I started blogging in the summer of 2015. It was just a little experiment to see what it was like. I was always so impressed my friend’s blogs. I wondered if I could do that. The first couple of posts were OK, then my friend suggested trying the Ten Things of Thankfulness posts. Being willing to try new things, I gave it a try. I was prepared for the usual internet rantings of negativity, and was amazed to find a caring and welcoming new community. I do have to say, that I find myself somewhat challenged to not just post a diary, but to find a theme, or something that I really want to say. Most of the time, however, it does become a diary. With that said, I came down to the last post of the year. Should I do a rewind of the years events? Should I find a theme? Should I look forward to a new year while looking back? I figured the best way to look over the year was through pictures. The theme of the year that stood out was the addition of the new baby in the family. Being a first time grandmother, it is not hard to come up with pictures to fill the entire page, but I do want to think about how I have changed over the year, along with the arrival of the baby. I do know that the arrival of this baby has led to many changes, but also the illness that has been the life of my parents, has seen many changes there. The new sobriety of my husband and son has brought enormous change. First, lets do a look back.
January found us visiting relatives with a very pregnant daughter and her boyfriend. It was cold outside but warm in the kitchen, next to the fire and the kitty.
February was quiet, but March brought on sunshine and a baby shower.
April was a month of dealing with problems my son had created. There were phone calls back and forth, until we realized we had to at least deal with one issue. We needed to take his car away from him. We told him that if he could be more responsible, he could get it back. He was very appreciative of how we had let him have this car since college, and wrote a long ode to the car. It had been through thick and thin with him. It was on its way to where it would be taken care of. I never got a picture of the sad state the car and my son were in, but at least I was able to clean up the car. Now if only I could clean up my son as easily.
May heralded the arrival of THE BABY ! We had a few days before she was born to just enjoy being with my daughter. We did walk around the local street fair, which is perhaps the lamest street fair in the country, but it does manage to happen every May.
And then SHE arrived. And everything changed.
June brought on fathers day, and the last time we were able to take my dad out to eat. But they did get to meet their first great grandchild.
July brought on the move of the great grandparents to a facility and the dreaded visit from the sisters. Having been criticized over anything I do, I was not looking forward to this. The move, and visits were challenges to get through. Of course there were the funny stories of having to change out mom’s bed to a smaller bed, and having to do it in the only rain storm to hit Southern California in about four years.
With someone to watch over mom and dad, we managed to make August a time to get away and see a son up in Seattle. It was wonderful to find time to reconnect and get to know his new girlfriend and her dog, plus be a little helpful with some home improvement projects. This naturally, did lead to the horrific story of the paint can exploding in the rented truck and trying to cover up the damage with more paint. We also were able to visit with some more relatives in Oregon.
The end of summer meant it was time to get back to work. Having lost some close friends in the last few years, I have made it a goal to find some new friends, and new activities that might broaden my life. One new friend got me to go out in search of the best coffee in town. I appreciate her efforts, as I know I am not one to simply pick up and start something new. This has been a real challenge for me the last couple of years. Life is changing, and trying to change with it, has not always been easy. The end of summer also brought along some time to just enjoy being with my granddaughter, even when she did not want to nap.
September brought great hope with news that my son had decided to get sober. Having dealt with this issue with him for 15 years, I am not new to this, but this came from his decision, although I am sure brought on by pressure of girlfriends and friends and us, but this was a good sign. I had hope again.
In October, getting sober meant that my son lost his job. He had a small job, and when he had to miss work to get sober, his boss fired him. I think there were other circumstances, but that was the way it turned out. It wasn’t a great job, but it was a job and now the worry about what he would do. However, the best part of losing his job, was that he now had time to come for a visit and to meet his niece. He is a lover of animals and babies, and I knew this baby would melt his heart. I also knew that my daughter wished for a closer relationship with her brother, and it was a time for them to reconnect.
I knew this day was coming. My daughter had talked about it forever. She wanted to move to Oregon. She, and her boyfriend, and her baby went up to look for jobs, and found one. November meant trying to spend special time with them before they moved. It was sad and happy. There is nothing most parents don’t wish for more than to see their kids happily living the life they want, and that made us very happy to see, but it also meant that the time with our granddaughter would be ending. We tried to make the most of what time we had: trips to the Zoo, the Wild Animal and the Farmers Market. She liked the pictures of the animals on the signs, more than the animals themselves, but it wasn’t about the animals. It was about time together. Little things, but they were wonderful moments in the year. It was time to sit back and truly be Thankful for all that had happened this year.
Now that the kids have moved on, it is time for us to clean up the clutter and get rid of the things the kids have left behind. This meant a trip down for the oldest son, to try and pick up a few things he had left behind, including a car shell that would be his project car. Since he has moved on, he has also found two other project cars, but this was his first one, and one he had dreamed of finishing. This did not go according to plan. The plan was to come down, enjoy Thanksgiving, and get things ready to take back. The first part of the plan was going along smoothly, and we even found time to enjoy a night out at a nice place. We should have known, however that plans were starting to go awry. We were hoping to eat out on the patio of the restaurant, when it started raining hard. The next morning they were off with the car shell in tow.
About ten hours later, after a long day of being stuck in East Los Angeles, they were back. They were minus one old wheel and tire, and plus one new wheel and tire. The car was not to be towed, and we realized it was time to let go of the past. The car went up for sale, and was sold in one day. However, getting the paperwork done has taken the rest of the month, and here it still sits, hopefully to be picked up in the new year.
December brought some wonderful news. My son that had gotten sober, and lost his job had a new and wonderful job. It was to be a job learning welding. It paid more money per hour than he had ever earned. It was what we called a real grown up job. It had really long hours, with decent pay, and health insurance, and retirement. It was a union job, with union protection from unreasonable requirements. They were willing to give him training. The first week, they told him he was too smart for this job, and decided to give him a new position learning to run the computers, and they gave him a raise. He said for the first time in his life, he felt that people had respect for what he was able to do. He came and got his car back, and got some new steel toed shoes, and was ready to start working.
Now it is time for us to start a new life. The kids are gone, and so is most of their stuff. We started some new things. My husband has started playing tennis and golf. We started doing some volunteer ushering at the Old Globe theater. This means that we also get to see the play for free. Our first play was How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We went for a walk at the nighttime Zoo event, enjoying a stop at the lovely indoor restaurant in the zoo.
It is time to start thinking about the future. I know my husband and I don’t see it the same way. As of yesterday, we have been married 43 years. How we step into this new part of our lives will be interesting. I know there will be changes. I am not sure what will happen next. It is time to bring on 2016 and see what happens. I somehow think it will be a crazy adventure.