I have a friend, someone I went to high school with but haven't seen since my freshman year in college. She is very religious and spiritual. At the end/start of every year, she prays until the word for the year comes to her. This is the word, an inspiration or direction, for the entire year. Previous words of the year have included contentment, joy, determination. Every year, I've followed with interest what the word of the year will be, mostly because even though I am not a religious person, I find it an interesting way to deal with whatever God/the universe/life (you pick) brings to you.
As of yet, I haven't had any revelations for a word to guide me at the start of a year (maybe because I don't pray?) BUT as I review the past year, one word does come to mind, a word I've been feeling in a very present and constant way all year long: gratitude.
While I was pregnant, I often thought about what I wanted out of life for Bundle. My wishes for her were: may she be healthy and loved aplenty. You see, while I was a healthy child overall, as I look back at my childhood what I mostly remember was being loved. Not by throngs of people but by a few select, wonderful people who I could count on no matter what. Did I have a perfect childhood? Far from it. But I knew that I had the unconditional love and support of those few and that allowed me to be independent, self-assured and to be where and who I am today. So, I didn't feel that love from some people that I was supposed to feel/get that from? It turns out, that's okay, it wasn't needed after all and I might be the better for it.
But as for the wishes of a new mother, you might be thinking: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. And yet - this beggar is definitely riding a horse! Don't get me wrong. We've had a year with many ups and downs but that doesn't rid me of my gratitude.
One of the most notable downs was the loss of our 12 year old canine soul mate Aggie in January, and yet, even at that time; gratitude. Gratitude that we have an awesome vet who loved our dog almost just as much as we have. A vet who showed deep compassion, understanding and was willing to go along with our madness (feel free to ask me about the madness later on if you wish to know more details). A staff at the vet clinic full of kindness and sensitivity. Sympathetic friends who at a moment's notice took care of Bundle and gave us the opportunity and time to give our dog undivided attention in his last moments with us. In the past year we cried, we lost, we got mad and/or hurt, we were disappointed.
The year brought many ups as well. We grew as people. We were a part of many of Bundle's milestones and most of her daily living. We added new and wonderful people to our lives. We had adventures, improved our living conditions (new carpet!), got healthier, and laughed often. We learned so much, were reminded of things forgotten and we reconnected. We were able to spend lots of time with family (and that includes friends that are considered family), including going to Costa Rica for Christmas for the first time in 14 years! And again, the take-away from all of our ups has been: gratitude. Gratitude that Bundle has a grandmother that will drive two and a half hours each way, in a single day, to spend a few hours with her at the Christmas Market. A Tita who will move earth and water for her and a Tito who although is not biologically related to her adores and loves her like no other. Cousins who I swear are going to wear out her name from saying it so much (to get her attention) but love playing with her, picking her up and sharing their stuff. Aunts who don't hesitate to change diapers, (even the poopy ones!), are always willing to give advice, and lend a helping hand to her parents. Uncles who without even meeting her or uncles who get to hang out with her often, spoil her and make her giggle. Oodles of love, hugs, and kisses from all of our friends and family. Bundle is loved aplenty, from near and far, by many - and by extension, so are her parents. Having my wishes come true for Bundle and being given this past year, find me filled with gratitude, feeling fortunate, and privileged for having gone through it all.
And, thank you - to all of you, for being a part of our lives, enriching and making them better. We love you all! May 2014 be filled with laughter, adventure, love, and peace for all - we can't wait!