The year my daughter was born was probably the worst year of my life. I mean, I had a newborn, which is difficult for anyone. I did the standard no sleep/time/resources/social interaction bit, but with a hefty dose of postpartum depression on top. I sobbed nonstop and, though I’m certain any number of my friends would have been happy to help me, I still felt completely isolated, like I had no outlet for my feelings. Nobody tells you it’s okay not to enjoy that time, so I thought I was doing it all wrong. I had anticipated breastfeeding my baby, but my milk dried up within the first two weeks and I felt like I had failed my daughter. I had the guilt of feeding her formula (which, by the way, I finally got over) and the ridicule of nearly everyone that saw me make her a bottle when I was out in public. It was also that year my mom was in and out of the ICU, her life sputtering to an end. I spent my 10-year class reunion, my anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the hospital with her. I was away from my family for weeks at a time in order to pull overnight shifts by her side. I have some anxiety issues anyway which, with everything I’ve mentioned, gave me multiple panic attacks nearly every night. I had a lot on my plate. It was awful.
But this year, dear reader, has possibly been the best one yet. And I feel like it’s important for me to document this feeling of contentment. The only thing I could think of to improve my current situation is if my mom were here to share it with me. Allow me to elaborate.
Abby is three years old now. She’ll be 4 in September. She is a delight to me. She is so capable these days. She can ride her bike with us and communicate her feelings and wishes with me. She plays imaginative games and dress-up, and she tells me she loves me at random intervals throughout the day. She sings princess songs. She’s big and potty trained and can put her own shoes on. But she’s not so big that she is past cuddling up to watch My Little Pony and falling asleep occasionally on my lap. She has a lot of friends, which she made at preschool. She goes to preschool three days a week, and I only have class 2 of those days. This is the first time in about 4 years that I’ve had a full day to do with as I please.
JT has a job that lets him work from home. On Wednesday afternoons, when Abby is at preschool and I am not occupied, JT and I go on dates. We have not had time alone to remember each other as people since she was born, but now we have it once a week. We go to movies, or out to lunch, or just around the block on our bikes or our feet. We hold hands. We know why we love each other.
The other two days that I’m not on parenting duty, I go to school for graphic design. I dropped out of university when I was 20, having no direction or idea of what I wanted from life. I have worked hard to make up for that decision, and some days I honestly don’t feel like I ever could. Lately, doing design work had helped me forget I was ever so stupid. I love the actual work of designing things. I am head over heels for type, and have been given a bit of recognition around the design department for it. It feels good to be acknowledged for my skill, but it feels even better to be satisfied with my own output. I have disappointed myself over and over again, but finally I can take pride in my work. No amount of praise could equal that. I don’t feel like I have to apologize to my audience when I show a poster. It’s incredible. Additionally, I’ve made some friends in the department. One of the other enormous benefits I gain from attending class is getting out of the house and speaking with other adults about grown-up things on a regular basis.
And while I’m on the topic of friends, I feel like my social life has really gelled this year as well. My two best friends in the world live nearby, and we hang out frequently. I have known them since 5th grade and could not be happier to continue to know them. JT’s coworkers turned have proven to be excellent friends and neighbors rather than just people with whom to kill the working hours. And I certainly can’t forget my cousin, who is much more like a sister than anything. The longer I live around these people, the more sure I am that Colorado is the place for me. I cannot imagine geographical distance from this group. There has been some talk of my other cousin and his wife moving this way, and the prospect of that tickles me pink. They are two of the coolest people I can imagine. This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. I love lunches and brunches with my uncles, breakfasts with my dad, and tons of other friends (old and new) that have not been named individually, in Colorado, Oklahoma, and all over the rest of the contry. Let’s not stop there, even. Thanks to Facebook, I have been back in contact with so many of my friends from ten, even twenty+ years ago who have moved all over the world and put down roots. I have never felt so much genuine support.
My 32nd birthday is at the end of this month and, for all my fear of aging, my 30s have been a real high point. Certainly from time to time I become aware that my anxious and depressed days are not so far behind me, but for the most part I am content. I feel healthier than I ever have, emotionally, and feel like it is important for me to not only embrace this change, but pat myself on the back for having made it so far.
So tell me, friends, what has gone right for you this year? What is your reason to congratulate yourself?