Friday, January 4, 2013

Hello 2013

Two nights ago, I had a terrible dream. I dreamt that I lost Ryan, my son. I was hunting high and low for him with this agonizing chill of fear in my chest and my throat, thinking that I'd never see him again. I woke in a fright, eyes wide in alarm, needing a little longer than usual to orientate myself, to assure myself that my son was safe in bed with me. I was wrapped around him and we were spooning in exactly the same position we were in when we fell asleep.

Richard has always told me that, in life, there are very few things that matter. Focus on those things. Everything else is just noise.

What my nightmare brought into sharp focus for me is that my family is what is essential to me. My little son, with his big round eyes and generous hugs. My darling daughter, with her ever-ready smile and her babbling sounds. My husband, with his laser-sharp wit and his bottomless well of patience.

It's not a surprise, of course. My family has always been my priority. Still, even though I am first and foremost a parent, I have always tried to make sure that the other areas of my life continue to be nourished. This year, I'm going to go easy on myself. Let a few things slide.

Hmm, perhaps this is not the most cheerful way to begin my first post of the year, but I think it's apt. I have a new mindset for 2013. Where previously it could be said that I was still treading the water between my pre-kids life and my family life, I am now firmly across the river. Anything that doesn't lead back to my family is going to sit very far down on my list of things that need attention.

In addition to identifying what is essential to me, 2012 also forced me to let go of what is no longer right for my life as it is now. I took a good, attentive look at what I held in my hand, acknowledged that what I held wasn't working anymore, and mustered the strength to let it go, keeping the faith that new happiness would eventually fill the void left behind.

In particular, friendships. Some childhood friendships which I'd thought would last forever, through thick and thin, instead withered quickly under the slightest test. It was painful for me. Until I realised that it wasn't painful for them and that they did not appreciate how painful it was for me. Those friendships were based solely on childhood memories, and these ladies were not interested in my adult life or even in getting to know the person I am now, kids included. With that understanding, it was easy for me to let go. We had grown apart.

Conversely, I discovered the strength of other friendships, some old and some not so old. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, to find such goodwill coming from such unexpected sources. In addition, there were the ever-faithful friendships, the ones whom I thank God every day for, the ones who shine even brighter now that I'm not distracted by the lesser friendships. With my growing awareness of how rare a true friend is, I cherish these golden friendships ever more deeply and ever more gratefully, and consider myself extremely blessed.

I also made a lot of new friends in 2012, friends who share my (present) interests and lifestyle, and hopefully, friends who will grow with me from here on.

So 2012 was a year of pruning and fine-tuning my list of friends and, in truth, that exercise brought me a deep sense of calm and peace. You know what they say - one of the steps to achieving inner peace is to simplify and de-clutter. I guess that applies to the people in your life as well.

Simplifying and de-cluttering has been on my mind for the past couple of months now, especially in relation to our home. I have been trying to make small improvements, to get our little home organised and free of clutter. For example, we recently gave away our four dining chairs. Tiger was sleeping in them and leaving his hair all over the cushions. I had to spend hours brushing the hair out and if I didn't, Richard would have to use newspaper to cover the seat before sitting down. It was ridiculous to have four designer chairs just for our cat to sleep in, so one day I told Richard to get rid of the chairs. So we did. And I feel so happy about it.

I've still got a long way to go however, so this will be a continuing goal in 2013. I will get there. I will not be defeated by my own home.

The most significant event of 2012 was, without a doubt, the arrival of our darling babydoll, Rachel. With every passing day, she is earning her place in our family, stamping her mark on our hearts and charming everyone she meets. There are the usual comparisons with her brother but she is proving, everyday, that she is her own person, with her very own personality and character, her own opinions and views, needs and wants.

This year will be full of milestones for her, a very memorable year indeed, and we are looking forward to sharing and celebrating those precious moments. She is our ray of sunshine, pure and innocent, our little baby girl, and we have nothing but love, love and love for her.

Ryan turns four in a few weeks, a delightful age and an important stage. He is developing and progressing so beautifully, it really amazes me. For the past week, he has been going around the house calling himself "Little Mouse". Richard is "Papa Mouse" and I am "Mama Mouse". It's hilarious.

Last night, he told me a bedtime story. It went like this:

"Once upon a time there was a little spider. The spider climbed up the chocolate tree. The spider ate all the chocolate and fell down into the water. The spider took a submarine. The submarine is yellow. The spider climbed up the ladder. Incy Wincy Spider! No, Incy Wincy Spiesky! No, Incy Wincy Spies Again! Spider eat the Spiesky Spies! After that, the spider ate 100 chocolate trees. Then open the door and the spider come out with Papa. Spider play with Papa! And that's the end of the story. The End."

Oh, Ryan. You bring us joy every day, just by being you. We love you, love you, love you.

Ryan continues his various classes this year - violin, swimming, and Shichida. M asked why we chose violin instead of piano. Well, we haven't ruled out the piano actually (does that sound kiasu? haha). I started learning the piano when I was about four years old so I have nothing but love for it. I intend to introduce both instruments to Ryan eventually (plus a few more!). If he likes them both, good. If he doesn't like either of them, that's fine too. I did not want to introduce both the violin and the piano at the same time. I did some reading and research and found out that, generally speaking and for various reasons, children can start on the violin at an earlier age than they should be starting on the piano, so at 3 years old, violin it was. Still, at this stage, I consider it very much exploration and experimentation, instead of hardcore learning.

For Shichida, I mentioned previously that I expect things to step up dramatically this year. I've always felt that the activities for ages 0-3 were so easy that anyone and everyone could execute them so I'm hoping to see activities that are a lot more challenging for Ryan this year.

2013 is going to be a hard work year for Richard and me. Richard is taking on more and more responsibility at the office and, the more he proves himself capable for the task, the more responsibility he gets. On my end, I have to work extra hard to "make up" for the time I was away on maternity last year. I am still studying for a course which I started last year (it finishes in April 2013) and I do intend to continue indulging in my little creative pastimes - photography, sewing, blogging, cooking, etc. - plus who knows, I might even pick up some new skills this year.

So, goodbye 2012 and thank you. Thank you for clarity of purpose, strength of heart, and for bringing our babydoll to us.

And hello 2013. I've got a lot in store for you, so I hope you're ready.


MieVee @ said...

Happy new year to you, Leona! I can identify with a lot that you mentioned. Going to organise my home even better this year too. All the best! :)

Terri said...

Love this post. If I may add, the best part about Richard is that he tempers that laser sharp wit with kindness. And I'm making a note to self on that noise bit.

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