2018 Year In Review
2018. As with all years, this year had great joy and great grief. We met James, who I love madly. Knowing him has made my heart balloon to an enormous size, just as knowing Molly has done. I have breathed deep and treasured every sniff of his head, every smile, every milestone. Every year of knowing my children is a year of joy, imagination, laughter and love.
I’m exhausted. Short on sleep, short on patience, physically falling apart. I’m now clearly pre-diabetic as well as having celiac and my relationship with food is more complex than ever. Many women have found that the world is hard on them postpartum, and I am no exception - smiling and nodding when people advise me to “take care of myself” when I choose daily between showering or eating lunch, painting (my sanity) or exercise, food for my family or treatments for my back and hip pain.
This year was ripe with anxiety and loneliness. Even on the other side of a traumatic pregnancy, I feel alienated and horrified by the experience. Sometimes at night I just lay there and think about how my body betrayed me, and about how fragile life is. I still can’t easily speak about all that happened. I am numb. I am deeply damaged. I am so relieved to be alive and so scared of coming that close to death again. I try to hide my anxiety when other women I love share that they are pregnant. I want to tell them that motherhood is beautiful. That it is hard. That it is perilous. But I hold my tongue and only share that it is beautiful, because we all know it is perilous, we just don’t talk about it.
My self confidence has both bloomed and shattered this year. Physically I am in many ways unwell. I need to lose weight for my health - to prevent full fledged diabetes, to ease my knee and back pain. I need to invest time in my wardrobe and in my daily personal routines so I leave the house feeling more confident in how I am presenting myself. But also, I have never cared less about any of that. My days are spent pouring my energy into two tiny people who love me even if I only wear rags, and they find my extra weight comfortable (even if I don’t). My husband didn’t notice that I had about 5 toddler hair bows in my hair when I left for the grocery store the other day, and I really believe he doesn’t see a difference between ponytail-and-no-makeup me and fancy me. Still, the weight is an issue that needs addressing and I have been working on it - mostly because life would be better with less hip pain and no diabetes.
Artistically, things have never been more inspiring or encouraging. So much of my grief and rage streamed through my fingertips into artwork this year. It’s like magic, turning all the worry and twisted thoughts and exhaustion into beauty and growth. If this year was a fire that I had to walk through, I came out the other side as a different artist and woman- more confident, more relaxed, more inspired. I love painting in oils, and I love watercolours, and knitting. Making makes me feel strong - more like myself, more patient, more thoughtful, more loving. One day I will have more hours to spend on it all, but for now I try to embrace the time and use it wisely.
I’ve never been more grateful for my family than I have been this year. In the behind-the-scenes, quiet way that he has, Jason proved himself to be a hero - giving 150% of his resources to help me through the year. Not many people would have proven themselves to be so exemplary and unselfish given what we faced and he did it with as much empathy and grace as I could ever have hoped for. Plus our many evenings playing board games together have kept the love of each others company alive when we would otherwise just fall exhausted into sleep like many other parents of kids under 5.
Our mothers also deserve a mention (or, like, a standing ovation?) for being patient, loving, showing up all the time to take care of the kids and share eyerolls with me over their heads when it’s all going to pieces like it does 10 times a day. Our kids love them sometimes more than they love me and I get it because they show up with better snacks and better craft ideas and read more stories than I do. Motherhood can be lonely but with Nana and Grandma around, my relationships with both women has grown and changed for the better - more shared stories, more shared laughter, and even sharing tears has helped ease the pains of everyday ups and downs. So thanks, 2018, for making me love these two women even more than I did before!
Finally Molly and James. I love them the max amount. Together and individually. I love the parts of them that came out of nowhere and the parts that remind me of other people I love. I was more prepared this time for the roller coaster of postpartum life but I worried how it would all come together and I have to say that it’s better than I imagined, now that the dust has settled. Molly couldn’t love James more and James adores her, grins every time he sees her and listens to all the crazy nonsense words she tells him like they are the best stories he has ever heard.
I don’t usually make resolutions for the new year, so I won’t. I will just give you a list of things I am excited about in 2019!
Watching James learn to walk and talk and eat more real food and laugh
Helping Molly learn to spell and draw and channel her imagination (and maybe more baking?!) and starting Kindergarten
I got aquafit lessons for Christmas and I am PUMPED!
Jason is leaving his IT Management position to become an IT consultant in the early new year and I am thrilled to support him however I can during that totally exciting leap!
More painting and skill development and practice. More portraiture, more trying hard new stuff, more stretching my limits! Plus a bunch of commissions already lined up!
Teaching at Needlework again - my home away from home and always a place that leaves me recharged and happy (even when I am working!)
I hope 2019 continues to inspire, heal and grow with me (and you!). Thanks for following along all year, I will see you all in 2019!