Well, with some strategically placed undereye filler and a serious dose of consistent "happy", I am leaving 2017 in the rearview with a smile on my face, as well as a song in my heart.
For my tribe, 2017 had some pretty memorable highlights...
- Toby hitting me in the head with an oar while in Puerto Rico, in the pitch black, damn near taking my head off my shoulders (My San Juan souvenir was a split ear)
- Finally prying Kendall away from her demanding job for a short but much needed trip to sun and fun, and seeing her exhale
- Watching the true miracle happiness can bring as Culley continues to move forward in her life, hopefully leaving the mystery illness behind for good
- Putting a moving date on the calendar - ten years and 3 months in the making
- Taking a "honeymoon" with Rudy
- Arriving in Telluride and his arms, realizing I finally get to stay
That last one is major. No matter how I have ever tried to translate our lifestyle, I have never really been able to capture and share with you how HARD it has been. Love and commitment are obviously the main superglue that made this last, but the past decade has been rife with heartaches, frustrations, self protection, walling off at times, and a never ending, tide in-tide out series of drama.
So I admit I was on the same page as so many of you who left messages of "There will be an adjustment", "It will be hard" in terms of Rudy and I finally living together again. I was ready for awkwardness, trepidation, some fear even, before life would finally find its new rhythm.
Steeled for all of that, no one has been more surprised than he and I to only find happiness. Calm. Peace. And better, grown up versions of each other.
No more drama of having to say goodbye repeatedly. No more loneliness. No misunderstandings brought on by text's and email's inabilities to properly color a line with the right emotion or intent. Just happy.
And I have been completely immersing myself in this new sensation, in my new locale, in my renewed marriage, in feeling free to let down every guard I have carefully crafted to protect my heart over the past decade. I know Rudy feels exactly the same.
(Taken on Christmas Day. This is literally our favorite picture EVER of us together. Because there is nothing behind those smiles except genuine happiness and security.)
Our 2017 is closing out having had our family together for the holidays. Sharing our Sharpness for the second Christmas with Sean, a remarkable young man who has freed Culley from so much of what her past had inflicted. I see her being happy, grounded, breathing fully. 2017 ends with watching Kendall continue to carve out a great life for herself in Dallas, even as she is immersed in another round of grad school applications and waiting. And Toby - time has marched on so beautifully with Toby. Happy, calm, forward looking, engaged, not even minding living with mom and dad till spring. (Note - life will always have its challenges for Toby, and depressive aspects are not suddenly vaporized for anyone - but the sun shines a lot more these days.)
Culley & Sean - those smiles mean everything
Toby, Ken, our timeshare son Mitchell who has been in our lives since the day he was born, and Culley
My goofy, wonderful kids
Being admonished by our children to "Stop it!" as he and I constantly kiss, touch, and whisper is wonderful. Being told by Culley, who intuited so much of what he and I both struggled through while apart, that it makes her happy to just see us that way together, that she loves Facetiming us to find us repeatedly snuggled on the couch together, and happy, is beyond gratifying.
Last night I was asked on FB if my "snark had died" since so many of my posts have been happy of late. Fair question, but no, my snark is stronger than ever, and will greet you all again here as 2018 kicks off. It's just that reaming out Donald Trump, or waxing crapsodic about the world's woes has taken a backseat to focusing fully on my life. And finally, fully, freely being HAPPY.
Now, with that out of the way, I am honored to be able to share some pictures with you of your Yes, Virginia efforts. As always, please understand that no matter how hard I try to convey the magic of this space, it IS still the internet and people are hesitant about sharing too much, especially in terms of their children. Combine that caution with the unfortunate shame so many feel about asking for help, and I am left with a lot of emailed gratitude, but also a lot of requests for anonymity.
Sit back, and smile...
Incidentally, our own Katy made that gorgeous blanket keeping that gorgeous little baby girl snuggy.
As I say goodbye to 2017, I want to thank you all for sticking with me, my family, our adventures, and this blog through another year. While I have not met the lion's share of you, you are considered to be family. Your love, support, laughter, and willingness to share have all been pivotal in helping us, and mostly me, navigate the past decade. I wish you all love, laughter, renewal in your own relationships, and the courage to take that leap towards something that scares you, but you want so very badly. It may turn out better than you could have ever possibly imagined.
Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve, and I will see you, snark fully intact and ablaze, when the calendar turns to 2018.