Charlie, Teddy, Mommy and I just cycled through all the New Year’s Eve Countdowns on Netflix. We even doubled up on the ‘All Hail King Julien’ and ‘Larva’ countdowns. We have only seen King Julien in the context of this less-than-two-minute clip, yet it’s a perennial favorite. Larva on the other hand is just super weird. Mildly disturbing actually. I love that Teddy loves it. I’m not sure why.
You two don’t really need us to trick you anymore. You know it’s 9 o’clock or so and you are happy watching all these countdowns. You still dance. You dance without inhibition. You are whirling dervishes in our happy living room and are as excited on the tenth countdown as you were on the first.
Saying goodbye to 2018 shouldn’t be that hard. Outside of our bubble it’s been a rough one. But inside our bubble, inside our family, it’s been a year I’ll never forget. One that could have gone very differently. One that could have felt tragic even. But it didn’t. For that I have you two, my two wonderful boys and your Mommy to thank.
The lowest day of the year for me was May 11th. It started like any other, then it took an unexpected turn, then I was out of work. With all the thoughts racing through my head it was so easy to feel hopeless. I could have sunk. But you didn’t let me. You even found some joy in it. Even in my most determined and optimistic thought trains the best I could get to was finding a better place to be and earn money to maintain what we had established but you guys saw beyond that.
I haven’t written much this year. Not much to you two at least. I have to fix that. While I won’t say this blog hasn’t evolved since it’s start, I will say that I still wish to write it for you two specifically and for our family more generally. I still want it to be the place where I can select and clean up our muddled memories for future reference. I still want to make a trove of gratitude for the times we have to be mined later for the purpose of copious and gratuitous nostalgia. In that way I want to shine a light on 2018 before it passes us by.
First, I found a level of love from your mom, one that was tender and thoughtful and selfless, that I didn’t know existed. Her continual support and encouragement and love really made me able to see past the vicissitudes of the moment and grab onto the opportunity I’d been given. At times when I lost faith she never did. When I doubted myself she reminded me who I was and what I could do. She was beyond anything I deserve, even though she’d never let me think that.
Secondly, I had the year with you two in 2018 that I wished for and thought I’d never get. I got to spend the summer home with you two! If we could in any way make it so that you were home with one of us instead of away at various after school programs, we’d do it. We want that more than anything. But to live here, a place that gives you such great opportunities, we both need to work. But from May 11th through the rest of the year I got to spend my days with you. Do you even know how great that timing is!
We had a summer together while you guys were 5 and 7. Charlie was heading into 2nd grade in the fall and T, you were entering Kindergarten. What an amazing time to have with you! We explored and hiked, played baseball and went to the pool pretty much every day. We talked and ate and cooked and laughed. We learned Chinese checkers and met our neighbors. You two became neighborhood kids and you spent the summer in and out of friends backyards and trampolines. We sprayed hoses and shunned shirts for days. Well, you guys did. I am of a certain age and shirts are just a good policy. Still, we did SO MUCH.
The fall came too quick, I’m afraid. We fell back into the school year begrudgingly. Before long Mommy was taking Charlie in on her way to work and I was hanging with T through early lunch after which his Kindergarten day would start. We talked about everything in the mornings. Friends, feelings, Lego’s and life. I would walk you across the street and wave goodbye. We even blew kisses through the door for a little while, but you stopped and preferred to wave soon enough.
I’d come home and clean up and look for my next job. By now it was somewhat begrudgingly. You all taught me to have some high standards and I think I got it right when I chose to say yes to an offer. I’d turned a few back and then had not heard anything for long stretches. It made me nervous. But you guys and mom were so wonderful I couldn’t just take anything.
I’m thrilled to be starting my next job at a wonderful place doing real world good works. But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you how much I’m going to miss what we had these past 11 months. I didn’t even realize I was dropping you off for midday kindergarten for the last time when it happened. It just happened. Like it had for months before.
I can’t say 2018 was perfect. It wasn’t. But it was the very best imaginable imperfect I could ever have dreamed up. I will never be able to recapture what we had this past year, but I’ll never ever forget it.