We’re now well into January and I’m just getting around to my reflections on last year. While I’m always excited to welcome the new, last year was so profound I wanted to soak it all in for a bit.
If you’ve been following along this past year I made a list of 25 things I’d like to do in 2012. I found out I was pregnant with my second child four days before that post ran on Kveller. I wasn’t sure if I was being overly ambitious with my list given I was dry heaving into the trash can every time I tried to feed my toddler, but I’m so happy I stuck with it. I’m so happy I worked on me last year.
The things on that list that I pushed myself to do, I can honestly say made me a happier, more fulfilled, and better person. Our family motto is “living an intentional life” and I felt like even by doing something as simple as growing out my hair–I was living intentionally.
I grappled emotionally with a high risk pregnancy but forced myself to live in the moment and embrace the kind of optimism I saw every day in my growing toddler. I practiced prenatal yoga, read a very popular series of dirty books that left me thoroughly unimpressed, and painted on entirely too much eyeliner just to have coffee with my mom-friends.
I successfully carried a baby to term, birthed him with an inner strength and determination I didn’t even know I had, and found a familiar groove in parenting a newborn while my relationship with my toddler felt more like stumbling through a dark room with Legos on the floor. Last year was about seeing the world through the eyes of a 2-year-old, letting myself breathe in my fears in order to breathe out strength and taking in our changing family dynamic day by day.
Those were the big things.
The most profound small thing that I did last year was learn to sew. My first day of class, when the instructor sped through threading the machine, I almost quit. I was tired, pregnant, and impatient but I stuck with it. I made a pillow and from that experience I taught myself to sew, while albeit at a very amateur level. Then learning to sew turned into paying it forward because I made things with love, for people I love. And one simple intention turned into baby gifts for seven of my expectant friends.
Paying it forward came back to me two-fold when my son was born. Our friends near and far made sure my family was fed for an entire month. Each meal we ate that was sent, packaged, or prepared by friends we commented aloud about how much it meant to us.
Last year came full circle for me and my family. Joy was abundant and boundless. And even as I write this piece reflecting on it, I cannot quite understand how I got here. What I did to deserve this wonderful life.
So my intentions for this year, for 2013, are to give more of myself to others. To continue to pay it forward, to sew, to cook meals, to call, to write, to share. I’ll seek joy in my daily life no matter how small and hold on to those moments to carry me through the hard times.
But while last year was joyous for me, it was devastating for others. Mothers lost children in unimaginable ways. To animals, in school, on a bus in India. And while I’ve written about how helpless I felt in those moments the only action that feels intentional is to pray.
So this year, above all other resolutions, I will pray for women I have never met. I will pray for Elizabeth Derkosh, Veronique Pozner , Mrs. Badri Nath Singh, and any other mother who needs to be lifted up. I will pray for them, by name.
2012 was unforgettable for so many reasons. I’m excited to pray, live mindfully, and choose joy in 2013.