Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Year

Did you remember to set your clocks ahead one second?

Every year, my dad creates a set of New Year's Resolutions. The printed list of ten or so intentions for the coming twelve months gets tacked to his board in front of his computer and serves as a reminder of what he deems important in his life. At least until the list is covered by something else important.

Nonetheless, it is a good exercise, but I think it deserves more. After all, if you are creating "resolutions," does that not mean you are "resolving" to do something? Something more than write your vague intentions on a list? I prefer to think of them more as reminders and goals than resolutions, I guess. In that way, I feel I can capture the spirit of the new year, of starting fresh, without the guilt that probably would hit me in December of 2009 if I didn't follow through with my resolutions, if my resolve wasn't somehow tough enough. This is where Tony would tell me I should stop feeling so damned guilty about things.

So, I plan to start my reminders and goals with a bit of reflection. 2008. What a year. This was the year we lost my last remaining grandparent, Grandma Lorna. That pretty much occupied the first couple months of 2008. Her death was not unexpected, but it profoundly affected my family and I still miss her terribly. I especially think of her when I see my parents and Tony's parents interact with Charles; after all, Lorna was the only grandparent I really knew beyond my childhood years. I love all of my grandparents with a love I can't really define because it is so unconditional - Charles is named after a grandfather I never met but whom I truly wish I had and whom I love without knowing - and I pray that Charles will know all of his grandparents well into his adulthood. It is a special bond and something I don't want him to miss. And I think I value it all the more because it is something I did not have with many of my grandparents and something I miss on a near-daily basis from Grandma Lorna.

Then, shortly after grandma's memorial, I got pregnant. Hiding that from the world was sure fun, and I think everyone was truly surprised when we spread the news. You see, we were going to wait at least another year before trying for a child. I honestly think that the death of Tony's grandma the year before and the impending death of my last grandparent kicked me in the butt and made me realize that I was burning time for the relationships that my children would have. So I, supremely unready, and Tony, supremely ready, decided to go for it. I am so glad we did, as I now get to hold a squishy little boy who regularly lights up my life with the simplest of actions.

The pregnancy pretty much occupied the rest of the year, along with vast amounts of work, a couple of vacations, a house remodel, and Buster. We had a bit of trouble with Buster toward the end of the summer - as I got larger and more obviously pregnant, he got more and more aggressive until we had to make a decision about letting him go or beginning a harsh training regimen. I grieved for days about the mere possibility of losing my Buster. I still tear up now when I think about losing him, EVER. So, we decided to begin training, and I am happy to report that Buster is completely rehabilitated. He even handed out candy this Halloween, when months before he would not have let anyone approach the door without barks, snarls, and biting attempts. Also, he plays with little kids who come to our house, giving me immense hope that he and Charles will be best friends. Probably the funniest thing he does since Charles has been with us is let me know when I am not answering the baby's cries fast enough. If I am in the kitchen and Charles is in his crib and fussing, Buster will come to the top of the stairs and whine at me to take care of the baby! He is deeply concerned with Charles, and guards the doors to our rooms at night.

Ah, yes, and then, in November, I birthed a large baby with no drugs in less than an hour of active labor, and our lives changed forever, again. Since then, the days have been a blur of diapers, feedings, playing, headaches, walks, baby smiles, crying (me and Charles), and so much more. My house is a mess. I'm giving up dairy to see if it helps Charles' tummyaches, so that makes me a bit cranky. I started working out last night after getting the all-clear from my doctor. None of us are getting enough sleep. And we're having the time of our lives.

Now, on to the goals and reminders:
  • Lose all the baby weight and get into my size sixes again
  • Lose enough weight to fit into my fat jeans by February (I'll leave this vague as to whether I mean the beginning or end... thus giving myself more of a chance to reach this goal)
  • Create some sort of system for cleaning house
  • Remember that it doesn't matter what the house looks like, so long as everyone is happy and getting sleep
  • Find a way to get back to work at least 20 hours per week by March (I'll be working at Goodwinds - I quit my job at the Chamber, but will also be doing some contract work for them from home)
  • Go to the gym at least 3 times per week
  • Go to Rotary meetings every Wednesday
  • Take dinner to Tony at least 3 times per week during tax season so he has a chance to see Charles
  • Find some time to spend with the dog - he misses us
  • Enjoy and capture every moment and significant event with Charlie (in my memories or on film) because they only happen once
  • Love my husband and appreciate the amazing things he does for his family
  • Take more trips to the beach to see the folks this year

Wow. I could go on, but I think those are the big ones. Happy New Year!


Sarah said...

Hey there! Good luck with your list, it seems awfully ambitious, but you are the ambitious type, aren't you? Also, good luck with the dairy, I hope you find whatever it is that's irritating your little squishy guy.

Mom and Dad said...

I too wonder if a list is good for us. I do make lists, but not with the intention of fulfilling dreams or aspirations, but reminding me of issues/items to shop for. Sarah is right, the list is ambitious, but I know you will try your darndest to complete it. Your writing always makes me smile and your reflection on Grandma Lorna hit a cord close to my heart as well. We have been very blessed to know our grandparents and some of us knew our great grandparents. They are so cool and it give you an extra sense of heritage to know them personally. that is the bond family provides and I am glad we are part of yours. Love ya

rogerhol said...

Mimi, I'm gratified to hear that you are starting the New Year's Resolution process at an age younger than I did (by a little bit). Allow me to nutshell my experience with this process, gained over the last 25 yrs or so.
You have to establish a disciplined approach to keeping the goals in front of your face daily.
That's it. Just that one thing. I've always been disappointed that I "only" got some of the NYR's done each year. At the end of '08, I reviewed the NYR's that I wrote 365 days earlier and was sadly disappointed to acknowledge little in the way of accomplishment, and I vowed to never let it happen again.
So I invented a procedure and developed some steps. I broke down the NYR's into monthly goals, then put those onto a card that I carry--it has the Year's goals on one side and the month on the other. The month is broken down by weeks, and I use my desk blotter to plan each week of action.
How's it working so far, you ask? Not half bad; better than ever before. I plan to keep on it for the entire year with the idea that I can accomplish everything.
Note: It's best to keep your NYR list to one page of 12-font, bulleted, etc. Any more'nat is either too detailed or too much to do. I did allow myself another list for business, also limited to 1 page.
Good luck, and let's compare notes in Dec09.

rogerhol said...

Well, OK, a lot was accomplished, certainly Goodwinds and Leland's progress therein being a big one. I can't claim personal accomplishment per se for Charlie's arrival, at least not directly, but he's definitely the high point of the year. The last 30 yrs actually.
Then there was the roof rebuild--which was on my NYR list. But in looking at the list from 1.1.08, it was disappointing that I couldn't check off more items. Then I take into account how incredible our lives have been and it's all good again.
NYR management will make things even better in '09.
...Dad :)