As 2012 fades to black, I think back on how blessed we have been this year and in previous years. Life hasn’t been perfect or stress-free. All-in-all, though, it’s been darn good.
I had a glorious time in SC with my immediate and extended families during our short winter vacation. We had a Christmas party on the Saturday before the holiday. The food was good, the games were fun, and spirits were high. One of the things I love most about my big (my mother is one of eleven), crazy family is that we manage to consistently have a genuinely good time, without the drama that is typically associated with big gatherings and without the help of alcohol (LOL).
Mae and Jay got to see all of their first cousins. They played well together, and I’m especially proud of Mae. I think she managed to avoid falling out with her big cousin, who is just 9 months older, even once. Usually, Mae whines or has a meltdown about not being able to play with her cousin’s things or something along those lines. No meltdowns at all on the trip. Growth is a beautiful thing, and she’s been doing plenty of it physically and otherwise. Lately, she’s been asking questions on topics like periods and the N-word. She’s becoming less and less of a “little girl,” a term she now detests.
Last week, Mae told me that she wonders if she should tell her friends that she has Asperger’s. She said, “I don’t know what they’ll think of me.” I told Mae that she can tell her friends if she feels comfortable, and that it’s more important to focus on what she wants her friends to understand about her and show them who she is without using a label. I told her that the doctor said she’s barely on the spectrum, so Asperger’s may not be the best way to explain who she is. Her question is an interesting question given recent media coverage of Asperger’s in relation to the Newtown tragedy. Mae is aware of the tragedy because her school principal made an announcement the next school day. She’s unaware of the media coverage and how some have attributed the shooter’s behavior to Asperger’s. We’re not much of a news-watching household, and that’s a good thing.
After we returned home from SC, we buckled down to Mae’s homework. She actually completed some of it while we were in SC, bless her heart, with little resistance. She has had so much homework over the past few weeks, more than I could have ever imagined for a 3rd grader. We spent hours each day last Thursday through Sunday working on a book about the planets. There is a required 15-page minimum with limited use of illustrations, which Mae had to create herself. (Thank you, Microsoft, for Insert>Shapes.)
Last night, as Mae put the finishing touches on the book, she told me that she enjoyed working on it, that she had looked forward to it. She’s really had a good attitude about this homework business. Hubby and I have been the ones grumbling for weeks. I’ve been trying to think of a way to complain to the school, but I don’t know if it’s me or them that’s being unreasonable. I wanted an accelerated and advanced curriculum, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut. What I didn’t know was that we’d be trading loads of personal time and family time, weekends and holidays included.
Mae worked so hard on her planets book and still needs to make progress on her science fair project, so much so that I can’t even bring myself to ask her to write thank-you notes for Christmas gifts. That’s normally one of our projects over the winter break. I may saddle Jay with writing for both of them, if I can get him to be still long enough. He has been a ball of energy, literally running in circles around the house, for no apparent reason. He’ll go round and round the kitchen table. He’s in constant motion, still at five and a half. I don’t remember his sister being this way.
Yesterday, I surprised him when I told him that I like candy cereal too, but I don’t eat it. He said, slowly, “That’s strange.” Then, he added, “If you like something, you should just eat it.” Oh, my dear boy, I have fillings in the double digits and a pouch to prove that I have done plenty of that.
I’ve got to work on my “just eat it” problem in 2013. I’m not big on resolutions, but I do need to create a new exercise plan and cut back on sugar. This year was not good for me in terms of healthy living. I tried to eat healthy (though the green smoothie project didn’t work for me; I decided that eating should involve chewing. I like chewing.) and exercise (I quit yoga after one session because one full hour of yoga is just too much). I got off track, mostly due to exhaustion in the evenings from hard, long days at the job I started in March, and then curtailing weeknight gym visits to help with homework in the evenings. On too many evenings, I ate salty or sweet snacks for dinner instead of a proper meal.
Despite exercising less and eating more than I should have, I’m ending 2012 with a pat on the back for myself. I’ve already ordered our photo album for 2012, a year’s worth of pictures bound in a hard cover book. It’s an annual project that I sometimes don’t get to until the spring. And, I’ve ordered our Happy New Year photo cards to send to family and friends. I think our 2012 cards went out in February last year. I feel like I was more organized in 2012. Also, I spent more time with the kids, making more of an effort to do fun stuff on the weekends whenever we could. House and yardwork suffered, but I have no regrets about that.
So, I’m good. We’re good. 2013 will be good.