This is it. The last post of 2015. Monumental? Nah. Not even to me and I'm one of those sappy milestone tracker types. This one is going to be pretty much only for me, because the last day of the year is always one of deep reflection, and tends to get pretty thick with the feelings. It's not comfortable for anyone, not even for me and I'm the one putting it all out there.
This has been a good year for some people, a shitty year for others. That's how it always goes, right? I doubt there has ever been a year that was great across the board. So some of us are spending this Thursday thanking their lucky stars or their God or whomever that it's almost over and they're still able to have a cohesive thought in their brains. Others wish it wouldn't end because life has been bountiful. Fortunes have been made, love happened, health and happiness overflowed in their cups and made beautiful messes on the floor. The dates are the same for all of us, though, regardless of happiness or sadness; fortunes good or poor. 2015 will end, forever, at the close of this day.
Every year I wonder how we'll make it, and so far, every year we have. Without fail.
I'm tired. So, so tired. Tired of the struggle to keep afloat, tired of being the only parent who truly parents my children, tired of putting out fires and tired of keeping fires lit. Tired of holding my hurt loved ones close when they're breaking, tired of wishing I had someone to do the same for me. Tired of being the only one who seems to understand how things like "dishwashers" and "light switches" work. So, so tired.
I'm so, so happy. Happy to have four healthy people who call me Mom. Happy to have a dog who greets me after a twenty-minute errand like it was twenty days. Happy to have friends who are always a phone call, text or message away. Happy that despite the inevitable agonizing on the first of the month, somehow the rent always gets paid and somehow, we have food to eat and clothes on our backs. Happy to be alive. So, so happy.
I have a job I love. I love it, but it doesn't pay me enough to support my family. And so I will enter 2016 with a tough choice to make. Do I suck it up and get a second job? Or do I try to find a better paying one? When I can't sleep at night, I play different scenarios in my head. In some of them I'm waitressing, snapping gum and channeling Flo from the old show Alice...telling people to kiss my grits and coming home with tired feet. In others I'm back on eBay, snapping pictures of thrift-store Eileen Fisher tunics in my living room and trying to come up with better descriptive terms than "artsy" and "flowing". And then there are the darker pictures, the ones where I'm packing up a house again, this time to a smaller space. A cheaper space. A different space.
To be honest with you, the only one of those I don't hate is the eBay one. And they kicked me off the site for filing bankruptcy so Houston, we have a problem.
I can't even discuss the whole RELATIONSHIP and SEX things of 2015. Okay, I can, but once again I am ending the year without a lovah situated next to me for the night. And that's fine! It really is. I haven't had a beau on New Year's Eve since my divorce. Walter has been here for the past seven of them and he's the perfect date as far as I'm concerned. Fuzzy socks and no bra? Shake them noisemakers loose, my friends. RING IT IN WITH STYLE!
I've slipped up a few times this year, as far as men and promises and goals are concerned. Last year I promised myself to know my worth but apparently there's still some confusion as to what that actually is. Some of my actions reflect a pretty low number as far as worth goes, and that's disappointing. A few times, though, I've made choices that prove I really am worth more. Worth more than booty calls and being second choice. Worth more than late night texts and sloppy, vodka-fueled dalliances. Worth so much more than feeling anything less than loved. And yet, despite all of this Stuart Smalley crap, I still find myself wishing and hoping for that text, for that little nudge, for a morsel or a crumb from one of them, one last motorboat ride in the deep dark night. I'm conflicted it seems, between wanting to get my freak on and not wanting to hate myself when I do. I want the intimacy without the strings but that's when I have to ask myself, "How's that working out for you?" Looks like the old self-worth still needs some work in 2016.
I didn't talk to my mom in 2015. Not once. The guilt is killing me but I haven't had a nightmare about my stepdad this year. Not once.
Another person I haven't spoken to, face-to-face, is my ex-husband. We have become skilled in the art of Parallel Parenting. Or perhaps we should be truthful and call it what it really is: Uneven Bar Parenting. 2016 will be the year he becomes a father for the sixth time. Let that sink in for a moment, friends who know the whole story:
The sixth time.
I don't care what the courts say, what the world says. Your kids may grow up but the parenting never ends. When they turn 18 they no longer get child support but they sure as hell still need all kinds of support, child or otherwise: love and time and conversations. Show me a self-sufficient 18 year old and I'll say "hi Doogie!" and then show you my kids. When I made the decision to have four of them I didn't do so thinking I would be the only consistent parent in their lives. I mean, who in their right mind would? But look at us go...another year down, two in college, one about to be in college and a high schooler who will still hang out with mom. Not too shabby.
As this year nods off for good, I will have all four of my baby birds back in the nest. One of those birds has struggled mightily this year and it's been tough on this old mom's heart to watch it happen. I don't write about it out of deference to that person but it's been hard. So, so hard. I wish, more than anything, that there was more I could do. Like I wrote on the facebook page for this blog, I just wish I had more. I'd give these kids my last cent, my last breath, my last piece of gum. Someday I will have more. I know it. Someday I'll be able to be there for them like they deserve. Someday I will make it all up to them, fill the gaps and patch up the holes in our little family quilt. It didn't happen in 2015...and I don't know how it could happen in 2016. Miracles still show up, right?
But hey! It was a good year, in many ways. Let's not get all Debbie Downer up in here. So much good happened. I'm thinking, just a minute.
Oh! Yes! I reconnected with my old timey BFF from high school. My soul sister Anne and I hugged again after many years of separation. We cackled like not a second had passed and called each other "Polly" like we used to (it's an old Joe Piscopo reference and like, three of you would get it). Thanks to a super kind and generous friend, we even got the chance to see the sweet little Ginger Gnome Ed Sheeran together:
The Force was Awakened and I got to see it with a very enthusiastic 15 year old:
I was in a REAL LIVE BOOK. And got paid for it! AND did I mention it's a real book, available on Amazon?:
I spent so much time with my good friends and took many selfies:
This shit happened on Halloween and it was awesome:
Speaking of getting paid to write, this happened too. I am getting real good at signing contracts ;)
These sexy little beasts showed up at the painting party on my birthday (and came to the restaurant with us afterward):
I got to see this Oddball Crush live again, and although he doesn't get me as tingly as he used to, boy is funny:
My bestie made this DIY kickass Pinteresty gift for me, out of wine corks. It's for the Golden Girls Porch of Love and it's amazing:
And I was able to buy this stuff at Costco, more than once:
My apologies for the self-congratulatory photo collection. I needed it and yes, of course I'm getting a little weepy thinking back on all the good that happened in 2015. Sometimes we need a few reminders, ya know?
I wish for all of you the same things I wish for everyone I love: peace in spades, love endlessly, laughs innumerable, good dreams realized and the eyesight and heartsight to acknowledge and embrace all of it.
Thank you, as always, for being here. You are the best things to have come from this blog and whenever I think, Gah this is so stupid. I'm going to quit writing and pull the whole thing offline someone will send me an email in the middle of the night that will make me cry and remind me of what it felt like to be standing in front of a future that is so scary and unknown. Not that I'm like the Joan of Arc for Divorced Ladies but it's so important that we keep reminding all of the newcomers they are not alone.
So here's to us, my dears. Here's to another year under our belt and a big, fat fresh slate before us. Time to hit Play again. Let's go!