Wow, 2011 is over. Does anyone else remember the turn of the millennium like it was yesterday? Not to mention the 1990s? Wow.
While I was putting the Small Human to bed, I was reflecting a bit on 2011. Reflection time feels like a luxury to me these days, since when T is awake I'm chasing him down, and when he's asleep, I'm chasing down everything else that needs to get done. So, I did some reflecting, but only a little, and this is what I thought about.
In 2011, I didn't do all of the reading that I would have liked to have done. I have stacks of books that I finally resigned myself to not reading and moved them from my nightstand and coffee table to a bookshelf. I don't have a son who loves to be read to (he does, however, turn pages very proficiently and rapidly). I didn't read a chapter a day of Proverbs like I'd hoped. I didn't get in shape, even a tiny bit, despite a multitude of resources at my disposal. I didn't do the cool bike trail ride that I wanted to do with the family and, in fact, I only got Titus into our new bike trailer a few times. I failed miserably at tracking expenses and staying within budget. I often went to bed at night with a festering sink full of dirty dishes and was frustrated in the morning when my husband didn't do the dishes for me. I did manage to eliminate a few problem spots of long-term clutter, but it seems like 10 more have popped up in their place.
I did, however, learn to love being a mom. I've always hated being boxed in, but I learned to love the simple joy of a predictable routine, especially for a small one. I bought a pair of slippers so the constant crumbs on the floor wouldn't bother me so much. I delighted in watching Titus grow to love our dogs, whether he was feeding them Cheerios, grabbing at their leashes on a walk or just walking up and burying his head in their side. I am constantly amazed at how much I enjoy his smile, and I well up with gratitude that God has granted us the life circumstances to provide a child with love, stability, security and safety.
I did more sewing in 2011 than I had probably done since junior high, and I plan to do even more in 2012. I learned how to make a pretty decent latte, and I learned to work around my son's schedule and still have a social life by having friends over for coffee. I enjoyed growing deeper in several friendships, reconnecting in a few older friendships and even making new friends. One of my greatest weaknesses is relationships, and I am grateful that God gives me friends who don't give up on me, friends who teach me how to be a friend, and opportunities to be a friend to others. 2011 was a year in which God grew my heart for relationships, both within my family and without. I still have a long ways to go.
I explored gluten-free baking. I did read a couple of good books. I finally learned some of the strategy of the game of Scrabble and went from getting annihilated in "Words With Friends" to pretty much holding my own. I enjoyed the benefits of accountability and community in an inductive study of Romans ... and turned around and started right back in Romans 1 for an even more fruitful exploration of the book that will continue through May. I learned how to take some durn good portraits (if I do say so myself) of my little boy (until he got so busy that I can't catch many pictures of him in focus). I took a couple of steps of faith in terms of feeling nudges from God and following through. On a few occasions, I asked God to open my heart to ideas I opposed, and he responded by closing doors (to my relief).
I grew in a deeper appreciation of my own family and have immensely enjoyed watching my parents be grandparents. I grew in appreciation for my husband's family, both immediate and extended. I grew in appreciation for my husband as a relationship-maker-and-keeper -- especially on our spring road trip that began with my Grandpa Jack's funeral in Wyoming, where HH met many of my family for the first time and was well-liked by all, and carrying on to include stays in five different homes of friends and family and visits with many more. I grew in appreciation for taking the road-less-traveled, as we added hours-upon-hours to our travels on lesser-traveled highways that rewarded us with breathtaking scenery and tastes (both literal and metaphorical) of Americana.
We are now firmly entrenched in our habit of stopping at the Tasty Freeze in Big Timber on our way to the cabin (the number to order ahead is programmed into my phone, and I have the mile-marker figured out for when to make the call). Little T's first year of life brought him to Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon.
2011 was a good year for us. HH started working from home and after a few hiccups, we thrived being in such close contact (which has been true of our relationship since Day 1). 2012 will bring changes, some that we can anticipate, some that we can't. It may well turn out to be a challenging year. I should work on some goals -- books to read, disciplines to pursue, ways I'd like to grow as an individual, as a wife and mom, and as a member of my community. And then, no doubt, I'll fall short of many of those goals and hopefully find myself growing in unexpected places. I'll get to that eventually. In the meantime, I'm grateful that amidst my failings from 2011, God was merciful, God was kind, and we have much for which to be grateful.
UPDATE: 2011 should definitely be remembered as the year that HH and I began perfecting our "signature" pork taco recipe and hosting "Taco Domingo," as well as the year I hit upon Pioneer Woman's Restaurant-Style salsa recipe and have had it in our fridge nonstop since.