Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another year older

We're closing the book on 2015. It's been quite a year.

Every year brings about changes, but this past one was particularly unpredictable.

Who would have imagined that I would end the year without my job? I'm feeling especially nostalgic as the clock ticks down to the final hours of this year. There was so much love and loss this year, I'm trying to remember to cherish the sweet and give perspective to the bitter.

The beginning of the year saw us say goodbye to Earbaby's grandfather, a truly classy gentleman, whose family gave him a sendoff more than deserving of his stature. All the holidays this year were the first ones without Dad. Next year he will still be missed, but I hope the pain will subside.

We survived EB's Sweet 16. That was no small feat to pull off. It came after weeks of blizzards and months of Teenzilla behavior. The fact that no one ended up in jail for felonious assault is a small miracle in itself. As if she had no inkling of the nightmare we had just lived through, she immediately started making noises about having a hall party to celebrate her 18th birthday. I'm ignoring that nonsense.

We also had great vacations, good holidays, and a lot of adjustments. Our Florida spring break was a big hit, but her summer program of dance turned out to be a bit of a miss when she injured her knee the first full week and was limited throughout the duration despite aggressive physical therapy. She came away disappointed and decided she wouldn't try to go back this coming summer. I can respect that. It's time for her to get a job anyway. Most of her friends worked last summer and we're ready for her to learn the real value of a dollar. I've found when people have to spend their own money, they're a lot more discerning.

Junior year has been all right for Earbaby so far. She is still struggling with Pre-Calculus, but the rest of her grades are good.

And she has become quite the whirling dervish of dance and cheer activity. She's enjoying the life of a teenager, for the most part, at least from what we can tell when she occasionally looks up from her phone and takes the earbuds out. There seems to be a party every weekend, and it appears that her presence is imperative. I don't remember being out nearly as much, although her dad says when he was her age, he couldn't stand to stay home on a Friday and Saturday night. Because he remembers his teenage years, she gets a pass on hers.

Yet she gets nostalgic too. When we were shopping for Christmas (when it was only three days away), she observed that the holiday was more fun when she was little. Now that the Santa secret is out, and she really only wants money or store gift cards, the early morning Christmas excitement is a thing of the past. I too miss the cookies and milk for Santa days and the avalanche of toys.

This year brings a more acute feeling of loss. When I decided to leave my job, I hadn't counted on missing my friends and the social interaction nearly as much as I do. I'm used to being home during the day, getting my hobbies and errands done, but it's tough to have few people to talk to all day and understand your family needs down time when their day is finished. Night workers are a different breed and I've suddenly got to figure out how to change species.

But the new year is a fresh start. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do for work for the next few years, which makes me anxious even as people implore me to relax and embrace my free time. I have plenty to do, but the lack of structure makes it difficult to start. There's a reason people say if you want something done, get a busy person to do it. Deadlines are necessary for congenital procrastinators.

EB's new year will bring yet another dance class in yet another studio, an increase in her ballet and possibly a little money in her pocket from babysitting.

And the reason she can do all this? Because Mom doesn't have a job! With all the extra chauffeuring I'm doing, maybe I should just explore the job opportunities with Uber.

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