Sunday, January 2, 2011

Looking Back and Looking Forward

I can look back through the years and see how things have evolved. The years when I first had Davis and then Sam, I was totally focused on the kids. They took every bit of awake time and energy and attention and I threw myself into motherhood with great determination and passion. I was a mother with babies and that's what I was doing. Period.
Then for a couple of years, as the kids got a bit older I started coming out of the baby focused mania and begin to try to find out who I was again. I needed to take stock of how I had changed since I had children and who I still was outside of them. This led to some serious spiritual questioning of why we were here on earth and then, how I could make my time on it more joyful and meaningful. (This is still an ongoing question and process).
This past year, 2010, the kids continued to become more independent and while they are always my focus as a stay at home mom, I was able to continue to look around at life outside of the narrow constructs of childraising and see what needed to be done in our home and hometown. I narrowed down from my wild search of the divine and began to focus on making our life joyful and meaningful from the home on out. This was a year of focusing on making our home life healthy, safe and comfortable.
This year we replaced our A/C unit, bought Michael a new car, bought four new tires for my car, fixed a leak in our roof, bought a new bed (a temperpedic! Best bed ever!), made Michael's office a livable space, moved the kids in together and turned Davis' room into a playroom, and got a new dog. I also spent several months figuring out why my body was making me so sick and making a huge effort to fix it.
I developed as a caregiver. I mean caregiver in the true meaning of the words. I have been working hard this year at learning to give care. Michael got a new job that he loves and he got to work from home when he was in town. This changed my caregiver role in our home in a couple of ways. When he was home I had to support the delineation between work time and home time. When he was working out of town for huge chunks of time (which was often) I became a Mon-Fri single parent. I tried to support Michael while he was gone and make sure our marriage stayed strong. This year I started cooking dinner for my grandparents every night. I spent more time with my dad. It is fulfilling to give care.
I also worked to develop my friendships. I tried to make the effort to reach out and deepen the existing relationships we had with our friends. The friendships and support that we have right now in our circle of friends (which include my parents-another amazing gift) are so nourishing and wonderful and bring joy to us and feed my soul. I can't be thankful enough for my friends. To have friends who overlook your yuckiness and/or weirdness and still love you is a great blessing. Oh and the fun we all have! It has been a great year for fun with friends.
This year came with more responsibility in my hometown as well. I fought the good fight in the community against a shooting range that wants to move in as our neighbor. I supported our new mayor. I joined the board of partnerships for children. I joined the Unitarian Church and signed up for several committees. It felt good to do some good.
And we traveled. Of course we traveled. That's what we do. It is my passion and my addiction and my joy and my great expense. But I love it and can justify it in many ways. I say that it opens our eyes to places outside where we live. It recharges our batteries to face the daily life. It connects us to the people we travel with and creates something special that we will always share. I hope that travel is always present in my life.
So 2010 was a good (expensive!) year. I don't know what 2011 will bring. Sam will begin full day school and once again I will have more space in my life. I intend to use some of that space to become a personal assistant for my dad. I'm really, really looking forward to that. Travel- I intend to do lots of that- New Orleans, beach, east coast, Europe! Playing with our friends, hanging out with our kids. I love watching the kids grow. As they get older and develop and communicate better, it is so fun to get to know them. They are interesting little people and it's so cool that I get be with them as they experience the world. Spending time with Michael and loving him. He is an amazing human being and I am so lucky he's my partner in life.
Mostly I am grateful and optimistic. I feel like I am figuring things out day by day and that is a good pace. My resolutions for this year are to try and stay in the moment more, be more patient, love more, listen more. I'll work on those. And of course I will strive to follow the quote I keep on the signature line of my email. "Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"
Happy New Year, ya'll.


Heather said...

Oh, Amber, I loved this post. I might even want to post a link to it on my blog if that's okay. It's just beautiful and I admire all the work you're doing in your life. It's also encouraging to hear about the space that comes when things aren't so baby focused. I'm not there yet, but it's nice to take a peek into the future. Also, I'm glad you're feeling better physically. I've been meaning to comment on that. Happy New Year! xoxoxo

Amber said...

I'm so glad you liked it Heather. You can link to it if you want to, I'd be honored. Things do get better, I promise. Wish we lived closer... XO!

Mama Deb said...

I so, so get it!

cheris said...

Ahhhh... what a lovely post.

living in love said...

i really like your quote at the end.