Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Retrospect

I gotta tell you all how much I love you. I really do. Friends, family, fellow bloggers, and lurkers, all. Thanks for following this blog and for loving me even at my most quizzical, angry, hyped up, and freaky! Here is a summary of my year:

I feel like a different person than at this time last year. It's wild to me that I had so recently discovered my anxiety disorder, and that I had not found my treatment group yet. This time last year I was averaging 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night, which was an improvement on my 2 to 4 hours from September to November. I loved my baby and enjoyed him immensely, but my older kids I mostly felt drained by. I was irritable a lot. I had nightmares about death, gross dismemberment, loss of a child, loss of my husband, car crashes, fires, and massive burns numerous times per week. Sometimes more than one per night. I had anxiety attacks during the day that were terrifying.

I felt pretty positive, fairly happy, content with what God had blessed me with, and excited about my recent doula training and future potential of midwifery training (it is common to feel positive and upbeat about one's life in general, yet plagued by anxiety with an anxiety disorder. It is also common to approach therapies with an aggressive work ethic and to be incredibly hard on oneself when tackling anxiety disorders--when I read that in my textbook for my treatment group I LAUGHED OUT LOUD, because it was SO ME!).

Here is what I said last year:

For New Years this year, I made two resolutions.
One, to give to charity on a regular basis, starting with $20 a pay period.

[huh. not so much on that one. It worked for awhile, but then things disintegrated with our church so I kind of stopped. We did give a big chunk at Christmas time to Doctors Without Borders and Agape Home in Thailand, which was responsible for Matthew's care while he was a baby. Not exactly the regular giving I was going for...]

Two, to write more often in my journal.

[This I managed]

So far, I've given to charity once and written in my journal every night. Since I started blogging 2 years ago I have been decidedly lax in my journal writing. Which doesn't make sense, because my most private angry, sad, or conflictual moments don't make it to my blog. I'm pretty transparent, but I don't write about EVERYTHING. Which means I had no written outlet for those most private feelings. They are pouring out of me now, I tell ya. Nothing profound or deep, but I feel VERY good about revisiting my journal. It is good for my soul.

Other things I am looking forward to in 2009 include;
Watching Riley grow.


Visiting the tulip festival in April...we are planning an overnight getaway in Seattle including a Mariner's baseball game and the tulip fields and a hotel stay which should be wonderful. Not quite HAWAII, but a nice getaway nonetheless.

[tulip festival, check. Overnight getaway, not so much]

Water park fun.

[I was desperate for winter to be over was the Seasonal Affective Disorder, untreated...this winter is eons better for me. So amazing]

Riley's first birthday!! Already planning it!!!


Nerdfest 2009 in August.

[double fun!!]

Ayden entering first grade in Sept!
Matthew entering kindergarten!
Watching Matthew's speech improve in leaps and bounds. I always knew he was smart for his age but nobody else could access his intelligence through the foggy haze of his stuttering, babyish speech. He has come SO FAR and surprises his speech pathologist every week that we go with his improvement in leaps and bounds. We are now able to correct his grammar! Believe me, before there were so many layers of problems that grammar was WAY down on the list of priorities, but now we work on it every day. Whew! What a blessing!

[he has almost worked his way out of speech therapy :DDDDD]

Breastfeeding more, and transitioning into a more enjoyable, less tethered, food-plus-breastmilk diet which will make our breastfeeding relationship more pleasant for me.

[Riley *almost* never bites me anymore, and never fights me anymore, and is less distractible, and more cuddly when breastfeeding now. NOW it feels like pleasure, not work, and I no longer have ANY anxiety surrounding milk. CHECK!]

Taking some courses next fall/winter to prepare for going back to school.

[Signed up for the Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers starting January 12th!!! SO EXCITED to learn more, and start this next chapter]

Applying for UBCs midwifery school for the fall of 2010 (deadline Dec 31st, 2009).


Going back to work (I'm dreading this, actually, for the first time ever...)

[proving amazingly enjoyable, and for the first time since I had children, guilt free. I feel no guilt leaving my kids with their dad while I go to work and have a stimulating day engaging with people in all sorts of crazy predicaments!! Fabulous! One day per week is perfect]

Possibly finishing up the renovations on our townhouse and purchasing a new house? We will have to see...but it is on the table for discussion just about every day.

[work in progress...]

Watching my aunt Lynne and my grandma KICK BREAST CANCER'S ASS.


Running in the Run for the Cure this September, no excuses this time, I'm doing it.


Visits to Victoria and Vernon.
Hooray for 2009!

Here are some highlights from 2009:

Finding my post partum anxiety treatment group. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My life feels SO different now than before, and the quality of my days is unbelievably changed. Especially in winter. You know who you are. Love you.

