I can’t quite believe it’s been a year since the last one – and just over a year since I started this blog. The rules have changed slightly, and this time I only have to do five things to be thankful for and five hopes for the future (which is good, as I am perennially pushed for time), but it does mean that I’ve been wondering what to choose, mulling it all over. However, if I cogitate too long, Christmas will take me over (it did), so here goes. First up: thankfulness.
- Sun, sea, boats. My. Word. Have we had fun with the Clear Air Turbulence this year or what? Every year R and I have had a brief discussion over whether we should get rid of the boat, only this year it morphed into getting another one – Poppy the Oppie joined the family at Easter and thanks to her (and a large dose of Swallows and Amazons for A) we finally got out in the boat as a family and, wonder of wonders, took it to Salcombe for a weekend. The weather forecast was awful, it clashed with the end of term, but we chanced our arms and the sun shone and the wind blew and what a time we had. Not only did R and I get the chance to sail together, IN THE ESTUARY, our gybing hats on backwards and clinging on for dear life, but we followed it up with a regatta AND a trophy (the first ever). I’m still not the biggest fan of camping, but I’ll put up with it for the sake of the CAT (and if I can find away to avoid sleeping on the floor).
- This blog in particular. Not only has it given me my voice back, but it has opened doors to me I never thought would be even slightly available to me. I’ve spoken at things, I’ve met and made new friends, I’ve had my picture taken, it’s been read and RTd by Ken Robinson. I’ve found a community of people who share with me aspects of my life that can be isolating – mothering a child with Down’s syndrome, part time teaching, part time working, part time parent, part time thinker of things like politics and feminism, that sort of thing. It’s even made me some money. It’s reminded me of the academic side of me, made me think about things I only briefly touched on many years ago, and made me wonder if I shouldn’t consider a little trip back to academia. The personal is political.
- He and I are both in gainful employment, and this means that we can give our children some wonderful extras like music lessons and drama clubs, visits to London and a secure home with a garden and a vegetable patch. He has a job he loves, I have one I enjoy. I’ve had some interviews, one of which was successful (writing moderating again), which was kind of disappointing, but, to be honest, if I had a different job I may not be able to spend time thinking and writing, so it has its advantages.
- Posh hotels. I’ve had TWO stays in them! TWO! One in York with the whole family for an edu-conference, and one in Caernarfon, prior to our assault on Snowdon. I’m so glad we finally did it – and I’m so glad that we finally made it to the top together. R and me. Team of two. Sunshine all the way there and all the way back. Even if my legs were agony afterwards.
- We have each other. We are here, all five of us. We had an unexpected death in the family not very long ago. Nothing very much happening, except hanging out with the people you love, and who love you in return is something to be eternally thankful for.
And hopes for the future.
- I need to learn to cope better with a whole lot of things. I’ve always been a bit of a taker of things far too seriously. As well as finding physical balance, I need mental balance too. I’m sure my mum, who has to listen to most of my railing and ranting against the state of the world and my place in it will be grateful if I can manage to do at least a little of this. As part of this I would like to change my working timetable at the very least.
- Meet people. Partly thanks to a different work schedule, I haven’t managed to see half the people I would like to. Next year, I would like to see more of the people I love who I don’t see so much (my dad and my sister), meet up with old friends more (you know who you are my lovelies), and meet new friends in the flesh, in particular the online community who have welcomed me and made me feel part of their own. Jonny, Tom, Sue, Hayley, Paul, Kirsty, Jane, Tim, Carol, Jill, Ross, Mark, Rory, Joanne, Simon, Jarlath, Jules, Rachel – the list goes on and on. It might take me a while to organise my temporary escape from the bonds of motherhood, but I’ll see what I can do.
- Music. I want to make some room for that. I have a couple of pieces I have never been able to play on the piano and we now have a ‘cello in the house. I am sorely tempted by a choir.
- I plan to start a MEd soon – but the university hasn’t impressed me very much with its lack of organisation so far, so I may well complete a module there and then consider my options. All advice on this front is welcome. It’s a financial commitment that will be quite hard to meet, so I don’t want to be paying for something and not getting anything out of it, if you know what I mean. I am getting awkward and hard to please, aren’t I?
- My children. I hope they are happy. I hope they are healthy. I hope they know how much they are loved.
Oh, and writing! How could I forget that? The journey into my own thoughts has been revealing, not least because I am slowly realising that I am not alone,and neither am I entirely mad (not yet anyway). Other people experience the splash of words on the page, other people have those strange trains of thought that won’t leave them – and other people agree with me. Not all the time, but to find myself, for once, not the oddball outcast with the strange ranty ideas, is balm to my soul. I want to keep on doing that, keep on listening to the promptings of my heart, and see where it takes me this year.
Thank you for reading, and have a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.