Well it was better than last year wasn’t it. If we had to compare the two, although still with it’s challenges, 2021 was an improvement on 2020. (January and February 2021 aside, a period of time I have mentally blocked out and am still recovering from).
As well as all the awful bits, this year has been packed with joyful moments we’ve actually been able to share with other humans, face to face, as opposed to on a screen. Something I’ve learnt not to take for granted.
We celebrated Leo and Maia’s first and eighth Birthdays respectively. Maia had a climbing party with a small group of friends and Leo a garden party at his grandparents’ house. He bawled his eyes out when we all sang Happy Birthday. Even now he is tentative at the sight of a candle lit Birthday cake.
Joel and I attended a grand total of four glorious weddings (three in the space of a month, it began to feel like a fun hobby). I was a bridesmaid for the first time and Maia a gorgeous flower girl. – It was at this particular wedding Joel was labelled “such an amazing Dad!” for having Leo all day. I quietly rolled my eyes, yes I was incredibly grateful, but I did wonder if they’d have said the same thing about me having Leo all day. (They wouldn’t, it would just be called “being a mother”. Joel, a brilliant father, has Leo many of the hours he is not working or sleeping, this is nothing extraordinary, we call it sharing the parental load.)
Speaking of parental loads, we welcomed the arrival of Joel’s beautiful baby nephew, who for a few short minutes makes me miss those blurry newborn days. Then the very real memories of sheer exhaustion come flooding in and I quickly return to my senses.
Maia began both Brownies and Stagecoach this year and loved them both, performing in Aladdin, her first production, in December. Not sure who was more excited, her or me.
Leo took his first steps a couple of months ago, a moment I’ll never forget. He’s taken very little since. Well he’s taken a few, but always in between people sat close together, or walking along holding someone’s hand, which is very cute. No independent walking. We are waiting patiently.
Joel started a new job this year and prior to that decided to try veganism. I didn’t think it would last, but he has stuck it out. (The veganism, not the job, the job is going swimmingly.)
Despite missing eggs, Joel remains steadfast in his desire to remain a good vegan. (Which means no flexibility, or “having the odd bite of Toblerone” as I’ve tried to get him to do.) He is admirably resolute. Even with me accidentally feeding him gluten-free cake.
Joel: “You know the best thing in that hamper you made? That toffee cake! It’s amazing!”
*warning bells ring in my mind, it can’t possibly be THAT good, it’s vegan cake…
Me: “…Are you sure it’s vegan?”
I’d hastily made up his Birthday hamper, full of vegan snacks, and had failed to check the ingredients of a certain toffee cake I’d shoved in. Everything was from the vegan section, I’d clearly veered into the gluten-free section by mistake. Sure enough that delicious toffee cake was indeed packed with eggs.
His new colleagues have already kindly gifted him a cucumber (on his Birthday) and a cauliflower to mark his apparently alternative albeit enviable and noble lifestyle choice.
As Maia took to the stage for the first time, I returned to it, in the form of acting classes. One hour on a Saturday afternoon with my favourite teacher and some wonderful old friends. I can’t wait for more next year.
Whilst the weight of the pandemic still hangs over us, it cannot take away from the countless happy moments over the past year. If anything, it’s a reminder to be both present and grateful, for all the good bits.
2021 you’ve been a glorious rollercoaster.
25 things that have made me happy this year:
1. Maia going back to school in March. Enough said.
2. Seeing friends again face to face after months and months.
3. A gorgeous week in Devon with Joel’s family thanks to the generosity of his Uncle and Aunty.
4. A beautiful hot sunny day on the beach and swimming in the sea.
5. Swimming in a heated indoor pool and taking Leo swimming for the first time.
6. Going for more runs.
7. Parenting the s*** out of life with my partner, who understands my need to run, journal, shout, cry, and disappear upstairs sometimes to jump up and down in our bedroom – all in an attempt to stay sane.
8. Taking Leo to baby classes and meeting more Mums.
9. Watching Joel’s sister and three of my best friends get married.
10. Dancing at those weddings.
11. Being a bridesmaid and seeing Maia be a flower girl.
12. Going to the theatre.
13. Returning to acting classes.
14. The acquisition of Audible. (Thanks to Joel, who’d had enough of me complaining I don’t consume enough books).
15. Finishing some brilliant books, in particular Girl Woman Other.
16. Posting more on the blog.
17. Making my children laugh.
18. Seeing my parents’ joy around the children.
19. Watching Maia’s reading and writing continue to improve. Seeing Maia read to herself.
20. Watching Jane the Virgin and Never Have I Ever with Maia.
21. Hearing Leo’s vocabulary slowly grow. In particular “Mum” and “More”.
22. Painting the walls of our home and continuing to build up our gallery walls.
23. Spending time with my cousins.
24. Visiting my Aunty and enjoying all her homemade cakes.
25. A few hours alone once a week when Leo goes to his grandparents.
20 things I look forward to in 2022:
1. More acting classes.
2. Writing and posting more on the blog.
3. Short courses.
4. Getting paid to write.
5. Connecting with other writers, bloggers and creatives.
6. Theatre trips.
7. London days.
8. Beach days.
9. Taking Leo swimming.
10 Using my “good camera” even more.
11. The weddings of two of my best friends.
12. Reading all the books and plays I was given for Christmas.
13. Seeing Maia’s reading continue to improve.
14. Date nights where I can eat food at my own slow pace and not have to worry anyone else’s food is too hot or wipe any food off anyone’s face, bar my own.
15. Sitting in my parents’ garden with everyone in the summer.
16. Running more frequently.
17. Seeing friends I didn’t see at all in 2021.
18. Spending more time with my Aunty.
19. Painting more canvases.
20. The decorator coming to paint all the parts of the house I cannot quite manage.