Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year's Eve Reflection

2007. It was a good year. But I don't ever really think of any year as bad. Each year that I'm alive and happy has got to be considered good, right? Of course, every year has it share of hurts and disappointments. There are years that bring more hurt than others. The death of a grandparent, a loved one, a friend. Financial struggles, marriage struggles, questions about parenting abilities; these all ebb and flow over the course of the years for me, but not one year stands out as marked forever by one event.

Of course I look back and remember things about myself from years past that I am ashamed of. Things that disgust me and fill me with shame and regret. Memories of horrible things I have done that I will never shake and still regret to this day. I wish I could be someone who could say they have lived a life of no regrets, but for me, it seems as though every time I open my mouth I have a 50/50 chance of saying something I will regret, eventually. I have not yet mastered the art of thinking before I speak, even though I have been conscious of the fact that indeed I have been afflicted with stick-your-foot-in-your-mouth disease for at least 25 years.

I have many regrets, but it is who I am. I have one though, that for whatever reason, has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. And in the big picture of areas of my life in which I have really screwed up, it is probably the one that caused me the least amount of repercussions, yet the one that still fills my heart with hurt and regret some 22 year later.

I was a sixth or seventh grader, I can't remember exactly, but no matter the age, I was definitely a brat. I rode the bus to and from school every day and after school walked to my Grandma's house where I stayed and had dinner until my mom came home from work. My Grandma's house was always warm and cozy with a homemade dinner and fresh baked goods in the oven or in the cookie jar. My Grandma took care of my young cousins while their parents worked and somehow, her house was clean, her laundry done. She sewed, she knitted, she wrote letters, she hung laundry out on the clothesline, she cooked and canned and baked and she ironed. Oh boy, did Grandma love to iron. She ironed everything including her sheets. A tradition I tried to valiantly carry on myself, because boy are freshly ironed, crisp sheets, amazing to climb into bed with.

However after 1 child, I realized that I was not my Grandma and something had to give. And sheet ironing was the first to go. Followed closely by sewing, knitting, canning and writing letters. Oh, and growing my own vegetables.

Honestly, I don't know how she, or any woman of her generation, did it. They were amazing home keepers and yet I, with all the modern conveniences available to me, can't seem to get it together. I digress. My Grandma's home was warm and inviting, and I was glad to go there everyday after school, to have someone waiting for me.

One day, my grandma had my young cousin in his stroller and she was waiting for me at the bus stop. I don't know if they had been out on a walk, or if they had come outside with the specific purpose of meeting me. In any case, they were at my bus stop waiting for me. And me? I was embarrassed. Embarrassed of the old lady with the stroller who came to meet me like I was a five year old. I walked right past them like I was not the person they were looking for. Walked. Right. Past. Them. So the kids on the bus wouldn't know it was me that the Grandma came to meet at the bus. Apparently, I was too cool to be met at the bus stop by my Grandma.

And Grandma? She was hurt. And instead of apologizing, doing the right thing, saying that I was a stupid kid who was worried about what the kids on the bus thought, I yelled at her. For embarrassing me. For treating me like a child. I may have even said that I "didn't see her."

And I'm so sorry. This one event, this one hurt I caused this amazing woman who raised me, who loved me, who was always there for me, leaves an ache in my heart that I don't think will ever go away. How do you apologize to someone for ignoring them? For walking right past them like you didn't see them? For not acknowledging them and their existence? I don't know. Because I don't think I ever did apologize. I was a brat and when I was right, I was right. She was the one that was wrong for embarrassing me.

Y'all, I can't even say how much, 10 years after my Grandma's death, this one event still weighs heavily on my heart. Maybe it's because I'm the mom now. I'm the one waiting at the bus stop. And I know how hurt I would be if one of my three bus riders walked right past me. Like I didn't even matter.

And yet, my point with this story is that even though I remember that year by that one event, I know it was not a bad year. I know the next day I bounded into my Grandma's house after school to cookies and a glass of milk, the radio playing, and the dinner on the stove. I know my Grandma loved me and I loved her. I know that year I won a Battle of the Books championship and my Grandma was cheering me on. I know I had a fantastic softball season with my Grandma in the stands. I know I went on a trip to Alaska and saw things I probably will never see again. So while I am probably forever haunted by that one bad memory, I don't think of any year as a bad year. Any year, or day, or minute even, is a gift from God. And I don't take any of it for granted. How can any moment you are alive on this Earth, surrounded by friends, family and love, be bad?

So I want to record a few random happenings from this year, because even though I know there were many fights, arguments, disappointments, bad test grades, piles of laundry, un-ironed sheets and daily struggles, we are still here. Together. In a house with the heat on, the Christmas Tree glowing, non-homegrown vegetables in the fridge and more luxuries than we need. It was a good year.

