I will always remember 2009 as a period of rest. Not physical rest, but emotional rest. No more new babies. No more adjusting to having five children. No more adjusting to having Christopher frequently gone teaching, writing, directing, or acting. No more expecting help from "someone." No more expectations that this was all temporary and that life would eventually settle down. Those difficult adjustments had been made, in all their blaze and glory, in 2008. 2009 was about no new shocks, no new projects, no more satisfying the pride in my heart that I could do and be it all to everyone. 2009 had no frills, few expectations, a lot of time at home, and a quiet resolve to be and, it seems in my mind anyway, to recover.
Despite my desire to cut out the deadwood and nonessential, 2009 was still very busy, but strangely calm. The days blend by, and things came my way: murals to paint, ideas to write about, lessons to grade, quick lunches with friends, late night dates with Topher, rooms to be picked up, lessons to prepare, children to listen to, meals to make, Target trips to stock up the house, shoes and socks to buy and buy, swimming, soccer, piano, and other lessons to coordinate, children to read to, to organize, to frame their day, to pick up books for, to teach the gospel to, to teach everything to, at different times, at the same time. Plenty to do, all at once and usually several at a time. I found that trying to control my schedule on what I wanted always left me frustrated, and giving myself generous timeframes in which to accomplish a few things left me feeling more productive.
This is the year that I will remember trying to see the world as an improvised play: to accept everything that comes at the moment it comes, and add to it. Add to not have preconceived notions of what I will do or say, but simply be over prepared with purpose and intent, with an open mind and an open heart and be brave enough to play a supporting role. I learned that the most rewarding, satisfying roles are the character roles we all play, not that boring leading lady or ingenue. This proved to be more difficult than I originally thought it was going to be, and I am now resolved that it will take longer to really improve this theory.
This is the year I discovered how important good manners, simple acts of kindness, and generosity in listening are to me.
This year marks the year I have consciously resolved not to take my children growing up as a tragedy or personal insult directed toward me, but rather as an opportunity to grow, personally, and to have more fun with my growing kids.
2009 will be the year that Miles started babysitting and, as a result, gave me a great gift of feeling like there was a little more room to breathe, and a little less cause to feel so helpless and overwhelmed. A new stage in our family. A stage that involves me going to Days Market without little ones, and a few more movies with Topher at night. Which, apparently, is all I needed to feel more like myself.