Well I rang in the new year at the Grand Canyon, on an epic road trip across the US with my daughter, my mom, and my cat… so you know 2017 is gearing up to be an interesting one! As for 2016, well, it was a year of goodbyes, a year of endings. Thankfully I cannot see the future, for it was the year I’ve been dreading almost my entire life. I lost the rocks in my life, my grandparents, and along with them my childhood officially ended. I said goodbye to one of my soul mates, my grandma. Then I left my home and my job of 9 years to chase a dream. I went to Nepal on my own with a 3-year-old, as well as to Niagara Falls, Tennessee, and San Francisco. I had heart-changing adventures. I found and lost love in one breath. I held death in my arms. I cried more than I have since 2012, when I lost my baby. I lost faith in the goodness of my countrymen when the US voted in a bigoted, self-centered fascist. 2016 was one for the record books, for it was a year that changed me essentially, and also quite possibly changed the world forever.
So here’s this little survey borrowed once again from By the Brooke
1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Solo globe-crossing by airplane with a preschooler, Nepal as a parent, lost one of my “parents” to death, grew brussels sprouts in my garden, arranged a funeral and created music videos for both grandparents’ lives.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Looking back to last year’s post
, I actually had some great goals. I kept up with cooking more at home, making lots of new dishes as well as some old favorites, I played more with M, traveled more, and went back to Nepal, all last year’s goals. I didn’t play the piano much more (but more than 2015 since I played something at both my grandpa’s and grandma’s funerals). I wouldn’t say that I read more in front of M, so that was a fail, but we did read more together, so that was a success!
I made no progress on the money front.
Goals for 2017:
-Be successful at being a travel nurse, because I’m absolutely terrified right now of what I’m walking into- I’ve only ever worked at one place!
-Be more patient and understanding with my daughter… (my ongoing daily/monthly/forever goal)
-Pay off some debt, be it my car or credit cards or anything!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my best friends had her 2nd son in the spring.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Both of my grandparents, who (along with my mom and daughter) were the most important people in my life. It was the year I always dreaded. My soul was like a three-pronged chair, the three legs being my mom, my daughter, and my grandma. And now I’m without that 3rd leg. I’m wobbly and doing all I can to stay upright.
Also, my cat of 16 years, Cleo.
5. What countries did you visit?
Canada and Nepal, also Hong Kong for a minute, and cities in the US: San Francisco, Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Albequerque, and Flagstaff.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Less death. More financial security. Love.
7. What dates from 2016 will remained etched upon your memory?
February 15, 2016- my grandfather passed away in his own bedroom at home. July 17, 2016 at 5:30 am, my grandma took her last breath in this world, in my arms.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Both of my grandparents died peacefully and naturally, under the care of hospice, surrounded by loved ones, without pain, after living out their old age in their own home. It was the greatest gift I could give them, and the only way I could repay them for the ways in which they saved me and devoted themselves to me my entire life.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Money. I cut back in so many ways, but I just couldn’t seem to make it work financially.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was in a motorcycle accident for the first time ever, but thank god our injuries were very minor. I had a stomach bug twice during the year, but M did not catch it either time.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Christmas presents to make my little one super happy, a mermaid doll that thrilled her to death for months, a hotel room in Nagarkot, Nepal, and tuition for a Montessori class that my daughter thrived in.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom’s cousins, one of whom came to help while my grandpa was in hospice and then again to visit my grandma, and then again for my grandma’s funeral, and the other who stayed home with M the night my grandma passed, so that my mom and I could both be with her. My mom, for caring for my grandparents tirelessly, for my daughter, and even for me. Then cleaning out her parents’ house without any of my help because I couldn’t face it. Then willingly going on this crazy travel nurse adventure with me.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Everyone who voted for that wretched, awful man we now have to call president. And everyone who did not vote at all.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, child care/preschool, groceries, and gas.
15. What did you get really excited about?
All of our travels.
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
“Last of Days” by A Fine Frenzy, which was the closing song on my grandma’s memorial video.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? sadder, immensely.
– thinner or fatter? unfortunately, the same. fortunately, not fatter, but fatter than two years ago for sure.
– richer or poorer? Poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercise and ate better.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Yelling and acting out at M during times of frustration.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas morning with my mom and M, and then taking M to a movie.
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Uuuggghhhh. Was open to it, but it fell flat on its face.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I didn’t hate Trump last year, I didn’t know much about him or care about him. So yes.
24. What was the best book you read?
My favorite was Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove, because those killer whales just really got to me. Also, The Book of Night Women by Marlon James was truly excellent historical feminist fiction that I can’t believe I didn’t discover sooner. Honorable mentions to Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (excellent slavery historical fiction) and Under a Painted Sky (very entertaining California Gold Rush feminist historical fiction).
25. What was your favorite musical discovery?
Um yeah I don’t really discover music anymore.
26. What did you want and get?
My daughter to be healthy and happy, my grandparents to have a natural and peaceful end to their lives (as opposed to in an ICU hooked up to tubes and machines).
27. What did you want and not get?
Hillary Clinton for president.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t watch many movies. But I finally saw Blackfish and OMG. Moana was an excellent Disney movie.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32, and I believe there were Fourth of July fireworks over the lake that night. It was the last birthday I’d ever have with my grandma alive. My New Hampshire family was in town and my mom made my rhubarb pie (my grandma always used to make it) and M helped me blow out the candles.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying [besides your first baby being alive]?
Being able to pay bills and have money left over. I’m not going to say not having my grandparents die, because that’s obvious but also, everyone dies. I know it was their time.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
I couldn’t even say what a personal fashion concept is at this point.
32. What kept you sane?
Wine. SNL skits. Hilarious political tweets.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I liked Hillary Clinton an awful lot. And the Obamas.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Well, the election, and the great divide between the Left and the Right here in the US.
35. Who did you miss?
2016 will leave me forever missing my grandparents. I also missed friends who live far away.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
New friend I met through work (co-worker) who is also a lesbian single adoptive mom (well she’s not single, but her current girlfriend is not the mother of her daughter).
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Don’t take time with your loved ones for granted.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” by ???
“Be the girl that went for it.”