2007 was a lot of things. It was the year we didn't win the lottery, the year we didn't get a new car, and the year we didn't come one step closer to our dream home.

And yet, oddly enough, my memories of this year of good.

2007 is the year I stopped buying diapers after almost 10 years. Pampers stock will surely plummet.

2007 is the year an acquaintance turned into a good friend. And I love her.

In 2007 we went on a wonderful family vacation. We enjoyed the sun, sand and sea and still smile about this trip whenever we talk about it.

2007 is the year K re-purchased his beloved Blackhawks season tickets. And yet, still no dream house.

In 2007 I was able to leave the house with no diaper bag, no snacks or sippy cups, and no extra changes of clothes. I have children that can put their shoes and coats on by themselves and we are finally able to make plans without worrying about nap time.

2007 is also the first year I have a child that WILL NOT TAKE A NAP. So it would go without saying that in 2007, my naps have been considerably less frequent.

In 2007 we were healthy. I am healthy, my husband is healthy, and my children made it through the year with no major illnesses or injuries. My son had a successful ear surgery and I think we only made 3 visits to the Urgent Care all year for various kids related emergencies.

2007 is the year of the summer that Choppy won her first 1st place ribbon in swimming.

2007 is also the year that Taco began playing hockey. And he loves it.

In 2007, we have had no deaths in our family. We have grandparents and great-grandparents still with us. And we are better for it.

In the summer of 2007 we caught more frogs than ever before at the cottage. There was a frog population explosion in Wisconsin this year and our buckets were ready.

In 2007 I was lucky enough to go on a girls only getaway to Galena with some good friends. And I had a wonderful time.

2007 will always be the year I started blogging.

2007 is also the year that I have really fallen away from the Church.

But yet, 2007 is the year where I have prayed more than ever before.

2007 found me as disorganized as ever.

And 2007 is the year where, again, I tried to get my act together.

In 2007 Fiona and Choppy have flourished in Tae Kwon Do. Breaking boards now not only with their feet, but their hands too. It amazes me. And they both swear it doesn't hurt. Which I don't understand at all, but love to watch them practice their art of focus and discipline and skill.

In 2007 we were able to see family from all over the country, and all over the world.

2007 will be the year I remember for the best vacation I ever took with K, to Hawaii.

2007 brought me success in the weight loss department, and also failure as I fell off the proverbial "wagon."

In 2007 I stopped drinking Coke for the first time in my life. And I felt great.

I also started drinking Coke again in 2007.

In 2007 I hugged and kissed my children everyday.

And, in 2007, I said "I love you" every single day, and meant it every time.

In 2007 there was good and there was bad. There have been good times, laughter, and fun, but there have also been struggles and worry and tears. And when you put them all together, they make up a life. And a good one it is.

Happy New Year!

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chickadee said...

you were 5. and i'm sure that's what your grandmother would say also. 5 year olds make a lot of mistakes.

i too am filled with regret and many of the mistakes i have made and so many of them due to my mouth.

i almost had to stop reading when i read you gave up coke. thank goodness you took up that bad habit again. you can't be too perfect.

happy new year!

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Happy new year, new friend!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Lisa. I am a fairly new reader and I enjyed reading your year-end recap. And, PS.... I am sure your grandma forgave you just like you forgive now as a mom.

Mom of 2 little princesses said...

Internet friend, or not - I LOVE you! You are so real - refreshing! Thanks for sharing you.

Jul said...

Awesome post Lisa! Grandma forgave you in about 10 seconds and by her not saying anything about it was her way of showing you how much she loved you! She knew you didn't mean it :)

Amy said...

Thanks for the words of your post today! I'm glad I stumbled upon you this year and I look forward to 2008. Happy New Year!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

It was obviously a great year! I hope 2008 is even better.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

Just a quick Happy New Year! I hope 2008 brings lots of joy and happiness into your house.

Oh, and I'm really jealous about you being able to leave the house without diapers bags and the like. Ugh. Can't wait till that's me! :)

Jenny from Chicago said...

Happy New Year! The site looks awesome!

Pedaling said...

great post -

sounds like you have much of the important stuff figured out.

chrissy said...

This was such an awesome post, it really touched me! I can relate in soo many ways, too many to count! One day I really, truly hope to meet you, in person! When can that happen? You are amazing and honest and this entry was so touching! Happy 2008!

Martha said...

I agree with all these other comments, Lisa!

You are loved......


Holly said...

I think it's so important to look back for a bit before we look forward--so we remember and learn, you know? Anyhoo...good thoughts!

Happy New Year!!

PLO said...

What a nice (an honest) reflection on your year. It was so nice that you added a hyperlink to our Galena Getaway, I had never seen that post before. I know 2008 will be ya!

Annie said...

Lisa, you made me laugh and brought me to tears. Great post!