Usually at this time of year people post about their New Year's resolutions. Or rather they post about all the things that they did NOT accomplish over the previous year. Since it is my habit to NOT make any resolutions, I am happy to report that I did not fail at any of them. I am not so good at resolutions, and honestly, I try to not put that kind of pressure on myself. I read a great post today at Uppercase Woman where Cecily talked about the things she WAS proud of for the past year. So in her honor, I am going to make this post about the things that I am proud of that happened in 2008. Going forward to 2009 I will continue to try and live my life in a way that can make my entire family proud.
I am going to start with my very favorite picture of 2008. Now I realize I have never posted a picture of anyone but The Boy on this blog, but seeing as how this is a new year and all, I am going to include one of my very own little family (including The Girl who is still residing in my tummy). So here is your very first look at me...don't blink. You might miss it.I just love the way the The Boy is hugging my belly and I think the look I am giving him shows how very much that little boy means to me and how very much I love and treasure him. First and foremost for the past year, I am proud of the relationship that I have with my son.
I am proud of how I managed to parent him this year. The second year of life is not an easy one, and I am proud of how we BOTH managed to navigate through this past year. As we all know, parenting is the toughest job out there and although there have been several moments that I questioned how I handled something, overall I am quite proud of the way that I parent this child and the choices that I make/made. I am proud of the fact that this past year was a MUCH healthier year for him and that for the entire 12 months we both managed to keep him out of the dreaded "failure to thrive" zone. I am proud of his success in terms of his speech. At the beginning of the year he wasn't even putting two words together. Now the child never shuts up and is up to about 6 word sentences. Mind you, you can't always understand those 6 words, but both he and I know they're there. I am damned proud of him for all he has done this past year.
I could make this whole post about The Boy, but I won't, so I am going to move on to some other areas in my life. Probably the other biggest thing with 2008 is that I am proud of how I handled the break up with The Ex. Actually I am proud of both of us. It wasn't easy (as breaking up never is...) but because we went through counseling and constantly made sure we were putting The Boy before ourselves and our hurt feelings, we managed to get out of it without much damage. Our son has never heard either one of us say an unkind word about the other, and he sees up together almost as much as he did before we split. We vowed to never put him in a position where he feels like he has to have two birthday parties, or two Christmas', or else live two separate lives with his two different Moms. As a child of a divorced family I am acutely aware of how hard it is when the situation is "ugly." Although there were many times throughout the process where either one of us or both of us was hurt and angry, we managed to keep that to ourselves and not burden our child with it. I am proud of us for that.
On a personal note, I am proud of myself for actually making the decision to end the relationship. You see my relationship wasn't bad, per se. There was no abuse, there were no loud fights, and we really did get along great. As friends. That was the issue. We had become good friends. For a long time I thought that was enough. But it isn't. I deserve to be loved and I deserve to love someone else. A passionate kind of love. But as I look around me, I see plenty of relationships that are in worse condition than mine was. And those people trudge on. They wake up day in and day out and go through the motions. But like I mentioned above, that is not what I want to teach my kids. So even though it was hard, and even though a lot of the time I felt like my heart was splitting into a million pieces, and even now, I wonder if I will ever find what I am looking for...I am proud of myself for making that decision. I am proud that I fought for myself and fought for a better future. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but I know I did the right thing.
I am also proud of not giving up on my dreams. For many reasons, some of which I have discussed here before, I have always had a dream of having two kids. Perhaps it was because of how my brother and I were split up as children. Perhaps it is because that fits into the stereotypical storybook of America. Or perhaps it is just because somewhere deep down, I knew there was another soul waiting to be loved and cherished by me. But for whatever reason, this past year I decided to NOT give up on that dream despite my relationship ending. I made the decision to forge ahead and to do this alone. I fought for the right of my son, and for the privilege of getting to know my future daughter. It is scary and there are several times throughout any given day when I wonder exactly how I am going to manage it all, but I am proud that I made the decision to try.
Because I am anal and a planner, I am proud of getting my life in order before getting pregnant with my second child. I shifted my professional world around and risked losing long-term clients by raising my rates to the point that I can successfully afford to take care of two children. I went to visit my doctor ahead of time and figured out a way to get off all the meds I was on (and we are talking anti depressants here, not vicodin and oxycontin). I met with my OB and found out exactly what I needed to test a potential donor for, in case I was lucky enough to find one. And I talked to those that support me (namely my mother) in my parenting journey to make sure they were also up to the task of attempting one more. It took me almost a full year to accomplish all of these things. But I made sure all of them were in order before I did that first insemination. To me, it was a test to myself. How could I handle the stress and craziness of two children as a single mother if I couldn't get my life in order beforehand? So I had to take that test to make sure that I could. And I did. And thank God because otherwise, who knows where I would be?
Lastly, I would like to mention something small that is in no way an emotional pride. At the beginning of January 2008 I decided that I was going to try and make a small contribution to living a greener life. Part of doing that was giving up all bags. I carry many different sizes of canvas bags around in the back of my car and wherever I am going, I throw an appropriate one in with me, and I can honestly say that for the past year I have not taken one bag. It is a small thing, but it makes me happy. I also successfully made all the cleaning products in my home of the "green" variety. Again, these things are small, but to me, I am proud that I made the commitment and have stuck to it.
Looking back at 2008 I can say it was one of the most challenging years I have had in a long time. Health challenges with my precious boy, the ending of an 8 year relationship, the beginning of a new life inside of me, and just overall doing my best to become a better person. But I am really proud of who I have become and what I have accomplished. Even being able to write this post says something. In previous years I most likely would have written about the things that "went wrong" in 2008 and the things at which I didn't succeed. I would have said that I failed in my relationship, and that I somehow failed my boy because he isn't up to the health standard that I would have liked, and that I am a single lesbian looking for love and not finding it... And maybe that's how 2008 has changed me. Even though all of the above are true, I don't look at it that way. I like to look at what I DID do, and what it is that I can be proud of. Let's hope 2009 is filled with more of the same. Happy New Year everyone...thanks for reading.