Today marks my return to this little space and the official start of 2017 for me. While 2016 held some huge life changing events, it left myself and so many of the people I love battered and bruised and emotionally exhausted, and I am so very happy that it is gone. Goodbye to 2016 and good riddance!
In 2016, Charly started school, and she cried every single drop off til the final term. She was sick more than she was healthy. We really really struggled with separation issues. She cut all her teeth the first month of school. She had fevers close on 40 degrees multiple times. She had an allergic reaction that saw us sitting in the ER at midnight. I finally weaned her completely in October. We are potty training, which has had some seriously difficult times. She learned to put all the passion and energy and excitement that she had been using to be happy and funny and smart and adorable into being stubborn and pushing boundaries and generally driving us all mad.
On the other hand… in 2016 she thrived at school. She soaked up the new information and loves being surrounded by her friends. Her development remains well ahead on all fronts. She was barely sick at all from around August, so her immune system finally adjusted to school germs. We have mostly stress free toilet usage now. She returned to school last week incredibly happy and excited and took the new classroom, new teacher, new friends in her stride.
Weaning was much less traumatic than 2015s attempts. She has blossomed since weaning. She is a lot less mommy obsessed. She sleeps through the night. She stopped crying at drop offs. She started wanting to spend time with daddy and granny without me around for the first time. She became more confident and has more faith in herself and her ability to do things.
She has sleepovers at granny that she loves and has the best time at. They changed our whole lives and I am a much better mommy once we get a little bit of couple-series-sleep time. I am hoping that 2017 holds more quality time together, more outings and adventures, more getting to know and understand each other as a family. More time to play with Charly, putting down the phone or laptop, and engaging with her more. Most days this year have contained an element of this.
2016 saw a ton of family conflict. Squabbling, serious, if temporary, rifts, really rough patches. There were also some very real health scares and for a good chunk of the year I didn’t think my grandparents or two aunts would be here to see in the new year. But they were and we were all together for Christmas this year for the first time since we were children.
It also held a lot more quality time with extended family. Watching Charly bond and form loving relationships with my cousins and their kids felt really special. We also reconnected on a deeper level than we had in years.
There was a time that I really thought that my anxiety was going to ruin me. I was so very afraid of everything outside of my own home… and at times even in my own home. I lost friends who could not understand why I was so “selfish”, because I couldn’t visit them and they always had to come to me. People really didn’t understand that I wasn’t just being lazy or silly. This holiday season did bring up a lot of it again, because the realities around us were so awful… but it was in context and it didn’t overwhelm me.
So while 2016 brought this flood of fear, I also learned to begin to master it. I managed to get over my fear of being in crowded places enough to stand up and speak live about car seat safety at MamaMagic. I managed to travel all the way out to Bugz Playpark and have a great time with my family. It is hard to explain to people how very big that simple thing was for me. 2017 will see me focusing on bringing this completely under control. Already the worst of it has faded into the background as the high alert of the holiday season has passed.
As promised, there is a lot of “me” things I plan to do this year. I will be creating a little hidey spot on here at some point soon. A little bit of separate space, where I can explore things properly without it being overshadowed or overshadowing the parenting aspect of me. For a long time I was “just” a mommy, but I have been slowly remembering that I am many other things as well.
2017 already threw some rather heavy things at me, but I am proud of how I have handled that. I never let it paralyse me as it would have last year. I made a decision and acted on it as fast as possible and headed off something terrifying.
So, this is me! I am back. I had a really great Christmas this year, the best in a very long time. I am writing about that now. I also had a spectacular birthday this past weekend. I have never felt so special and appreciated. I read every single comment, email and whatsapp, and many of them made me cry. Because for the first time, I really believed that everything I had been doing and working towards and being in 2016, really made a difference. I helped. I made an impact. I left a mark. Isn’t that what we all want in life? Thank you to so many of you for giving me that gift.
Here’s to 2017!
Sending all the love xxx