Reflections At The End Of A Year

It feels like not much has happened in 2019. I'm still at home with the kids; Steve is still in the same job; the preschooler is still a preschooler and the toddler is still a toddler; we still live right here with the same cats and neighbours and leaky shed roof.

It feels like 2019 zipped past, with nothing changing, in a blur of park trips and ballet skirts and snack packets and CBeebies.

But when I look back at January, we are not in the same place we were.

In January, I was watching people I care about go through cancer treatment whilst waiting to find out whether I had a genetic marker for breast cancer. I was facing questions about how much life was left to me and what an early death would mean for my kids and how I would feel about losing a breast and whether my daughters had inherited the same situation for their own futures.

In January, I was (we were) waiting for my (our) youngest child to have allergy testing following a massive, mysterious reaction and a trip to A&E. Everything she ate had to be logged in a colour coded spreadsheet; every ingredients list had to be analysed; her diet was restricted and I couldn't shake the feeling that her life was difficult and unfair.

In January, I was (we were) making the decision to take my (our) eldest child out of school nursery. She didn't feel safe there and the staff confirmed that that was an accurate assessment - and gave us a few additional reasons to withdraw her while they were at it. I went round and round whether it was the right decision, what it would mean for her future experiences of education, whether those people who felt she just needed to "toughen up" were right. Meanwhile, she wouldn't be away from me for even a moment and I was in a place where I needed solitude to think.

I was stressed. I was anxious. I was suffocated. I was afraid.

January was not a good time in my life. I was struggling to cope.

But it seems like forever ago now. Those things are resolved. I don't have a genetic marker; my youngest is allergic to eggs and nothing else that's obvious; my eldest is thriving in a new nursery and skips off to classes by herself without a moment's hesitation.

We are in a place of calm.

2020 is going to be a big year for us. My eldest will start school. My youngest will have her inductions for nursery. I will have to figure out what I do with myself - and how I earn some much needed money - when I don't have two small people by my side, every moment of every weekday.

But those things don't scare me. They're there in the future. There will be questions that I will agonise over, but I feel confident we'll muddle through it all in the end. Those things are going to happen and I'm okay with that (bar a bit of weeping that my babies are practically leaving home already).

I'm going into this year slowly and letting life unfurl around me, with no big goals or promises or strategies or fears.

Winter doesn't feel like the time to be making changes - that can wait for spring and summer. Winter is the time to cosy up with the people I care about, drink something warm, read something sweet, play a few games, and appreciate this tiny quiet period between the stresses of a year ago and the routines of the school years to come.

While you're here: I like to write rambly posts about new year being a bad time to make big commitments. Here are some more of them.