Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 Self-review

You know what's really awesome about having so many years worth of recorded resolutions and self reviews? Having the opportunity to look back on them once a year and give yourself a pat on the back for a) writing them so well even you enjoy re-reading them, and b) having the guts to be so brutally honest. I always forget this about myself -- that I have no shame when beating myself over the head via blogging -- and damn, I can write like the best of 'em! It's just a matter of, you know, actually doing it.

2011 was one very challenging and exciting year. Jon accepted a promotion that moved our little family to Baltimore, Maryland -- 350 miles away from home -- but not before Owen and I got to endure 3 months of life without him. This year I learned to have the utmost respect for single mothers and I didn't even have to  do it on one income!

We finally met Jon in Baltimore in July and found that life here is somehow more calm and more exciting at the same time. I suppose this is what happens when you reunite with the missing 1/3 of your family and find yourself living in a city with all new places to entertain yourself and with simple day trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, the east coast. I lived a rather sheltered life as a kid -- I knew our block like the back of my hand but very rarely even ventured to the neighboring city -- and having new adventures and the means to explore them with Owen feels so awesome. We truly are lucky.

Yesterday I admitted to a friend that moving away from so many great friends and all of our family was really hard, and I do get extremely homesick from time to time, but given the choice, I would definitely do it all over again. While we are very much still building our lives here, I do feel very confident when I say we are where we belong. Baltimore is slowly but surely becoming home.

Anyway, in true Deciphering Kate fashion, I am incapable of posting any new resolutions before reviewing how strong the previous year's held up. Let's give it go, shall we?

1. Be more positive. 
How can I even begin to compare my outlook on life last year to now? Someone turned on the lights? Pulled the scarf from my eyes? Cleared the clouds from head? Reached into the six foot grave I had buried myself in, grabbed my hand, and gently pulled me out while screaming "You don't have to live like this!"? I'm not sure any of those descriptions are really strong enough. I'm not sure how it even happened. All I know is that girl was in a very dark place and couldn't find a way out. But something or someone helped her out because she's not there anymore. She's actually quite happy.

2. Make time for myself.  
This one had to come in baby steps: self pedicures while catching up with the DVR, making a break for it on the occasional Thursday evening and exploring the city by myself (sometimes with GPS, sometimes without depending on how adventurous I was feeling), ignoring the stack of junk mail on the dining room table for a week. Then some time in the last few months I caught myself watching entire seasons of One Tree Hill on Netflix on-demand. I watched 6 seasons in just over a months span. Aw crap! Did I just admit that? Well, it shows that I've learned to make time for myself, right? Don't worry, Grey's Anatomy returns tonight so I'll be able to reinstate my taste in evening soap operas momentarily.

3. Continue to play and grow with Owen.
There was a time during that 3 month period of living apart from Jon when I would have scoffed at and thrown out this resolution had I remembered it. Owen and I did not get along. In fact, Owen did not like most anyone. Owen only wanted his daddy and it broke my heart that I didn't have an immediate fix for him. The funny thing is it didn't even fix itself after moving to Baltimore and living with Jon again. Owen was still convinced his daddy was going to leave and he'd be stuck with ME, the horrible, evil Mommy who isn't half as cool as Daddy. It took another 3 months for Owen to realize neither of us were going anywhere and when he finally had that realization, I was rewarded with the most amazing hugs and kisses! He smiles at me, he yells "MAMA!" like a big, Italian man who hasn't seen his mother in years even if it's only been a few hours, he takes my hand, says "Up!" and leads me to whatever he wants to show me, and he realized that it broke my heart a little when he stopped letting me rock him to sleep and he let me rock him again. Owen is the most absolutely amazing and curious creature I have ever laid eyes on. Every day I'm dazzled by the way his mind works and the joy he finds in such little things. Every night I fight the urge to wake him up so we can play and explore more. We may have had a rocky start, and I may have had my doubts along the way, but right now, at this moment, I can tell you without doubt that I have never known love like what I have for Owen and to have that love reciprocated is the best gift any woman can ever ask for.

4. Find a confidant.
Shortly after making this resolution I realized I have many confidants. For such a quiet and reserved person I seem to put a lot of my business out there, on this blog, on Facebook, in a text message, in person or over the phone. I actually have a very hard time keeping things in and often find myself sharing it with EVERYONE. I guess what I'm trying to say is...I'm not entirely sure what I was looking for from this resolution and I am actually quite happy with my current means of confiding.

5. Cover my family in bubble wrap and place them in a padded room.   
Seeing as my father died back in October this goes down as an EPIC FAIL but at the time of writing I could not have known I would be moving to another state therefore making it much harder to keep everyone safe. Bubble wrap and a padded room would not have helped my father anyway. For what it's worth, I always felt the new distance made my father and I closer somehow. We actually had to put serious effort into keeping in touch and he was so willing to put in the effort that it warmed my heart. I love you, Dad.

As always, this year's resolutions coming soon...hopefully before I break them all!

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