Wet and cold today in Austin. The sky is pallid grey. The air damp, too lethargic to actually rain. Walking my dog, even hat, coat and scarf are not enough to keep out the cold. My chilled fingers long for the mittens I have misplaced somewhere in the house.
Back in the house, while munching through large bowl of healthy Bran Flakes, I read about Donald Trump’s top 5 racist remarks in 2017, while gloomily glancing at the newly restocked fish tank. Over the last 5 days 7 fish have died inexplicably. I watch them warily for signs of illness.
Thus 2017 ends.
It all seems fittingly appropriate for a year which brought little joy and so much pain.
At the start of 2017 (unusually – as its normally at least 3) I wrote down only one New Years wish. I was being deliberately modest. I did not wish for more things. I didn’t ask for our green-cards to be granted, or a job for me, or a new house, or to complete a course (though we did get two of those). No all I asked for was ‘A Happy Healthy family‘ . A wish that in 2017 was so devastatingly unfulfilled.
Instead of health and happiness the first 4 months of 2017 were decimated first by my sons struggle with a chronic mental health condition which made school almost unbearable for him. Then secondly, in February, by my daughter being kicked in the head and knocked to the floor in her dance class at school. This caused a massive concussion which severely incapacitated her for months and put her under the ongoing care of a neurologist to manage her (still frequent) cluster migraines.
For months, not a week went by, without either one, or both, of them being too ill to attend school.
Then, as they began to recover, came April and my mum’s cancer diagnosis just before her 80th Birthday. Her illness then overshadowed the whole of the long American summer vacation. Turning our UK holiday from breezy beach BBQs to time hanging round hospital rooms.
Her sudden death in September shook my world. It also overshadowed the kids fall semester. They missed school twice, first to see her for the last time, then for the funeral. These absences increased the, already significant, academic pressure on them both. My frustration with the education system here doubled in the face of bureaucratic disregard for their pain or difficulties.
Finally, just as the clouds seemed to part this month, my husband’s main support, his gran, died. So 2017 in effect took both our ‘mothers’ within 3 months of each other.
So goodbye 2017.
I won’t miss you one little bit.
And as for 2018’s New Year’s Resolutions, well part of me is tempted to wish for poverty and joblessness, since I got the opposite of what I asked for last year. But fate just might enjoy granting those.
Instead I am taking the serenity prayer to heart and making different kinds of wishes this year. What are they? Wait and see.