Because really, the thought of going back through the year and picking out my favorite blog posts from each month is too much.  This was a hard year.  It’s still hard.  I can’t look back.  There’s too much pain there, and I can’t revisit it.

There were major bright spots.  We got Lucky, and that’s been an unqualified positive.   This dog is the sweetest, most passive and laid back, cuddliest little creature I’ve ever seen.  Getting a dog was such a brilliant idea, and I’m forever grateful for having him, and what’s he’s meant for all three of my kids.  And for me – I love this dog.

Each one of my kids grew up a lot this year.  Jessie grew up, a lot.  She assumed more responsibility than I ever wanted for her, and is the most empathetic, loving and aware teenager I know.  She’s grown into this amazing, funny, smart person – and it’s not an exaggeration to say that she’s one of my closest allies.  Julianna finished up kindergarten, and bopped into first grade like it was nothing, and has thrived, absolutely thrived in that environment. She lost her brother, on a real level, this year, and is slowly, slowly getting him back.  She’s learned more than I ever wanted to about how to support someone you love when their world is crumbling, and I’m so proud of her.

My Sammy – I don’t have words to describe what he’s been thru this year.  He’s lost almost everything, and been thru unimaginable trauma and fear.  Even now, seven months later, his life is incredibly different from it was before.  He’s staggered me, over and over again, with how strong and brave and resilient he is.  He handles it – whatever it is.  Whether it’s the loss of vision, not being able to see the board games, or the television or the computer games he used to love, the loss of his taste buds, not being able to just grab some cereal or enjoy Halloween candy or his chocolate advent calendar my mother gets every year, or the very real loss of the ability to walk thru the doors of his school – he’s found a way to take the incredibly difficult and make it okay.

Marc has struggled beside me all year long.  He’s been my other half – I’d maybe have been able to get thru it without him, but I can’t imagine how.  He’s what made it possible for me to do what I did this year, to raise these kids, to get them through the most challenging year of their lives… he never wavered, he was never not exactly what I needed at any point.  I’ve never not loved him, I’ve never not wanted him at my side – but this year – this was the year when I knew beyond any doubt that our marriage was the foundation for everything.  Everything we do is possible because of that.

So no retrospective this year.  I won’t look back, but just forward.  2016 is a year I’ll never forget, and one that I’m incredibly happy to say is over.  The rewards were huge, but the price was way, way too high.

I know this.  I wake up bleary eyed and vaguely incoherent.  I can stagger to the coffee pot, turn it on, and then go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, switch over the laundry and throw in a new load.  By that time, the coffee is usually done, so I can pour the first cup and start my day.

Marc didn’t make the coffee last night.

Faced with having to make the coffee, I stepped up.  I grabbed that fragile, fragile glass carafe, and promptly slammed it into the faucet in a misguided attempt to fill it.  It cracked a little, but just a little, so I kept going. Filled it up, and walked it across the kitchen to pour it into the coffee maker, at which point it started leaking EVERYWHERE, spilling cold water all over the counter, my bare feet, the floor, etc.

It hasn’t been a good morning.

But since the coffee maker itself was still functional, and I REALLY wanted that coffee, I make it anyway.  I used a saucepan.


I’ve declared the December Dilemma over.  It’s simply not something I participate in anymore.  I don’t think I could have done this earlier, it was a long process to get me to this point.  I don’t regret all the angst, because I had to get thru it, but I’m much more relaxed and peaceful about it this year.

This is the last year that I’ll be driving my girls together to school.  I drop Jessie at the bus stop every morning on the way to drop Julie at elementary school.  But next year, my baby starts high school, and will be on a completely different schedule in the mornings.  I can’t quite grasp that concept – high school… but hopefully, by the time September rolls around, I’ll be ready.

We’re still in the processs of deschooling/working our way into homeschooling with Sam.  I hit math and history most days, but we’re going to step it up in the new year.  He’s doing a TON of reading (or listening, as audio books are still his main source of reading).  He’s learning, and happy – and I’m still worried about him on about a hundred different levels, but we’re getting used to the new normal.  He’s legally blind.  And while it doesn’t impact him in every way – he’s still video game obsessed, still watches too much youtube, can walk the dog and see well enough to pretend that he’s not – it does impact him in a thousand little ways.  It obviously impacts his education, his ability to read and write, his ability to hang out with us and watch movies or play games.  Everything is different, in so many ways – but in so many other ways, he’s still my Sammy, the same goofy, sweet little guy he always has been.

Julianna is not a little girl any more.  I think sometimes it must be very tough to be the little one in this family.  Especially because the older two are such intense personalities.   She’s got to figure out her identity – in a family where there’s already a dramatic intense girly girl and a goofy intense little guy.  She fights with Jessie all the live long day – and Jessie fights right back at her.  They squabble all the time, and it makes me insane.   I’ve tried to explain to Jessie that Julie is struggling to find her identity, that she’s outgrowing the little kid label and she’s trying to assert her own identity, and Jessie is her biggest competition right now.

Marc is working a zillion hours a week, and frantically trying to cram in time at the synagogue, time with Sam and D&D, time at the gym, and time with the girls as well.   He’s happy, I think, overall, but I think he’s mostly tired.

I’m happy.  Tired too – because working, ferrying the kids, cleaning, homeschooling and doing the parenting thing is exhausting and I never actually feel like I’ve gotten everything done.  But overall, I’m happy.   The kids are all thriving, and healthy.  I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to Sam’s accident or be okay with the fact that my son is legally blind, but I never lose sight of the fact that he could have lost so much more.  He could have died.  He could have cognitive impairments, or personality changes, or been paralyzed.  None of those things happened.  In the end, that’s what matters.

So life is a little more complicated than it was before, and we’ve got a little more sadness and challenge, but we’re all still standing.