Hey, first of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you saw in 2015 in the manner you most enjoy, be that booze or sleep or watching Crank for the 5,000th time. For that matter, I hope I did, too, but, as this is a scheduled post, I'll have to get back to you and let you know!
Right, where were we?
Oh, yes: words of the year.
When I first came across blog posts about "words of the year", four or five years ago now, I was sceptical. They seemed a bit naff, a bit twee, a bit too inspirational quote-ish for my liking. How were you supposed to summarise twelve whole months - twelve whole months which were still almost completely unknown to you - in one word? And why would you even want to? What on earth was the point?!
But last year I changed my mind.
It was a spur of the moment decision. I had just been through the most harrowing night of my life; I was home from the hospital, in a great deal of pain, utterly distraught and all I wanted to do was hide under a thick, warm blanket somewhere and have Steve hold me and keep me safe. Which is what we did.
A couple of days later, I went to TK Maxx and bought new, squishy pillows to make the hiding easier. If I was going to be miserable, I wanted to be miserable and comfortable. If I was going to have a tough time getting on with my life, I wanted a cosy bed to which to retreat at the end of the day.
My word of the year came to me easily: it was comfort. It was what I needed.
And I found that having that word to focus on was helpful. 2014 continued to dish out the blows, not just to us but to a lot of the people we care about. When I didn't know what else to do, I could remind myself that I needed to take care of myself and treat myself and keep myself warm and rested; I could remind myself to do the same for my friends.
So this year I thought I would come up with a word again.
But this year has proved harder. How do I condense pregnancy and birth and becoming a mother and Steve becoming a father and the inevitable impact on our home life and our relationship and the (temporary) loss of my career and the tightened budget and the other things which I can't yet predict down into just one word? It's so much. It's huge. And it's utterly unpredictable.
So I thought about proportions. I thought about focusing on how tiny the baby will be and how fleeting each remarkable moment will be and how brief this period of our lives will be. I thought about something to do with small scales - "minute" or "pause" or even just "small".
But not everything will be small. Some of the changes are enormous.
So: "treasure" or "cherish"?
But those words are not me. And those words don't allow for ragged crying fits when the child won't sleep or feed. They don't allow for any loneliness or tension or feelings of hopelessness. They are a Disney princess version of parenthood and they don't feel real.
I toyed for a long time with "acceptance". Accepting the difficult times. Accepting the hiatus from my real life. Accepting that all I can do is ride out the tough bits.
But it seemed a bit... pessimistic.
So finally, finally, I have settled on growth.
Growth allows for the changes in me as a person; the changes in Steve as a person. Growth allows for our child's development from newborn to little individual. Growth allows for my ever expanding waistline. Growth allows for me to make decisions about my career or our finances but without putting any obligations onto me to do so. Growth doesn't rule out difficulties but it also doesn't downplay the good stuff. Growth states simply that, twelve months from now, our lives will not be the same.
What about you? Have you chosen a word for 2015?
Hi! I'm a 30-something stay-at-home feminist mother-of-one. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland with my toddler, boyfriend and two black cats.