hope / smiles

New Years’ Eve was a bit domestic, a bit low-key, but all the same had that sort of festivity to it. This morning I made coffee, read a bit, practiced yoga (I swear this is keeping this body from shriveling into some kind of creepy Henson-like puppet), and then got down to this cycle’s bill-paying (our bills are paid… food and gas the next nine days is going to be rough though!). About this time the kids got up and ventured out in the cold wind and rain, along the harbor, to walk the dog. When they got home they were more than happy to eat a hearty breakfast – fresh-baked scones, eggs over easy, and cocoa from scratch with Hogaboom homemade marshmallows. “You’ve outdone yourself, mom,” my daughter purrs as she lays the table. “Thank you, mama!” my son warmly joins in. Are they polite and loving children or were they just hungry AF after their weatherbeaten walk? Who knows, not I, but take it from me, hungry kids are more fun to feed.

Running out the door in the afternoon to secure flu shots. Of the three of us, Phoenix handles her injection with the most aplomb – arm as limp as a lovely bit of palm frond, eyes calm, face serene. My turn, I have to breathe meditatively and turn my face away since I am quite fearful of needles. And Nels? (I have permission to tell you that) he attempts gravitas but instead dissolves into a five-alarm fear-factor crying episode, including long, drawn out cries of, “Maaaaamaaaa!” which I frankly think alarm the pharmacy tech. He cries and cries and needs to be on my lap and I can feel his entire body tense. I buy him chocolate after and soon the whole thing is a distant memory.

Off to get Thai takeout – $10 for a spicy salad to share. Home and sewing up a new shirt for my son; Ralph arrives home from work, I kiss him Hello, and we are off to an engagement with friends, celebrating a life in sobriety. Home again; Ralph puts dinner together and I take a hot shower to chase away the cold in my bones. The four of us off to friends for New Years games, beverages, and watching the ball drop in Times Square and the fireworks dazzle in Seattle. A few more (very modest) IRL fireworks and then a (very careful) drive home, past revelers and those stumbling down the streets looking horrible – that odd energy NYE brings.

The last part of this year has been hard for me at times. Harder than for anyone else in the family, I think. It was challenging enough it knocked some distraction into me. Regardless, I did not stray from my faith tradition, from my responsibilities to family and friends, from my Recovery, and from my unshakable foundation of joy. I am celebrating my third consecutive sober New Year – and my sixteenth with Ralph! – and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Friends and supporters are too many to name, here. I try to tell them “Thank you,” for every bit they contribute to my life, but I don’t always get the chance. May I take that time and take that moment, more often than not!

May your new year be one of growth, one of open-mindedness. May you learn to be there for yourself so that you do not have to abandon others – so you no longer speak with hatred, toss words carelessly, commit so-called “justified” harms against other sentient beings. May you find a few mentors you can be honest with – and whose advice you can take. May you be kind to your body, and not abuse or neglect it, or drive it into submission or form. May you learn Love and Tolerance for all peoples, including your own family and coworkers and community. May you spend a little less time on self-absorbed plans. May you learn from those who you find distasteful; may you come to love your enemies. May you find such joy in all you have that anything hard that comes along it’s like, “What can I learn? Who can I help?” and when good shit comes along it’s like, “Bonus!”

Thank you for being there for our 2013. I could not have made it without you.

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