We began this year with a run. A family 5k with the local running club. My parents seemed to always make me race on New Year's Day, and since I didn't like it growing up, of course I'd make my kids try it out. They're lucky we live in a climate that's not icy Michigan. I actually only planned to take Brooklyn (10) and Ella (8), but of course Sienna (newly minted 5) begged to come. That meant we had to drag Lucas (6). Not the easiest feat in the rain.
However, with the promise of finish-line Oreos, a stroller to help him along, and an agreeable dad who offered to jog with it, we did the race. We had fun. And, let's be truthful, when you start out a year running in a downpour, the day and the year seem destined for better things. (Or at least to be less wet.)
As we go into the new year, I am grateful for all of the things we had in 2021:
Publishing my first book (yay!)
Kids back in school full-time (well, minus the quarantines)
A six-week family trip
A new job for a cool company
A puppy who eats fewer of the kids' toys on a daily basis
An elderly dog who didn't die that night I monitored her breathing constantly
A loving husband who supports me
Kids who make me laugh
Amazing coaches and a fantastic piano teacher
A babysitter who loves my kids
A group of friends who are there when I need them (bonus that many have kids who make my kids happy)
Watching friends achieve major milestones: as a singer, an influencer, becoming a parent, overcoming major adversity, or just kicking butt in their careers
I try to see the positive. But I recognize that things have been tough. We're still in a pandemic. I left my job—the company I had been with for over a decade. We had some extended family health issues. And yes, the kids were still virtual for the first three months of the year. We missed yet another larger family Christmas this year.
Then, we finished with losing Betty White! Not rainbows and unicorns (except the half-price one I just bought at Safeway for said 5-year-old's birthday that was both rainbow-colored and a unicorn), but beautiful all the same. I'll continue to count my blessings and appreciate what I have.
For 2022? Looking forward to running a marathon (at 40!) and doing a 60-mile hike with friends. Hoping to take the kids to Disney for one last childhood hurrah when they all still (at least a little bit) believe in fairy tales. My youngest getting vaccinated. Time in Michigan enjoying their summer. Finishing book number two? Another big trip? A new puppy? A kitchen renovation? A minivan at last? Maybe seeing some friends I haven't seen in years? If these past two years have taught me anything, it's that things change. Plan, but don't expect. Make a contingency plan. Have patience. Enjoy the little moments and inject some optimism. Hold your kids close. It's actually like traveling with kids.
Or going for a New Year's run in the rain.