Let me begin by saying that Wife and I successfully hosted the Akande Christmas celebration! It was a Christmas miracle! Find out how this miracle came to pass here.
So here we are at the start of a new year. Welcome 2014! A New Year always seems like a good time to take stock and look back on the year that was. Some people do it in a holiday greeting card which often feels like is a not-so-subtle way of people saying “Look how great we are. Look at all the amazing things we accomplished!” Huffington Post published a post from a mom blogger titled The Holiday Card Nobody Ever Sends.* I liked her brutal honesty as she reflected on the year that her family had so I was inspired to write my own version for my family.
Silverman-Akande 2013 Holiday Card
What a busy year it has been (Have you ever noticed that people always start their Holiday “newsletters” this way? Like busy is the exception. Whose life isn’t busy?)! We started the year off by celebrating Wife and Z’s birthday. Our big 6 year old lost his first teeth while the littles finally reached the end of the teething phase. The girls graduated from nursery school and excitedly started JK. In the summer we took our first family road trip to Ottawa to see Wife’s family where the kids loved being spoiled by Bubbie and Zaidie. The girls went to the symphony with Nanny for the first time and Z was treated to The Wizard of Oz. There were dance shows and musical theatre performances and theme birthday parties and themed Halloween costumes and lots of backyard bbqs with friends. There were daily trips to the park in the summer and baths in the backyard. There were new friends and new two-wheeled bikes and our first trips to a restaurant as a family.
There were late night giggles with three big kids in their newly decorated room and nightly concerts for the little ones. Z started to read chapter books and O and Z started writing their names. F and L got out of diapers and learned to do almost everything themselves. We lit candles for Shabbat and hunted for money filled eggs at Easter. Wife got a leadership position at work and I started writing a blog. We hosted a kick-ass Christmas dinner!
All of this is true. We sound pretty happy and pretty together. But here are some more truths.
We were late for school almost every single day. Before arriving at school late, I yelled at the kids. Every. Single. Day. I took about 307 trips to a certain big box store that I am ashamed to say I frequent, to purchase many different versions of crap! We found out that Miss O has high-functioning autism and that nobody believes that diagnosis because look, she’s perfect (except when she’s not). We sent O and G to two different schools, separating them for the first time ever. I cried watching that relationship change. We realized that F is fiercely independent and has a frightening affinity for the middle of the road. We realized that we had to put her on a leash. I mean a cute fuzzy owl backpack that has a strap attached for responsible grown-up (or Z who sometimes subs in) to hold onto.
We realized that L has severe anaphylactic allergies and after a scary ambulance ride to the hospital and being pumped full of drugs he bounces back really quickly behaving like even wilder two year old (Think Animal from the Muppets).
I realized that F and L may never stop nursing even though they complain sometimes that their “milky” (my breasts) aren’t working. We discovered that my postpartum depression is now full-on depression and that my psychiatrist totally doesn’t get my sense of humour (Can’t a girl be depressed and still crack a joke?). We discovered that Zeke feels sad sometimes because he doesn’t have a twin and that Wife is better than I am at empathizing with him. I called my mom every day to declare that I’m done with this stay-at-home mom thing. People who don’t know me told me I was a super mom. We were invited fewer places as a family but friends so happily and lovingly brought the party to us. Our kids were loved by other special people who only have to love them and don’t have to raise them.
Wife and I ate an embarrassing amount of takeout and drank a questionable amount of wine. We argued loudly, even in front of the kids but we also made up in front of them as well as privately. The kids had tantrums. So did we. We were loud and silly. We overreacted and cried. We danced and sang and laughed. A lot. We did things we never thought we’d do, like let the TV babysit our kids (thank you Netflix) and let the kids play in dirt (this was a hard one for me). We got older. We figured some things out and struggled with more. Things got not quite easier, but certainly different. We had a really great, exhausting, hard year. For 2014? May I make different mistakes because I’ve hopefully learned from my mistakes of 2013. Every day (and year) is fresh with no mistakes in it*. Yet. That’s all I got.
Happy New Year!
* Written by Jen Stringer
*A favourite quote from Anne Of Green Gables.