In January, we found out that my brother-in-law had cancer.
And I was blessed to be able to spend timeÂ with him and my sister several times this past year.
Including one time in October when Parc Nicollet, where he is receiving treatment, colored their fountain pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Seeing the pink water in the fountain was bittersweet because I lost a friend to breast cancer over the Summer.Â Â She was a model ofÂ optimism and hope and living life to the fullest and, in theÂ end especially,Â she was a model of courage.
She left behind twin six-year-old daughters and a loving husband who posts about her on Facebook frequently.Â He posted on their anniversary which he usually forgot, and he posts about the trials of parenting two little girls including one hilarious post in which he lamented about the challenges of combing a curly headed girl’s hair to make it straight and a straight haired girl’s hair to make it curly when all he has to do to his hair is run a wash cloth through it.
We had a going away dinner for DSH’s former co-worker who is from China.Â She and her son have been livingÂ in this countryÂ while her husbandÂ continues to live and workÂ in China.Â For the past several years, they have only been able to seeÂ each other a few weeksÂ each year.Â He was able to visit to help her move from the Midwest to California where she was re-assigned.Â They are the sweetest family and her dream to remain in this country was realized in 2012 when she received her Permanent Resident Card.
Our middle child graduated from college.
And our oldest daughter finished her Master’s degree.Â Her husband had a surprise party for her.Â And she was even surprised.
Our youngest two daughters turned 20 in 2012.Â After 16 years of living with teenagers, we have NO MORE TEENAGERS!
For the next 7Â½ months, all five of our daughters will be in their 20s.Â Then our oldest turns 30.Â Yikes.Â How did that happen?
DSH and I love our nieces and nephews.Â It’s like having all the fun of kids without the responsibility.Â We share their joys and their sorrows.Â We enjoyed an unexpected visit from a niece who lives in San Diego.Â We had a nephew get engaged and then get un-engaged.Â We have a new great nephew – we now have one great niece and two great nephews.
We love spending time with all of our extended family and wish we could do more of it.Â That’s why making connections with extended family members this past year has been one of the many highlights of our year.
Another highlight was getting to spend an extended period of time traveling across country with my sister and her two children, my niece and my nephew.Â Both of them happen to be teenagers.Â I haven’t had enough teenagers in my life.
DSH andÂ I went on a college kids’ Spring Break trip to The Gulf with our middle child and a few of her sorority sisters.
And we partied with her at St. Pat’s.
Moving.Â We did a lot of moving.
We moved three kids home from college in the Spring.Â We moved a new graduate to her first home away from home three states away.Â Then we moved her back home over the holidays.
We moved our youngest two back to college in the Fall and then we moved one home right before Christmas because she will be studying abroad this next semester.
The moving continues into 2013.Â Our first move is to get our middle child from the Midwest to Arizona where she starts her next work assignment.
And, hopefully, sometime in 2013, we’ll be moving ourselves into a smaller home where we can age in place.Â And have fewer rooms, especially bathrooms, to clean.
Yes, we are Downsizing for Real.Â Besides trying to sell the house, I traded in my big car for a small hybrid.Â Yes, after years of mini-vans, station wagons, and SUVs, I am downsizing for real.
We’ve had fun.
We’ve enjoyed friends and family.
We’ve experienced the ups and downs, the highs and lows that come from experiencing life over a period of time.
We are trying to slow down and live more in the moment.
And we are trying to do all that while not eating dinner by 5 and going to bed by 9.Â No, I do not want to turn into an old person.
And I also do not want to turn into a Cat Lady.
Yes, it seems I have taken and posted more pictures of the cat this year than I haveÂ of the kids.
We hope that everyone is able to look back on 2012 without regret and that everyone is able to look forward to all that life brings their way in 2013.
Happy New Year!