This year has been filled with a lot of negativity here - the problems with the van on our trip north, Rich not get assigned classes and money being tight, the engine blowing this November, the sprain in my foot just in time for the holidays. Since so many of these things have happened in the second half of the year, it's been hard for me to remember that the year hasn't been all bad. But really, it hasn't. And I'm not just talking about the usual good things of having a roof over our heads, food on our table and being together. There's been so much more.
It's been a year and a half now of Rich being cancer free. I still remember the fear last year when we found out that he had colon cancer. The worries as he went through surgery. Would they get it all? Would it reappear somewhere else? How badly will the surgery effect him for the future? And yes, some of those worries are still there. We both know that there's a possibility of the cancer returning in the future. And there have been some changes that we've had to make since his surgery. But the important thing is that for 18 months, cancer has been out of his body. And that's enough reason for anyone to celebrate.
This summer, we were able to take the first long vacation as a family since both boys were born. Yes, there were problems with the van. But the time we spent with family and friends was priceless. We'll always have the memories of the week at the beach with Rich's family, watching the cousins play together and getting a chance to chat with other family members. I'll always be able to rewind the video in my mind of my boys playing miniature golf with their Pop. I still feel the hugs and love from stopping to see my heart-family, Dave and Barb. I will always remember the peace of visiting with my mother and sister and watching my boys play with my sister's kids while remembering the fun I had with my own cousins as a child. It was a summer that I won't forget.
This year, we were able to leave diapers behind. It was sometimes difficult, trying to get Pete to use the potty, especially in the beginning. He just preferred pull-ups. But sometime after PDO was over, something clicked with him and it was all potty, all the time. Of course he still has occasional accidents. He's four. But 99% of the time, he is dry. Of course, 99% of the time, he also doesn't want to wear clothes, which makes the problem moot. But he's making steps in the right direction.
In May, I was able to watch my son say good-bye to Kindergarten, then watch him say hello to First Grade in August. I watched him receive an award for his reading at the end of the school year, and watched him surprise his first grade teacher with how well he could read. I watched him deal with a bully in kindergarten and not let it break him, and I watched him gain a lot of good friends in first grade. Every day, he impresses me, his dad and his teacher with his brains. And just as often, he impresses us with his heart. I've watched him become a great six year old and that's something else that I could never replace in my mind.
And Pete... along with his success at potty training, I've gotten to watch him become the little clown that he is. His sense of humor is something that I swear I'm going to get on video one of these days. He is growing so quickly, showing how smart he is and how different from his brother he is. He's still small enough that he can snuggle with me on the couch (especially right now when I can't do much more than snuggle on the couch) and that fills my heart with joy. He's my little scientist, my super hero with his enemy invisible man and my imaginative child. He's part of what's made the year great.
One of the best things of the year was watching my dad regain himself. For so long, he'd been in pain. There was so little that he could do - physically and mentally. But he was able to let go of baggage, have his back repaired and lose a lot of weight. And now he's doing so much. He's even dating again, and I couldn't be happier for him. My relationship with my dad has always been strong, and I'm still a Daddy's girl. (I doubt that's something that will ever change.) But I feel even closer to my dad now, somehow. I've been able to spend more time with him, able to see him more (both at my house and at his) and I'm continuing to make memories with him just as much as I'm making memories with my own children. The best is that I'm able to let him continue to make memories with his own grandsons. I can't regret that.
I've made a lot of positive changes in my life as well. I'm continuing to lose weight. Slowly, yes. But I've lost over 35 pounds since I was at my heaviest a few years ago. And I'm noticing the difference not only in my clothes but in my ability to do things. I don't hurt as much as I used to. I don't feel as tired as often. And I'm heading in the right direction. I'm also starting to figure out how to keep on top of the things that I need to do around the house. For awhile, my house was a disaster. There was a time when we were being threatened with non-renewal of our apartment because of the state it was in. But now I'm able to keep things clean and I'm even working through my clutter. This moment in time, when I can't do as much as I was because of the sprain, is a momentary set-back. I've internalized what I need to know to get back on track. And that's what is important.
So I may often say that 2012 sucked. It's been a year when one thing after another has gone wrong. But I can also remember the things that have gone right, the things that, when I remember them, will fill me with a sense of pride and love, that will make me smile when I remember them. Like every other year, 2012 has had it's good and it's bad. But I want to try to remember the good as I step from 2012 into 2013.