My social media feed is currently peppered with posts about how terrible 2016 was, from the hit parade of celebrity deaths (NOT CARRIE FISHER…DO NOT WAAAAAANT) to the ongoing carnage in Syria to terror attacks seemingly every other week to the election that demonstrated a collective loss of sanity and empathy in this country (on both sides). And it’s easy for me to get caught up in the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year rhetoric, except this was also the year I became a mom, which is something I’ve wanted since I was 16 and something I’ve arguably wanted even more than the magic evangelical prize of marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the extremely opposite emotions I’ve felt this year…or, hell, that I feel in one day. (Oh, he’s so cute I could just die…PLEASE GO TO SLEEP OR I’M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND.)
The corollary to the 2016-sucks meme is that now it’s time to grab 2017 by the…er, too soon? I mean…time for a fresh start with the new year. Which makes me laugh a little because tiny humans don’t respect calendars, and the reality of being a cray-at-home mom is that January 1 will be little different from December 31, except my baby will be one day older, a little taller, a little heavier but a little less chubby, a little closer to being independent. Maybe he’ll learn a new trick, like the day last week when he randomly pulled himself up to standing, or maybe he’ll revert to old habits like not sleeping. (Please, baby, no.)
Life doesn’t fit neatly into the calendars we’ve imposed on it. My first date with Science Guy was on Friday the 13th. Our wedding was on the not-numerically-memorable date of 6/27/15. I tried so hard to birth a Star Wars baby on May the 4th and my damn fool cervix gave me Cinco de Mayo, which I guess is not the worst thing ever, but Star Wars day would have been awesome. January 1 will be just another day this year. (Preferably one that doesn’t start at 6am, but we’ll see.)
The upshot of this is that there’s no need to wait for certain magic days to start making life happen. While every day may seem much the same for me right now, we are nonetheless adding moments and memories, both good and bad, to our family history every day. And that’s all we can do, but I mean all in an inclusive, expansive sense, not a limiting one. We talk a lot in my church about not waiting to go to the kingdom of God “someday,” but rather living as though the kingdom of God is truly at hand, bringing heaven’s mercy and justice and peace and joy and faith and hope and love here and now. I don’t have to wait until January 1 to start working toward my goals, but nor am I obligated to hustle my bustle extra hard starting that day either. I’m actually rather enjoying this period of not doing much besides choosing some corner of the condo for organizational beast-o-tron to attack every day. (And keeping a tiny mammal alive and all that.) I’ll probably set some goals for the new year, but maybe for this season they’ll be goals of being rather than achieving or doing. Or maybe not.
Thank you, 2016. Thank you for what you taught us about ourselves and each other. Thank you for what you gave and what you took. Thank you for all the firsts and all the lasts. Thank you for beginning and thank you for ending. Go in peace. (But really, did you HAVE to take Carrie Fisher with you, damnit?!)