A lot has been written in these last few days leading up to the New Year about how awful 2015 was. Dave Barry’s Year in Review comes to mind, for one. It would not be difficult for me to pile on with all the trying, tough, and terrible I’ve experienced first hand. But, the truth is, I am an optimist and a believer in gratitude. It was a very traumatic year; still, as I write this, I am full term with a son due any day now and I can’t help but feel excitement and appreciation for all my blessings.
With that in mind- and with inspiration from my friend (and esteemed blogger/producer/mom) Karri-Leigh’s recent blog post about turning 40 (using only iconic images)– I have assembled 20 pictures that sum up my year. With a focus on the positive, but an acknowledgment of the problems faced as well, these are my pictures of 2015.
1. A cold and blustery beginning to 2015 with my daughter O at the local cranberry bog. The cold can’t stop her smiling face! We had no idea what was ahead but we were feeling good!
2. Our trip to New Orleans in January. We just beat the storm to fly out of Boston. O had her first beignet experience at Cafe Du Monde. She still talks about it. And the zoo, too, where she saw a gorilla smell his own poop.
3. I tried (and failed) to procure Fare Thee Well tickets for “the Core Four” of the Grateful Dead at their final run in Chicago. The old school artist/hippie in me went all in with a decorated-with-love envelope and money orders, to no avail. Still, a friend scored tickets and I did have a chance to see the shows, but my pregnancy had other plans for me, and we never made it to Chicago.
4. O took full advantage of late-season snow and skied aplenty in February and March (at not even 3 years old, she was crushing it) at the underrated, totally wonderful Wachusett Mountain. Here she is with her budding-bestie Siri (the daughter of my bff from high school). Life is good!
5. O’s sunglasses ad turned up in (something like 285) Toys R Us/Babies R Us stores. What can I say, beaming proud mama moment here…
6. I ran my first race with my daughter. It was a dream come true. At 3 years old she ran- and completed!- her first mile (in 11 minutes)! She was so proud. It was a completely magical experience I will never forget. Here, she crosses the finish line!
7. At the end of July my brother Patrick got married in Oakland to an amazing woman named Meredith. My brothers and I were all together for the first time in 10 years and it was incredibly special and beautiful, as evidenced by this shot by the wedding photographer. I love this picture with all my heart.
8. In August, on our last day in Nantucket all together, O, her Dad, and I had lunch at Cru. For dessert, O had a whoopee pie. So, soooo good. She sat back and enjoyed it while her Dad and I savored our good fortune. It was one of those perfect moments in time.
9. In September, O started pre-school at an amazing farm school about 20 minutes from our house. Each day her teachers post the plan for the day. O has already- among many awesome chores and accomplishments- collected eggs, milked Jane the cow, made butter- “buddah” as she pronounces it- (and eaten it on a “crackuh”), and helped care for baby snapping turtles.
10. A few short weeks later (also in September), my mom took this picture of me and my girl. We were working on a poster for O’s Dad’s hospital room. At this point he’d already been in a coma for 5 days. I had him transferred to a world-class hospital in Boston and one of his amazing nurses gave this “Get to Know Me” poster to O so that she and the other staff members could learn more about him. O took great care to help me answer the questions about her Dad.
11. We got by with the help of family and friends while G was in the hospital. On day 8 of his coma, Olivia and I had a Mom-Daughter day that included her getting a princess dress and a trip to Fenway. My brother Rob and my friend Jill joined us at Fenway. I was strung out from 8 days of trauma, turmoil and little-to-no sleep but with Jill’s enthusiasm (and my brother’s tireless commitment by my side) we managed to have an incredible, special, and even beautiful and joyful time at Fenway. A police Officer called O the “Princess of Fenway Park” and God Bless him for saying that because it really rang true and lifted all of us, and on that day, she truly was the Princess of Fenway Park!
12. 14 days after going in for a routine surgery, after 10 days in a coma, G was released from the ICU and sent home with me. My mom took this picture of the two of us just processing everything. Tired, amazed, happy, and most of all, grateful.
13. Two days after my 39th birthday G and I got married in a teeny tiny ceremony on our back deck. Surrounded by my parents and a small group of friends, we exchanged vows and promised to love one another forever. It was not the ceremony I’d envisioned over the years but in fact, it was even better than I could’ve ever hoped for. We kept it simple and sincere and just like that, we became husband and wife.
14. At Church one Sunday in November, after a sermon about why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important, I became overwhelmed with emotion as we sang this hymn “All Whose Boast It Is.” As a girl growing up in New Haven, CT, I wrote an essay about Amistad that was printed in the paper. I knew even then that justice and equality for all would be a defining struggle in my lifetime. But I never imagined all the regressions, all the hate and hurt, and all the rage and rampant racism we’d (still) be faced with 25 years later.
15. Drew Barrymore released her “long-awaited” (perhaps only by me and a few die-hard fans) follow-up to her book Little Girl Lost. Wildflower is a collection of stories from her well-lived life. I read it in one sitting. It is not very well written, but it comes from a good place. I enjoy her films and respect her never-say-die rise-from-the-ashes determination and grit. Like many of us, she has a new perspective on life now that she is a mother; she’s a total boss, flawed and unapologetic and beautiful; all she needs to do now is start running!
16. In December, O had her first ever ballet recital. It was a much-abbreviated Nutcracker performance. Her class was made up of 3 and 4 year olds so- as one might imagine– it was full of unintentional comedy. It was also a performance bursting with joy, as this picture of O clearly shows. She is such a happy girl. She is so not shy. And she brings so much joy. Love love love!
17. G celebrated his 50th birthday in December. To his surprise- and with most-to-all of the credit going to his friends Boat Dave and Godfather Dave– we feted him with a birthday bash. It was a huge success. I don’t think either of us took it for granted that we were celebrating such a milestone together. Here’s to another half century babe!
18. This is me last week, at 36 weeks pregnant. It’s all happening– this baby boy will be entering our world soon!
19. The night before Christmas…I took this picture just before bed because I didn’t want to forget this beautiful tree, with all the presents below…O did most of the decorating; she has a lock on Christmas spirit! It was a beautiful holiday.
20. This picture completes my 20 pictures of 2015 post because it perfectly sums up the end of this year: in from the cold after playing in the first of Winter’s snow, O has some hot cocoa with marshmallows, a smile on her face, and a positive attitude. There’s snow outside and we’re toasty and warm inside. Her baby brudduh will be here any day now (did I mention I’m full on pregnant?!) and…LIFE IS GOOD.
Wishing you all many more miles of running and continued blessings in 2016!
May you and yours have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
*(bonus) Emoji GD champagne toast picture from artist Taylor Swope of Little Hippie