For the sake of completeness and ritual and all that mess, I feel I must continue the tradition of filling out the year-end questionnaire for 2013, even though it feels like we're already halfway through 2014. I have to say, 2014 is really not impressing me so far. Time to shape up, New Year! Maybe it's waiting for Chinese New Year to not suck.
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Took my very own daughter to the New York City Ballet Nutcracker. I'd only been waiting to do that since roughly 1981, when I received A Very Young Dancer for my birthday and read about Balanchine's version for the first time. Also, held a cannonball jellyfish (against my will, but Felicity thought it was really cool). Drove on the Caratoke HIghway ("We've got corn/and random fires!/on the Caratoke Highway" -- kind of an inside joke, never mind). Took Felicity to Victorian Gardens; nearly died of heart failure riding some kiddie rides. Became a godparent (truly a thrilling moment when I was asked, and yes, I cried).
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any last year. This year, I am not making resolutions, per se, but my theme (that sounds REALLY dumb, sorry) or concept or governing principle (there, that's better) for this year is LOVE. Give more, receive more; spread it, talk about it, look for ways to exemplify it.
3. Did anyone close to you have a child? Yes! Several people, actually! I got some good baby-huffing in this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Not anyone very close to me, but someone I went to high school with died in a total freak accident, which was incredibly sad.
5. Where did you travel? To Half Moon Bay, CA, with Allison for our childhood friend's wedding (SUPER FUN); to Palmetto Bluff, SC, with Joe and Felicity (highly recommend); to Duck, NC, with our whole family (thumbs up for that, too); to Nantucket, MA (of course) with Joe and Felicity (ahhhhhhh); to Chicago for the marathon with Joe and Felicity (yay!). We had a great year of trips!
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Still coveting that third bedroom. As usual, I'd like to have a more serene attitude about...well, everything, and I'd like to take a little more time for myself, to do things to fill the parts of me that get emptied out with all the work/home/life-y kind of stuff. My current plan is to start taking a dance class sometime soon (if I can find anything to wear that doesn't make me want to kill myself when I stand in front of a wall of mirrors). Gulp!
7. What moments from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory? The Nutcracker; Christmas morning; the Christmas pageant; Felicity walking down the beach in Nantucket with an extra pail and shovel to share with a new friend; Felicity hugging her cousins and learning to swim (with floaties) by herself in the pool; riding a bike through Spanish moss-draped trees at Palmetto Bluff, with Felicity asleep in the baby seat; Allison getting blown back into the dining room at the Ritz with a s'more in hand at our friend's wedding. And so many little moments, especially seeing Felicity's face light up whenever she's having fun -- like on the carousel or the amusement park rides, or when she watches "Frosty the Snowman" (when he says, "Happy birthday!" she gets the sweetest grin and giggles every time) or even just when she sees me coming to pick her up at school on Fridays. A year's worth of hugs and snuggles and spontaneous "I love yous" from my sweet girl, who loves to press her cheek against mine and have me press my hand against her face. Her giggle as we say silly things before bed during "Snuggle and Talk" time. Oh, and when Felicity was listing the reasons she loved me on the way home from school one Friday and she said, "Mama, I love you because you're my best friend."
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? All the stuff I did at work, mainly. I had an insanely busy and intense year, and I survived. Also helping Felicity get rid of her pacifier and not keening with grief when she turned from a toddler into a big girl in so many ways, from sleeping in a real bed to having real, thoughtful conversations to looking at least five years old all the time to getting rid of Pull-Ups for good. It was a pretty momentous year in terms of her development.
9. What was your biggest failure? I'm still pretty moody and did not always maintain an even keel or display the utmost patience with the people closest to me.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Last winter, I was sick ALL the time and had viral bronchitis, with a terrible hacking cough, for seriously like two months. I also had one day where I had vertigo and vomiting, which was a real blast -- though Felicity took care of me and brought me water and blankets and was generally awesome about it. Other than that, nothing notable.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Plane tickets and hotel/house stays for all those trips. Oh, and my brother and I hired a private chef to make a fancy dinner for my parents' 45th anniversary when we were all in NC -- money WELL spent, let me tell you. I wish I could do that every night at home.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Felicity's. She has handled so many transitions and done so well with all of them (...most of the time) this year, and she just has the biggest and most precious heart. I almost can't even believe how sweet and generous she is a lot of the time. Witness: "Mama, I'm using my new toothbrush! It is pink! I love it so. I picked it out at Duane Reade! I am going to have to write them a thank you card to say, 'Thank you for this beautiful toothbrush.' I won't even have to mail the card because Duane Reade is right on the corner! I can just take it over there myself and put it in their Thank You box. If they have one." I can't even handle it.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Congress. Get it together, people.
14. Where did most of your money go? This answer is always going to be the same. Taxes, mortgage, childcare+school.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Our trips. Having our whole family together. Seeing my parents at Christmas. Christmas itself, and the Nutcracker. Spending a whole weekend alone with Allison. My friends' babies. The NYCB gala.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013? I am still listening to music from like five years ago, for the most part, so I don't even know what would be representative of the current year. Maybe "World in Our Hands" by the Jesus Halo, because I ran to it a lot.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? About the same all around, actually.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Spending time with faraway (and sometimes even local) friends and family in person, instead of making do with email and texting. Being more loving and kind to my beleaguered spouse.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Same as last year and the year before: Worrying about things I can't control; getting annoyed by things I can't control; trying to control things I can't control. I think I was a bit better about it, though. Maybe.
20. How did you spend Christmas? We spent it here at home with my parents, and it was phenomenal.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? This question is kind of dumb -- but yes. Repeatedly, with a little sunshine fairy.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Happy Endings, dammit all to hell that it got canceled.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not that I can think of. I try not to hate, as a general rule.
24. What was the best book you read? THE GOLDFINCH, OMG.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? As a general rule, I don't make musical discoveries.
26. What did you want and get? Many fun evenings out, including the NYCB gala; a multipack of massages that I will be using this year; more time with friends; great family trips; kudos at work for doing a good job; alone time with Allison; some great new friendships.
28. What did you want and not get? A third bedroom, a terrace, and central air.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? Hmmmmm. I guess The Great Gatsby, even though I strenuously object to the casting for Nick Carraway. I am drawing a blank on anything else I even saw (zero in the theater, by the way). I liked The Way, Way Back also. I know there was something else, but I can't think of it. Guess it wasn't that awesome.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 38. Oof. We went out to dinner with friends and ate and drank ourselves silly; plus, Kevin Bacon and his lovely wife were there so it felt extra festive.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having someone come to our home every night and cook dinner for us.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? FEH. I am sick and tired of clothes. I want a whole new wardrobe to appear in my closet, with zero effort on my part.
33. What kept you sane? Running. Church. My awesome coworkers. My family and friends, of course.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Michele Obama. She's a class act.
35. What political issue stirred you the most? Gun control and marriage equality. At least we are making great strides with one of these.
36. Who did you miss? Pretty much everyone I care about who does not live right next door, which is TOO MANY PEOPLE. (Same as last year, same as forever unless people wise up and move into my building.)
37. Who was the best new person you met? I have met some great people this year, but more importantly I have deepened some friendships that are turning out to be really important to me. Love that. And also, the babies I met this year, in particular my godchild.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Only connect... That's why we're here, y'all. For each other. Love and be loved.