I was thinking over the past week or so how very few people likely end the year where they thought they would. Over the course of twelve months, time and circumstance conspire to create opportunity and - if you play your cards right - you will be in the right place to take advantage of it. For some the changes will be big and nearly impossible to imagine. I doubt that on January 1, 2011, Alison Redford believed she'd end the year as Premier, without a mother to share her joy. And did Libyans or Egyptians or Syrians foresee the dramatic violence that would overtake their countries? Unlikely.
But closer to home, I think of all the families who have lost loved ones, people who have moved away from home for love or work, babies welcomed, milestones reached. I look at something as simple as the lack of hair on my crawling daughter's head last January and try to reconcile that image with the blond curls running past me. She speaks now, in sentences.
My son has grown out of his clothes. I can no longer tell him what to wear or what to think. The days of being able to push him along, both literally and figuratively, are slowly moving out of my reach. The march to his independence has begun, most recently with a short walk across the street by himself to ask his friend to come over and play. And they did, in the driveway with nets and hockey sticks. Another rite of passage reached.
As the years go by, I find I am becoming both more at peace and at war with myself. I forgive others more readily, make sure I hear the other side before I make up my mind, and am comfortable with my opinions when I express them. But I also think that it's high time that I find a sense of style and take action to make my house more adult and less varsity, with its Ikea furniture, dusty old window coverings and marks on the walls. This year I will hang pictures so that any stranger can see that a family lives here: a Mom, a Dad, a Boy, a Girl, and a Dog. They have been places. They "live" here.
We have trips planned for 2012, but no major changes. We have jobs we enjoy and like where we live (even with its dirty blinds and walls). Our family will probably lose some members and welcome others. We may reconnect with old friends and make new ones and in between all of this we will practice the art of living. All I ask is that on December 31, 2011 this home still hold a Mom, a Dad, a Boy, a Girl and a Dog.
A Family. Mine.