Out of the clear blue yonder, it has become June. Six months into this year. Perspective on life this year tells me that I can slow it down if I want. Also, every year has its own set of challenges and wonders.
This year in the first six months I felt challenged by Missy and Work (capital W for that one too!) Missy is four, soon to be five. She has been till this past year the sweetest, kindest little thing. We would talk and cuddle and share and she was just my girl. In the past year, she has slowly been taking the reins in her life. I cannot fault her for that but it has left me feeling a wide range of emotions. Mostly anger because she never ever wants to do as she is told to do where before she was always an amazing listener and great with bedtime and mostly no trouble at all. I am not talking about listening when it comes to big things, I am talking about the brushing of teeth or the putting on of pajamas as well as the do not walk off the side of that building or you will die kind of things (no for real that is a real statement that I actually uttered at one point this year to her...) Every age has its challenges, I do know that, it will never be "easy" this parenting gig. There has been no "easy" time but for me this year, this age with Missy has been rough. I think in part I am mourning the loss of the wee little girl whom I was so close to and that is a little bit sad. She is still amazing and great do not get me wrong but she is a changing that one and it is hard.
Work. I am not going into detail on that subject. It is my own unique challenge. It is a balancing act that after almost ten years I am working hard to perfect. I know two things. I am grateful for my job and I am glad I never quit my job to be a stay at home mom which I know I whined about on here for several years when the kids were little. Without my job I would not be in the position we are in to finish paying our house off early and we would not get to enjoy the things we do without me being a working gal! I love my life as it is right now and I just need to keep on the balance beam and if I fall off? I will get right back on again and again as I have over the years.
The wonders far outweigh the challenges. Being so sick last year and struggling with running injuries this year have changed my perspective. I will run again and I will be better than before but for now I need to be calm, stay in shape, and work hard to get healthy overall. I think the wonder for me is in line with being calm and accepting happiness for what it is. Fleeting at times but always there if I just reach out to get it.
In the first six months of this year, I had the opportunity to travel solo with my friend, Annie, to run a terrific half marathon in Cincinnati. We had a ball. It motivated me to do something like that every year if possible even if it is only for 24 hours! We had the outstanding opportunity to take the kids on our longest road trip to date to Myrtle Beach SC. The kids fell in love with the ocean and we had a fab time! We had the most amazing family trip to St. Louis this past week! I could not ask for a better family experience, something worth repeating in the future.
K and I have paid our house down to almost nothing with two huge payments on our mortgage this year! We can likely pay the remainder of our mortgage off in three years if we just stick to paying the regular payments but we will not and I think by 2014 we will only be paying taxes/insurance on it!!! We would like to remove that burden as quickly as possible freeing up that money to invest in our early retirement plans.
We have the most amazing garden - this includes trees and flowers - growing this year. All of the work we have done on the yard is paying off in spades and we can finally enjoy that! We ate lettuce from our garden for dinner last night and it was delish! We have been loving our new deck from last summer and the fact that we can now walk right out the door to enjoy dinner is superb! We had the floors redone in the main living space with the carpets in the bedrooms to follow shortly. And we had a friend of ours paint the remainder of our house - the stuff we did not get to last year and it looks great at long last! Of course there are 20 more projects to do now that we have done these things but that is okay. I used to think making my home a show case was important now I am just enjoying the projects for what they are. K is going to start on the patio again in part to finish up what he did not get to last summer and he is planning to pull up the stones to make a fire pit and seating area!
M Bug excelled in school this year again. His final report card and the end of the year national testing was beyond my wildest imaginings for him. His teacher sung high praises about him all year long and we feel blessed for the school he is in and all of those involved with him there. He hit the ball out of the park when it comes to school work and his commitment to doing well both socially and educationally. He did this all while juggling his first major sport commitments in soccer and hockey. He did amazingly well in hockey and he loves it so much he is going back for more with his Daddy as the head coach for 2013-2014. A huge commitment for us as a family overall but I am excited for both K and M Bug to explore hockey together!
We have had the joy of having Bolt in our lives this year. There are moments where I still feel the intense sadness and loss for Santana but I know that Bolt was delivered to us to help with that sadness and I feel blessed to have him in our home.
We had the chance to enjoy and get to know old friends better and to make new ones. I am not a hugely social person but I am enjoying that we have been in our community here for almost a decade and I have finally found a sense of community for our family and myself. I have always sung the praises of our neighborhood. It is the perfect place for our family. It is a working class normal not over the top place with kind-hearted loving people. There is no better village than that I have found and sure we could have bought a more expensive home in a fancier place but this is the best place for us now and for a long old time.
K and I find it is important to balance what we have and what others do not. We tend to give a lot of our earnings to charity. Over the years that has changed and our focus this year was to our children's school. An amazing place to be sure. As I mentioned before M Bug can be a star there because it is not the top tier school in our community but he sure as heck has top tier teachers that we have loved to pieces. We had the chance last year to give money to the music teacher who needed some instruments - the company we work for paid for those out right and directly to M Bug's grade one teacher. This year both K and I and our company invested a large chunk of money to kick start the eReader program at the school. It is exciting beyond words to give that opportunity to kids who may not have an outright chance to use an eReader and to become computer literate in an increasing computer literate world.
I should especially mention how lucky we have been with childcare for Missy especially. I feel like we struck it rich with Ashley, the nanny we hired before Missa was born. For two and a half years she took care of Missa like she was her own. I was left wondering what to do when Ashley got pregnant and we knew she would go take care of her own baby. The fact that we had a enough of a community of friends to find someone who took Missa into her own home like she was her own daughter has been spectacular. Missy will start school this fall and I know it will be sad to "say good-bye" to someone whom we all adore.
I find myself in wonder of the our daily lives. I feel blessed for our lives and our health and for those around us who take care of us and whom we have a chance to take care of. So that even when I am feeling stressed out or seemingly endlessly tired I know how truly lucky we are. In the first half of the year, I have enjoyed so much. I have found that if I focus just on the moment and live fully in gratitude I am a better happier person. It is hard to do this. I have allowed myself to fall down the rabbit hole of depression and anxiety a lot the past year or so because of work especially. It took a huge pull on my bootstraps to get myself to this point today. I imagine there will be a constant bootstrap pull in the years to come but today I am honoring the fact that I feel blessed and happy and lucky and grateful for those around me and who surround me with love and kindness.