another year.

34 is around the corner. Literally.

In two weeks, I will say goodbye to 33 – the year of introspection, transformation, chaos and reflection – and I will embrace the pristine, shiny, new 34.

So much has happened this past year. Because I choose to live in the present, there’s not too much to revisit, but I think a few things are worth noting and recounting here – for integrity’s sake.

The Boy is doing well….ish. When we said goodbye in August, he moved back in with his mother. He tried out for, and made, the high school football team. Played the season well, gained a bit of weight, seemed to be on a different path. We see him weekly now, and enjoy our time together. Since football ended though, he’s once again looking gaunt. Skinny, twitchy, and full of strange excuses for the simplest things. HIs mother has pegged his behavior as ‘a bit sketchy’. In less than 3 months, the Boy will be 18. I can only hope for, and think positively about, his future. A lesson learned at 18 years of age may scar him for life – both emotionally and physically. A slap on the wrist no longer suffices as punishment. But I will keep holding on to a bright future for him. I hope he can see it.

The Girl is amazing. Her transformation has been such a delight to watch. With a new teacher this year, she has come out of her shell. No longer an anxious and worried student, she enjoys bringing in things from home to share with the class. A year ago, she was taking up to 10 bathroom breaks a day because her classroom was such a source of anxiety and stress. Looking forward, I can see the tiniest steps indicating success. We might even try to get her to the mall this week, if she’s ready for it.

At 7 years old, she’s reading at a University level. She’s studying reading and comprehension at the highest level the school will allow – which is grade six. Words like obstinate and pressurize bore her, and she complains about the spelling tests (They’re too easy for me, mom!). Her report card was full of A’s, with a few B’s sprinkled in the mix. She passed Phys. Ed. In fact, she received the highest grade possible – an E for Excellence. In last year’s class, she failed gym. Sulked around the house for weeks, and begged to stay home because she was just so ashamed of herself. Hey, maybe there’s a chance that a team sport is possible. I am so proud.

In other news….my parents have made the decision to move out to Nova Scotia. Their house is packed and sold, and in three weeks they will drive across the country to their new home in Chester Basin. Selfishly, I’m both disappointed and angry. I feel mainly sad, though – sad for the Girl, for this relationship she’s built with her grandparents and for having to now say goodbye to them. Visiting is a nice thought, but it’s not something that is within our reach at the moment. Spending $2600 to fly to NS just isn’t feasible, and I’m sure Disneyland might be less of an investment – with a better return.

It stung when they moved to Newfoundland – my daughter was 6 months old for that first relocation. In an isolated community on the edge of Canada, the ocean as their backyard, my disabled mother was miserable and felt very alone. Suddenly this dream didn’t seem to be such a good idea. They lasted one year before joining us in Sherwood Park. And we were elated when they arrived. I was surprised to learn of another move out East.

And so this is what tears me apart. It’s when my daughter looks up at my dad, when she runs to him for a hug or laughs at his old-man jokes, my heart melts. She gently tells her friends about her gramma’s brain injury, filled with pride over gramma’s accomplishments. And when she and my mom sit together coloring at the kitchen table, or when they are reading Calvin & Hobbes books – these moments belong to my girl. And now, after a series of impulsive decisions and the desire to start over yet again, these moments will be just memories. And I’m not really ready for it. Not for this.

But ready or not, I have to say the Universe gives me so much. I have my best friend and her daughter living right down the street. When a glass of wine or a bottle feed is in order, I’m there in three minutes. I met amazing strangers while on my solo trip to BC this summer. They were all so important in my journey, and I gathered strength, energy, and knowledge from each of them. A good friend of mine has been offered a position with a major international news affiliate in Istanbul. I’m so proud of her achievements, and she deserves this great post. My family is healthy, and my daughter is becoming stronger and more independent with each day. I have a job I enjoy coming to, and the people I work with are kind and positive. A friend has asked me to join a sports league with him, and I am finally ready to try new things.

As 33 draws to a close, I know that I am happy, and I do my best to give my best each day.

I am blessed.

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