27
Dec

Dear 2021

You started with such hope, such promise.
You started with my letter to Joe, my promise to love, my promise to myself.
We had so much planned for you. We were all getting vaccinated, we knew vaccines for the kids were soon to come.
We had a trip of a lifetime planned, 2 solid weeks in Hawaii. We were going to spend the summer being stupid happy, drunk with happiness. We were going to surround ourselves with friends, we were going to have experiences, the kids were beaming, Anna couldn't stop chattering about all that was to come.

We settled into January and felt so cozy.
Cole was back in school full time, Cory too.
Anna and I had this amazing groove. I brought her to school two days a week, she worked with me at home three days a week. Pearl never ever left her side. We took breaks to walk her or run to get a bagel downtown. We really made the absolute best out of her virtual learning.

We were so happy with the pace of our life. And the "hardest" part was picking up Cole by 3 and waiting in that forever line to bring him home. That was the most frustrating part of my whole day. It really felt good.

Come spring, we were still on top of our game, nothing sinister around the corner. My business was flourishing, I was really busy but able to keep up. I was adding more and more services, I had plans and strong partners to turn to and ask questions of. I was loving my work, so happy I found this, thrilled I had made the move.

We all were really just walking slowly and again, stupidly happy. The only thought of concern was holding out hope for our trip, that COVID would allow us to go. But, even that felt so shallow to "worry" about. Postponing a trip was nothing. We would figure it out.

We saw friends all of the time, we were each other's everything, life was feeling quite wonderful.

And then, out of nowhere, things started to break down. And fast. So, 2021, I could list all of the ways you turned on us. How the light quickly went to darkness, but would good would that do? And, a lot of the stories I have to share are not mine to tell. So, I will say this...

By the time I arrived in Hawaii, I was a mess. I was crying and feeling regret and guilt leading up to the trip and on my first day, I woke up to devasting news that would change a life that I love forever and always. I spent the first three days feeling so heavy and really screaming at myself to just be here.
Be here, in Hawaii...but I couldn't.
If there was anywhere to breathe, it was here, but I couldn't.
If there was anywhere to feel your breath, it was here, but I couldn't.
I tried...
to remember this is their only time here,
our only time here, but I couldn't.

The day that we came home, the hits kept coming. More and more people that I loved and cared for were being taken down. I couldn't keep up. I was putting things on my busy calendar and thinking, maybe I'll be able to be there, most likely not. I kept having to explain myself...canceling meetings, canceling with prospective clients and staff, canceling my appointments. I wasn't sleeping, or I was too much. It all just ran into each other and it was a lot at once.

Ok, so 2021, you brought on a shit storm and you brought it quickly and made sure to keep it flowing, but here's some of the amazing that it was able to do...

Just us four.
We leaned hard on each other. But like really hard. Like my husband having to pick me up in a hospital parking lot unable to breathe from how hard I was crying hard. But he was crying too, and still carried me home and put me to bed. And my kiddos, we did so much crying and hugging together. And I think they got it, that we are important to each other. But, they also had a lot of crying to do and a lot of questions that I didn't have answers to. And my 12 year old stepped into the role of compassion and my son stepped into the role of innocence and we hugged each other all of the time.

My extended family.
It's no secret that our relationship has been complicated. Heavy. Filled with stress. I have done so.much.healing. Throughout the years, I have put a lot behind me but never forgotten. So I always knew that I wasn't completely done. This year brought the complications and memories back up, made me scream them out loud, made me say things to them I never thought I would, and made me put them to bed. And you know what, we're in a different place now. Oh, we're still very much us with undertones of "don't start that conversation" and "don't start...I'm serious, don't" but in a much different place. For the first time ever, actual priorities are priorities. Things that are supposed to matter do, and things that don't, they still do too, but in a different way. I cannot explain it, but it's different now. At the end of this all, we can say that we've said all we've needed to say, we've been honest, we've been loving and we were there for each other. That is an accomplishment so we're going to be ok.

My marriage.
It's also no secret that Coach is the absolute love of my life. I think about him and us all of the time. I think about our start, I think about where we are and I think about where we're headed. It's also no secret that we have been trapped in an eternal fog. A fog that lifts and crashes back down for years. A fog that was at its thickest and then cleared and then got mucky again and then, this year, had a breakthrough. And my house is different. We scream less. I'm less worried. We find a different way. We finally started listening to each other and when we hit a road that asked us which direction we're going in, we answered...I'll follow you anywhere. The kids are happier. Dinner together is different. Talks are different. Our daughter shares so so much and just talks about nothing until it is something. My son is just himself and we're all very happy with that. We look at how much joy he brings, even if it comes with a storm of tornadoes.

My body.
This year has come with some significant changes. My body has had some significant changes. From a workout that is doing more for my spirit than my waist, to the start and end and start again of PT, to minor surgery that is driving me nutty, to stress making me forget things...this body is changing. But, I am proud of myself for slowly, painfully, in my own tormented way, changing with it. There are so many things about myself I do not recognize anymore and I, of all people, am getting there. This is a breakthrough for my mind, my image, my thoughts. I will never ever be the type of woman that is all in on herself, but this has been a huge change.

My squad became each other's lifeline.
Friendships changed.
My life looks different.
My heart is different.
Some parts are healed, some parts are broken.
Sometimes it feels this joy and release, sometimes it feels such sorrow and weight.
My trust is shaken but my ability to love in the way I do has been heightened.
My house is quieter, but maybe we all could use some shh...
I sleep when I'm tired...but sleep hard and fast.
My puppy and I walk and walk, we have a really good rhythm.

It's all very different because of you 2021. I do not think 2022 will be a fresh new start, I think it will come with its challenges and changes too. I think it will come with more complications, more mourning, maybe healing, more joy...but I also think that this is the life of a 40 something. The changes we all go through, the heartache, the role reversals, the pain, the joy, your children age, your parents' age, you age.

So when I say goodbye to you 2021, I won't be filled with the same promise and hope for 2022. I won't welcome it as I did you. I've aged and I'm different now. I'll accept the new year, live my life, feel my feelings, love how I love, create what I want to forever keep, remove what hurts, keep going. It's all different now.

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