Going to Seattle with my mom and Riley in February. I LOVED that trip. I still owe my mom money from that trip. It was exactly what I needed at that time in the winter, and we had some quality time with my mom and definitely found a niche at Pike Place Market. It was fabulous.

Tulip festival in April.


Family reunions x 3 in late June and early July.

Otter Lake camping trip.

OSoNerdy Nerdfest in Osoyoos, city of grouches and gorgeous lakes and peaches.

Riley's birthday!

Kids return to school, always bittersweet....I miss them when they're at school...

Run for the Cure 2009.

Thanksgiving visit from Tamie and Jon, and wonderful Thanksgiving festivities.


Winter. Winter! Look at me, I LIKE WINTER!!!!!

Discovering and conquering my anxiety disorder AND treating S.A.D.

Breastfeeding Matthew and Riley, and especially finding a groove with Riley, so it is enjoyable rather than work and sacrifice.


My book club!!!

Cheering on one of my closest friends as she left an abusive marriage and nightmarish daily existence. I'm proud she has been liberated, and I love her. [Yes, this happens. To people we know. Silently, sometimes. It seems like something that should have happened before people knew better, before feminism, before social resources for women in distress. You know? But it happens, and it takes my breath away with grief.]


Watching myself grow as a mom, and redeeming so much brokenness and pain from 2006. Laying to rest the hefty burden of guilt.

Watching Ayden learn to read.

Watching Riley learn to crawl, then stand, then walk, then run, then goes by so fast....

And so much, much more. My life is very enriched.

For 2010, a few things I'm looking forward to:

My breastfeeding course.
My third doula client giving birth and me ACTUALLY MAKING IT TO THE BIRTH.
Watching Riley develop more and more. Watching Matthew's speech make more leaps and bounds. Hopefully diagnosing and treating Matthew's urinary problems. Watching Ayden expand upon what he has learned so far in school.
Tulip festival.
Family time.
Selling this home and buying a NEW ONE with 700 MORE SQUARE FEET and a YARD and NO STRATA.
Staying on top of my mood disorder and learning more about myself and how I operate.
Nerdfest 2010.
Leaving BC Ambulance? Contingent upon midwifery school. I'm definitely DONE with the politics, the pandering, the negativity, the hoops to jump through, the mistreatment, the poverty, the massively hard work, the lack of public interest, total absence of managerial support, and incompetent union. I will miss the amazing paramedics I work with, and the job itself. The rush and chaos and blood and gore and panic and helicopters and needles and meds and the PEOPLE with incredible stories and lives and courage and strength whom it is my privilege to help when they are hurt or sick.
Starting school? Contingent upon acceptance. :)
8 year anniversary.
Riley's second birthday.
Matthew starting grade one! Oh, the tears are creeping up already...
Ayden in GRADE TWO???!?!?
And many other things.

My resolutions are:
To enjoy and engage with the religious seasons of lent and advent in 2010. I want to explore my beliefs a bit more. Delve back into paying more attention to the presence of God, which is constant and miraculous. That God loves me AS MUCH when I am raging angry with my children as he does when I am kissing their owies and feeding them breastmilk and cuddling them and redirecting their misbehaviours with the patience of a saint, is mind boggling. I want to ponder this a bit more.

I'm going to leave this post with a quote stolen from Tamie's blog:

"We often have a kind of notion, as part of this highfalutin, noble picture of ourselves as pray-ers, that when we pray we need to be completely attentive and we need to be fully engaged and we need to be concentrating and we need to be focused. But the fact is, if prayer is our end of a relationship with God, that's not the way we are with the people we love a large portion of the time. We simply are in their presence. We're going about our lives at the same time in each other's presence, aware and sustained by each other, but not much more than that.… However we are, however we think we ought to be in prayer, the fact is we just need to show up and do the best we can do. It's like being in a family."
—Roberta Bondi


Lou and Marilyn Sawchenko said...

Happy New Year, Melissa! It is so great that God walks with us through all the nitty gritty stuff in life...and loves us!!

Asheya said...

Love you Melissa! Looking forward to blogging through 2010 with you!

Tonya said...

Hey - I've been out of town, so missed reading your blog. Trying to catch up a bit!

Love your "year in review" and goals for next year. Oh, and you DON'T write EVERYTHING here? :-) Just teasing you!

We've celebrated Advent and Lent for years. LOVE it. You really should do some research on the Jewish festivals and how they correspond to Christ - and his fulfilling prophecy. We especially love having a Passover meal during Passion week. My kids look forward to it every year! Many other things we do, but I won't write too much right now or I'll NEVER catch up on your blog!