Oklahoma City family fun brings us back to center, with family in the middle of it all.
New beginnings and all that 2019 will bring has me looking back on this past year.
We're talking it over today as we look past the last 12 months, with literally thousands of snapshots captured in phone albums. Our family welcomed a new baby, Jacob-Peter, in March, and our oldest transitioned to middle school. My in-laws visited from their home in Costa Rica and stayed at my house for six weeks; that is a long visit in terms of grandparents who live far away. We saw Arabian horses and the Oklahoma Aquarium and hot air balloons. Our family ate a lot of pho and took swimming lessons. There's a lot of "Oh yeah! Remember when…" and we all fill in the details of what has been a mostly happy 2018.
There is no happiness guaranteed, in any of this, and what I feel at the end of this year is gratitude, not only for things but for moments and being able to solve problems. We've had a lot of illness but nothing life-threatening; house emergencies, including a costly garage door and a hot water tank, but that's life. Annoying as all the diapers and teething and broken plates and laundry are, they're part of family life and we find joy despite all the things that threaten to sap it.
Sam's class sang the "Rent" song "521,600 Minutes" as part of his fifth grade graduation and it does seem like a New Year's anthem. How do we measure all that goes into their childhood and our lives too?
What surprises me is how fast these years go. "The days are long but the years are short" seems like a phrase that belongs on embroidered pillows or Etsy wallhangings but it really does sum up what we've lived this year. This is the year we'll remember as Jacob-Peter's babyhood and when my children say things later like "When I was about 4…" or "I was in first grade when…", they'll be talking about now. Time seems to pass so slowly when you're young but a year is a collection of moments after 30.
My Dad is 63 and I remember him telling me last year that from here on out, it's a sprint. "I know that's not what you want to hear," he said and it really wasn't. I don't want to be moving this quickly through the years. If it was possible to pause and let everyone just be 11, 6, 3 and almost 1, I'd like to do that instead.
When I asked our children today what they most remember as we look back, Sam's answered surprised me: volunteering at the Regional Food Bank, weighing bags of dry beans. The measure of his year was in what he could do for others and I think that may be the focus of his life's work. We will watch them all grow over the next year, see that progress and who they will become in 2019 through all these small moments. There is hope in knowing that they care about other people.
School is out for a few more days and instead of wishing the time away with its cookie crumbs and scattered Legos, I am choosing to see the wonder of it all in this messy beautiful season. When it all becomes too much in here, we'll go out and join our community through local events, winter activities and other things that just might make the list of what we remember about this time. It's also totally possible that the magic has worn off and you're just ready to get on with it; if that's the case, find a place to play indoors but that isn't your house here.
If you want to celebrate New Year's with a community event, including Noon Year's Eve with its early countdown option just for kids, find a list of local happenings here.
Ring in 2019 with joy. Leave what's tedious in the old year. I hope it's your best year ever and mine too. I love the new beginnings each year brings and my resolution this year is to actually look when I hear "Look! Look, Mom!" repeated day after day. I hold hope that if I take the time to see, that will be a life well-lived. That's my hope for your house too, as we all decide where we'll look, what we'll see and how to spend our days.
Happy New Year!