Happy New Year everyone- 2012? Bring it right on. My baby is turning 2 tomorrow, then I'm due another one on the 21st... Errr help! I've also started with vacuum packing bags and boxing up books to prepare for our imminent move to Madrid going ahead at the beginning of March... But let me reflect on the year that was 2011.
Looking back at my 2011 diary it was chocablock full of playdates, meetups, blog events, Buggyfit and a sprinkling of work, reflecting my life as a mostly full time mum to a 1 year old. Leon turned 1 at the beginning of 2011 and has developed from commando crawling to all fours speedy tortuga, walking, talking, imaginative playing, handsome little boy. He's started to throw the odd tantrum, but well- I was expecting it and understand that it's part of showing his frustrations and communication and a rite of passage.
I've enjoyed this whole journey, but have found the days to merge into one, my life seemingly mundane, hardly going out in the evenings, and getting dissillusioned at not carrying out my plans such as using the empty shops in Twickenham's high streets (decent pop up shops, galleries, spaces to benefit local mums to get together and make stuff), when a few emails and forming a team of some sort would have propelled it along to something useful and fun. I kept making excuses- similar to my papier mâché creations where I made over a dozen deer heads at the end of the year but wasn't proud of them so didn't want to promote them and many are just sitting on top of my fridge or hung up in the living room staring back at me saying "What are you going to do with us? Surely you won't keep us all?!"
In spring we planned a new addition to the family which materialised quickly and I spent a lot of time thinking about my future - missing work and everything that comes with it- office life, financial independence, responsibility for an end-product, just stepping out on my own, dressing up... And I think I'm experiencing an overload of female companionship. I'm all for sisterhood but I miss the frankness and hilarity of male work colleagues- I've definitely become more shy around men too - a vulnerable feeling since becoming a mama which is weird!
Mid-summer one night, my sister woke me with a call: my dad had suffered a stroke and had been taken to hospital- I saw him the next day, comatose and helpless- it was critical and all I could do was speak to him- not knowing if he could hear me. I spent one night in hospital with my mum sitting by his bed, sleeping with my head by his legs, holding his hand waking every so often when he moved or changed breathing, hoping he'd 'snapped out of it' or worried that this was it- his moment of departure. It took longer than a couple of days, but he left, peacefully, without pain, with my mum by his side. And that was it- I'd lost my father at a time I felt I needed him most. Mid-twenties, lost and uncertain. He'd always pull me into thought-provoking conversation that I felt I've lacked since motherhood. Although he wasn't well (Parkinsonian motor symptoms), was slow and tired and I often lost patience with listening to his economic theories and solutions to business problems I'd moan about from work- he was there and was my father. Losing him scared me thinking my son wouldn't remember his Grumpa and that my unborn baby wouldn't ever get to meet him. It's a horrible feeling when showing Leon a family photo and he could name everyone but my dad- I think it came back to him but he calls him Pokpa.
Soon after, hubby revealed we had the possibility of moving to Madrid for a couple of years to open an office for his work- what...?! Great for him, but wouldn't I be abandoning my mum and sisters? We were planning on moving anyway- to Paris- but Madrid made sense. I was sold on the sun, large, cheap flat, family friendly culture and a change I'd been craving. And it wasn't that far to London... So we went for it.
We saw the year out fabulously with a Noche Buena botana/posada on the 24th with a Mary & Joseph vs innkeepers sing-off accompanied by my mum on guitar, followed by banging the hell out of a piñata and then dining oysters French style to mix it up. Christmas day was all traditional and lovely but strange without dad. We lit a fire in his honour as he loved them so much. Leon made Christmas magical again. We didn't venture far for NYE and hubby and I continued our 2 year tradition of staying in, in style: dressing up and cooking a seafood feast with bubbles. I definitely don't feel I'm missing out on the NYE fun when wearing my gold glitter dress and massive earrings - even with a mahoosive bump and bare feet- and hubby donned a 3-piece suit and slicked back hair (very rare) Boardwalk Empire style. I admit I got a bit emotional when we toasted to 2012 and I realised I'd permanently lost my dad in 2011, but by the end of the spectacular BBC fireworks display I was in a festive mood once more. We even got to wish Leon a Happy New Year when thumping beats from the neighbours woke him up.
2011 was meant to be my year of decision-making as I'm usually so indecisive and I think it was, but I wish 2012 to be a year of productivity and get moving with my life - which in my view will be easier that we're starting anew in a foreign country... But I'd also like to keep in mind the following:
- simplify my life and organise my spaces, finish projects
- not get stressed out at the tiniest things
- not sit on ideas- have the courage to put them into action
- find like-minded people in Madrid to collaborate with
- hold more dinner parties
- blog more often
I wish you all an excellent, happy and healthy 2012 x