Monday, December 31, 2012

What Was 12 For?

Hmm. "what Was 12 For" doesn't exactly have a nice ring to it. It doesn't fit with the meter of "What was 05 For". (What was oh five for?) I like to listen to this song and ask myself if the things that happened in my year were really all that extraordinary...... because yes, yes they were.

Before this year, I had really never traveled more than driving with my family to the nearest big city, either Chicago or St. Louis, or a couple times to see my sister-in-law in Branson. Before this year, I was pretty introverted and would never have considered actually meeting someone I had only met online. Before this year, I would have been hesitant to ask my husband to take care of my grandma for more than a day or so. (She has Alzheimer's, lives with us, and requires a lot of help.) Before this year, I would not have been able to afford to take off to Washington DC, or L.A. or London.

Many things were the same this year. I actually still am really introverted, but I took a risk and met some of the most amazing new friends. I'm still pretty broke and my family of four drivers share two shitty beaters. But luckily, I had two well-paying gigs at the end of '11 and the beginning of '12 which cushioned the blow a bit (and I had some student loan money to spend on these educational expenses, since I also started grad school).  I had a good year with Grandma (no major illness, surgeries, or setbacks of any kind). I learned my husband is an angel. Him caring for Gram and being supportive of me to do these things I want for myself has been such a joy.

I took three exciting trips and traveled in 2012! I went to The Reason Rally in Washington DC. I went to the filming of the finale of "Californication" in L.A. (What? I didn't write a blog post about that?)  I went to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Matilda" in England!!! Part of me has occasionally started to question whether I "deserve" to do this. I think some members of my family judge me for reasons I'm unsure of, but not wanting to ask. At the end of the year though, you know what? I DO deserve this. (And if I don't, then really that is just between me and my immediate family and no one  else's business.) I have spent my whole adult life raising children. I've not been perfect, but I have been dedicated to doing my best to raise boys with compassion, creativity, and critical minds. The past five years I have spent daily caring for Grandma, making her meals, helping her bathe, washing her hair, taking her to exercise in the pool, driving her to appointments, answering the same questions hundreds of times over with a cheerful tone, dealing with stress and sadness beyond description.

It's really not a matter of "deserving" a break or "deserving" fun. I don't like the implications there that people can "earn" happiness or that some are entitled to blessings and some are not. It doesn't have anything to do with deserving this amazing year, but I will say I am grateful and glad that I chose to do these amazing things. I made 2012 amazing for myself and I have no regrets. I'll close my eyes and drink champagne and reminisce.

"A year is like an elephant. You're not allowed to take one home." If I could take one home, this one would be it.


  1. I never understood that whole "deserve" thing. Based on what? And by whose authority? Amiright?? :-)

    Your post reminded me of "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver:

    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper?
    This grasshopper, I mean-
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
    I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

  2. My post isn't going to be as eloquent as Liza's. I agree, I don't like the term "deserve," however, I'm not sure what other word to use. Everyone should have things in their live that bring them joy and I'm so happy that you've given yourself permission to fully embrace what you find joy in. Otherwise, life becomes a series of "to do" lists.

    Yes, it's good to find joy in life every day, but having monumental life experiences to look forward to is also wonderfully exciting.

  3. Everyone "Deserves" to have happiness and great experiences. It's great you were able to make that happen this year. And I loved hearing about your experiences and enjoying them vicariously.

  4. Thanks for your comments. I love the poem, Liza. Jennifer, I'm happy that you are happy for me. And Rebecca, I'm so glad you come to read my blog and enjoy it! (Also, I think you should go to Matilda with us on April 4th.)