It really was.
Ok, so maybe I didn’t cry the WHOLE year all the way through, but it sure felt like a good chunk of 2019 was me either crying, or trying not to cry, or thinking about crying. Life, ya’ll.
I could spell it all out, but it’s basically a combination of all the things that we all pretty much deal with – clinging to people that really don’t want a relationship, a church where it’s easy to feel invisible, a toxic place of work, guilt over the way we’ve parented, finances, friends who are hurting.
The biggest for me was the slow and strange stepping back from my boys lives…hard for me; super exciting for them. Not a personal separation…but a parenting one, mainly because they no longer need to be parented like they did when they were little. We’ve moved on to the joy (and it is a joy) of watching them navigate life and now serve as their biggest cheerleaders as well as their biggest support persons…but also knowing that it’s time to stand back, offer advice only when asked – or altogether forgetting that and pummeling them with a heaping case of guilt. I excel at that part. Ouch.
Some of my friends find this separation ridiculously easy and others are like me…trying hard to figure it all out. My boys have been ready for that adulthood separation for quite a while…I, on the other hand, haven’t been. They’ve been very patient with me in that aspect, and for that I am grateful…and also confirms to me that I did something right along the way.
They will always be my very favorite people to be with.
I have also learned that I can still ‘see’ their eye rolling through the phone when I forget for a brief moment that they are grown-ups and remind them to wear a jacket, say your prayers before bedtime, steer into the skid when driving on ice.
Some things will NEVER change.
But 2019 wasn’t all a wash. Many, many, many good things happened as well. Writing in Italy was a dream come true. I was asked to speak again this year at a big university on journaling, even though I stopped writing around the same time as I began crying. I saw almost every one of my favorite people at some point during the year. I painted a room, overcame (I think) an infestation of german roaches, drank some really great wine, laughed with all of my boys, hosted more garden parties than I can count, and spent countless hours with that guy that I like so much – hours and hours and hours just being with him. After all these years, I feel like I still have so much to tell him. Sabbaticals are really good for the soul.
Healing. Quiet. Calm.
And then there was the garden. Or rather, THE GARDEN. That sacred space was filled with people almost every summer night with love and laughter and friendship and yes, tears. It is currently dormant right now while the garden resets itself…I love that winter is the time when we all work hard, the plants and trees are pruned and we have time to plan and prepare for the next season. And oh, the recipes I brought back from our travels this Fall that I can’t wait to introduce…Hulya’s hummus and Cypriot beans, amarone risotto and maybe, just maybe, a cassata cake.
Spring is around the corner and I’m already ready for the gathering to begin again. So very ready.
What finally came to light for me once winter hit and I reflected back to the tears of last year is just that…I forgot the light. Ok, maybe I didn’t completely forget the light, but I forgot to make the light my life priority. I stopped my reading and studying God’s words…my quiet time usually became consumed with everything else that needed to be done. That has changed – I’m back in a bible study and I’ve made my quiet time a priority – just like I do for my job. I have a set daily time for reading and writing and praying. I’ve asked a few friends to help hold me accountable, to pray for me, to pray with me, to check in with me. I’ve always been that person for others…now I’m the one reaching out.
So here’s to a new year with no new resolutions or word of the year or any of that, but a new set of priorities. The rest will fall into place along the way.