So 2016 comes to a close, and I think I can hear a huge sigh of relief going around the Earth's sphere; it began around Samoa and is heading my way as I type.
I haven't blogged much this year, and I haven't read other blogs much either. I hope I do better in 2017, but no promises.
My mother turned 93. Her health is very good still. She had a bad bought of sciatica during the summer, however, and for the first time EVER she lost some of her independence and had to use a cane or walker and a wheelchair when she had to go out somewhere, and was in so much almost constant pain that she couldn't really relax and do even little things that usually bring her pleasure, like baking biscuits. They found the nerve causing the pain and gave her a shot in it with minimal success. She went to a chiropractor two and three times a week during this time, also with minimal success. But then she began physical therapy and that began working quite quickly. Very soon my sisters were able to put the walker, cane, and wheelchair back in the storage shed, and she is, for the most part, back to her happy self. I hope she continues this way forever! :)
Thomas and I celebrated our 29th anniversary. There are, supposedly, landmark years where things change for people as individuals biologically and mentally, aren't there? I mean, supposedly our food tastes change every so-many years. We go through periods where things shift inside us, physically and emotionally, (like adolescence, mid-life crises, adjusting to senior status, etc.), right? I can't really find the words to describe what I'm talking about, but I have noticed that as far as our marriage goes, every few years something seems to shift, for the better, so far. Maturity? Is that what I'm talking about? lol Well, anyway, I found that this year Thomas and I reached a new "plane" in our marriage, and it's a very good plane. It seems like in areas where we might have been prone to disagree or make a big deal out of something, we are now more relaxed and accommodating toward one another. We've always been close, but every few years that closeness that was already there seems to tighten up considerably so that we are bound exponentially tighter than before. And that happened this year. We're both in our 50s now, so maybe it has to do with the time of life we're in. We've stuck together through thick and thin, weathered some really difficult times, and weathered the good, easier times too (which sometimes are harder on a marriage, to speak truth). We've seen what we can do together and we appreciate it. We have more health problems, and we see ourselves slowing down a bit, but we still have (hopefully) so many more years ahead of us. Anyway, THIS YEAR I have seen and felt a lot of little things solidify or bend, as the need may be, and I have felt more contentment as an individual and as a couple and a family.
Eler Beth turned 20, so I no longer have a teenager. Very soon in 2017 she will be 21, actually. She is now working a job that gives her much satisfaction and is content with her private life as well. She has great friends she can depend on, and is still intent on staying single until the perfect man for her comes along. I have a feeling she may be thinking about getting her own place in the next year or two, and I will deal with that well, I hope, if and when it happens. She is a great girl with a big heart and a good head on her shoulders.
Andrew turned 27, and I still have a hard time believing that. He too has a career that he is happy with and is doing well on his own. His girlfriend of two years now, Alexandria, is the daughter-in-law of our dreams, even though they haven't made any announcement yet. We think of her as a daughter (and sister) and love her with all our heart. They hit a rough patch this year, and for about a week I grieved their separation as if I'd actually lost a daughter. I was actually shocked at how hard it hit me, and I think they were too. But they patched things up and seem to be sailing along. Andrew is so much more mature than he was just a couple of years ago. I think it's true that men don't really reach a good level of maturity until they are well into their twenties. He and Alex are a good combination, boosting one another up where needed, and encouraging the good in one another.
I have Wilder, my English Setter. I wasn't looking for him or expecting him. I didn't think I'd have another dog who would grow to mean as much to me as my Scout, but by-dogies, this dog has! He is a sweet baby who looks after me, consoles me, needs me, knows when I'm feeling bad, loves me unconditionally and lets me know it, and loves being a part of our family. I needed him, and he came to me.
Well, we've had what, 26 celebrities go this year? And in my own life I've lost four family members, namely, an aunt, a first cousin, and two sisters-in-law, and another family connection, the sister-in-law of one of my sisters, plus two classmates and a friend of the family. I've been to a lot of funerals and signed a lot of guestbooks.
I had a LOT more trouble with depression this year. That may seem strange, considering the paragraph above about my marriage. But you can have a signally good year as a couple and still have a bad year mentally. I powered through a lot of it and then paid for it with some near breakdowns. My family, especially Thomas and the kids, helped, or it would have been so much worse. I learned that I do have limits that I'd been ignoring, and I'm learning to recognize them and respect them. I am probably peri-menopausal, and I wouldn't be surprised if that has been a very big factor. I'm not alone; I have a great network of friends and loved ones to call on, as long as I let myself call on them. I have a God who is real to me, a very real Father and Friend. And I'm here! I'm still alive and relatively healthy!
I don't do New Year's Resolutions or even really spend any time, usually, thinking about a past year critically or anticipating a new year in any special way. But this, my fiftieth year, has been different for me in very personal ways about which I can't do a good job of putting into words. For me Fifty HAS been a key, landmark year, an eye opener, in lots and lots and lots of little, unexpected ways.
I hope anyone reading this has a very nice 2017. I hope I do too.