From riding the highest highs of becoming a mother to the lowest lows as I held my brother’s hand as his marriage broke apart.
From navigating the sleepless early days of parenthood, healing from birth and dealing with the various joys that come postpartum, to watching as our country was torn apart by an ugly and divisive presidential election.
From financial woes, to poor berry prices, the long, lonesome harvest season and an unbelievably rainy fall. And the list goes on.
This year had me wondering, at times, if I have what it takes.
Have what it takes to keep it together. To stay strong, whatever that means. To be positive. To be wise. To be kind when I feel anger and injustice. Have what it takes to slow down, take a breath and approach each issue with humility and patience.At times I have. At times I haven’t.
As we enter a season of picking out the things we are grateful for, there’s a small voice in my head that says I have a right to hold back.
To be just a little bit snarky about thankfulness. This year has been a doozy. And frankly, despite the fact that my kid might be the best sleeper ever, this year has made me tired. But unless I intend on selling myself short, which I do not, I should be at the head of the thankfulness parade.
Because for all of the difficulty this year has brought to my life, it has also brought great beauty. Not outer beauty. Not pretty, shiny, easy-to-love type beauty. We’re talking hard-earned, time-tested stuff. Patina. Character.
Like the fact that through the depths of a painful divorce, my family has learned to listen, really listen to each other. To communicate honestly. Openly. With care and respect. The fact that my previously difficult relationship with my brother has been restored and frankly, blown wide open by vulnerability and humility. It’s nothing short of a miracle. We’re still not perfect by any means, but it’s staggering how much good has come out of such ugliness.
And though we’ve all got our battle wounds, the path towards healing has been nothing short of beautiful.
Or the fact that despite the many – and I mean many – moments of doubting myself as a parent in every possible way, there is a very healthy, and happy almost 1-year-old crawling around my feet as I write this. A kiddo who has simultaneously had me asking, “could it possibly get any better than this?” and “what am I doing wrong!?” in the same breath.
A baby who, freshly born, snuggled into my chest as we welcomed this year in the wee hours last January, and a baby who will go to sleep one year older as we bid it adieu.
You’d better believe I’ll be thankful this year.
Thankful for all of the hard times that felt like they’d never end, but always did. Grateful for all the sweet little moments, perfectly preserved in my memory for the rest of time. For the good people around me, pointing me towards hope and light.
But most of all, somehow humbled and proud of the grace, and healing, and beauty, that has come from it all. With just the slightest touch of patina.