2015 in (Unfiltered) Review

The following holiday letter was sponsored by Plum Organics®. As part of their Parenting Unfiltered campaign, they created an Unfiltered Holiday Newsletter template, which I am obsessed with (scroll down this post to see my version + make your own). Thanks for keeping it real and unfiltered, Plum Organics®!
Dear Friends and Family,

The year is over and I will admit it, so am I. I'm over December. I'm over November. I'm over October and September and August and March and July ... I'm over a lot of things, if I'm going to be honest. This year has wreaked havoc on my spirit and there were times when I legit thought I was losing my mind. At first I was like, "Oh, Mercury. You're in Retrograde, aren't you!" And then it was like, "Well, huh. Mercury is no longer in retrograde, NOW what's up?" and then it was like, "Oh, I guess this is just the way life is now?"

Some years are shit shows, friends and family, and I guess 2015 was one of those. I don't know that I've ever been tempted to run away more times than I did in 2015. Nor have I spent more time crying in my car on the driveway. Or in a restaurant in broad daylight. (Thank God for friends who are like, "Get it out, girl. Here's my sleeve.")

This was the year I came to grips with age and what it does to a person -- what it looks like to change and not to...  how the past exists as a looking glass, with sliding doors that remind us of the things we didn't do and the places we never saw and the people we never met on backpacking trips we never took. Those doors became unhinged this year and I kind of fell apart. To have and to hold a family, for better, for worse, till death do you part is a huge responsibility and while I've always prided myself on my ability to keep my eyes on the prize, don't look down... 2015 was the year I looked down. 

Not that it isn't too late to do all of the things. It never is. Hell, I have BIG plans for 2016. Definitive plans. I am not afraid to keep walking this tightrope, even as I swerve and almost fall at every step... but life looks very different to me now. My kids are not babies any longer. Even the "babies" are no longer babies. That has changed the dynamic of what I do here and the changes I am ready to make both personally and professionally -- sharing more -- sharing less -- pushing forward, riding on...
In 2015 I cursed. A LOT. With and without my kids. I smoked. More than usual. I got in fights with other moms. The kids got Hand Foot and Mouth disease. We were late to school more often than not. We gave our kid MAD magazine and then regretted giving our kid MAD magazine.  People played favorites. (And I flipped out.)

There was the time we drove two hours to go apple picking only to find that apple picking season was over and there were plenty of other days that looked beautiful on the outside but were a complete FAIL everywhere else. My car door fell off. The whole world fell apart. Over and over. And over. And over. (And over.) I lost a few friends (sorry if it was you) debating immunizations and Hal lost his job in a flurry of lay-offs and I lost my mind and chopped my hair off.  I also chopped Archer's hair off. Badly. (Ugh.) And that was just the stuff I felt comfortable writing about, you know? There is also so much more. For better, for worse. Unspeakable loss. Tragedy. Unfairness. Struggle, not just for us but for so many people we know and love. Sometimes terrible things happen in clusters, I guess. Screw you, 2015. SCREW YOU.

Except. Except...  When I was going back in the archives to look into linking to the "less than awesome" stuff, I was reminded of a lot of treasure I'd forgotten.

I forgot about our spontaneous adventure on New Years Day and how I found a letter at The Nepenthe (that I actually put in a safe space and just this second revisited!) I forgot how full of hope I was for 2015. How THRILLED I was by the prospect of a New Year. I forgot about Vegas and how we all renewed our vows in the drive-thru of the Little White Chapel and how insane it was and totally ridiculous and wonderful. TRULY wonderful.

And maybe forgotten is the wrong word. Sometimes it's easier to be, like, "EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE" than it is to admit that everything is... mixed.
There was the fortune cookie factory in San Francisco and Fable's first lost tooth and Revi's "mama's tummy makes me happy" moment of sweetness. There was Bo on Pond Island with her crickets and Archer on his 10th birthday with his song and the excitement of the first day of school... There was potty training and us, for the first time in ten years, diaper-free. DIAPER-FREE! There was the magic of watching my kids fall in love with the treehouse from my childhood. And the old creek and railroad tracks from Hal's. There was Nana with her paints and Grandma with her trips and my Grandpa Milt's 90th birthday... There was Fable with her rainbow and Archer with his wisdom and Bo and Revi with their dance. There was Nelson.

Beauty in the moments, you know? Beauty in the transitions and accidents, surprises and all of the little things that are so easy to forget should we let ourselves.

Which I guess is kind of the thing, right? When you have children and a spouse and a mortgage and a busy self with busy feelings and thoughts... sometimes it takes some perspective to realize that all the shit? Passes. I mean, don't get me wrong -- I'm not in a very good place at the moment. I fluctuate with wanting to pick fights with everyone and wanting to run away from literally EVERYTHING I love. There have been moments in the last few months when I've asked the Uber to turn around and take me back to the bar because "I don't really want to go home. Please don't take me home."

And that's okay.

It's okay to not want to go home sometimes. It's okay to fight. To curse. To want change. To NEED change. To feel trapped. To want to run away. To want to come home. To cry with friends in crowded bars. To smoke on curbs and flirt with strangers. To lock oneself in the bathroom and say, "I'M POOPING LEAVE ME ALONE" even when you're not pooping. It's okay to cry in front of your kids. And co-workers. It's okay to laugh when your four-year-old says the F word after hearing it from you. It's okay to be a human being in a human world where human things happen to humans.

And as I write this on a couch with a husband unable to move in the other room c/o of a back spasm and two kids home sick today, blasting Star Wars as I attempt to finish this post before school pick-up for the twins, I think to myself THIS IS 2015. But not just this. All of this. All of everything.
I don't know how your year was. I hope it was wonderful. I hope it was your greatest year on record. I hope you laughed more than you cried. I hope that you received as much as you gave. I hope that you are reading this and you feel happy and alive and full of hope and merriment.

But if perchance you don't, and you haven't and you didn't -- and everything feels really hard right now -- let this letter serve as a reminder that that today is December 14th -- and the page in the calendar that comes after this one is a whole new book.

Here's to 2016. Here's to gathering new moments to serve as old reminders. Here's to light and love and all of the things that make you (and all of us) happy. Here's to being human. Here's to love and it's ability to revive, refresh, resolve....

P.S. I made the above newsletter/card with the help of Plum's Holiday Unfiltered Template. You can make your own #ParentingUnfiltered holiday newsletter at www.2015unfiltered.com. Stay true, friends. Stay true. 
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