And, as such, I have said very little about either my vacation experiences or my thoughts on the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. Being that I finally have a quiet moment to myself not earmarked for sleep, I'll go for it.
2010 was a year of healing. 2009 may have been the worst year in many ways, but 2010 was when we finally allowed ourselves to hit bottom and realize that we were broken people, and thus, the rebuilding could begin. Having my parents here, acting not just as loving grandparents but as caretakers for both the children and us, meant that we could focus on exactly what the constant fighting had done to us. Fighting cancer for our son while fighting just to keep our younger son happy for more than 2 minutes, while fighting with a bumbling idiot over my husband's career (a fight that while we didn't win it, we have heard about the results of this bumbling idiot's work, and he does a crappy job while teaching false discipline and phony confidence--no use teaching field commands if you can't teach actual playing and marching. Yeah, second-to-last in championships and outscored by our favorite group 2 band when you're a group 4. I'm talking about you, you overhyped buffoon. Looks like "cleaning house" didn't work out as well as you thought). Once we were able to stop fighting everything so much, once we were able to take care of ourselves as a family, we saw how much it hurt that we hadn't been able to do that before.
So we went to therapy. We started DOING things like playing in orchestra (me) and singing in a chorus (him). I did a little substitute-teaching in the city schools. He got a long-term sub job for the rest of the year, teaching math. While that ended poorly due to them not being able to find his gradebook, and way too much animosity being passed around over that, he was very successful. Granted, he now knows that he'd rather shove a fork in his eye than teach middle school math again.
We had two major miracles in the first half of this year. The first was that our giant scare at the end of 2009, where we thought that The Boy had a new tumor in his liver, turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. He was opened up for surgery, and the internal ultrasound that was run over his kidney and liver, after the spot that was supposed to be there, wasn't, confirmed that The Boy continued to show no evidence of disease on his treatment plan and could continue with what he was doing instead of us facing the prospect of a Phase I trial or having them give up. The second was that they took The Boy off treatment on April 1. April Fools' Day, you know. Not that I thought they were joking, and not that it was entirely good news--they were concerned about his kidney function and the fact that he was taking longer to recover, even from reduced doses, led them to believe that they'd done enough. Also, the fact that many other kids had received portions of this treatment without completing it and remained cancer-free.
Certainly we're not out of the woods yet, as we have to re-check every 3 months to make sure that the cancer stays away, and we get so anxious during that time leading up to those check. Scanxiety, even though he doesn't get CT scans but instead has ultrasound and X-ray.
Cancer treatment left The Boy with some cool scars as well as hypertension, controlled by medicine, and mild to moderate hearing loss. Fun souvenirs. He got the hearing aids, as I mentioned, and he is doing reasonably well with them. We haven't yet gotten to the point where he just puts them on all day. You know--set it, and forget it! But he has worn them at least for several hours at a time and should be able to get through his preschool day without a problem.
And yes, The Boy starts preschool this week! I'm excited. I'm nervous. I really hope he doesn't poo his pants too many times. I hope the other kids are nice to him, hearing aids and all. I'm thrilled that he is finally allowed to be around other kids.
Topic shift: vacation! Our New Jersey trip was enjoyable, although both too long and poorly planned. Next time I'm going to have to make arrangements with some friends ahead of time, because otherwise we just won't get it done. We left the week pretty open, because priority #1 was my brother-in-law and his kids. They'll probably not be making another trip out for awhile, but at any rate, we still had a great time with them. Our niece and nephew were great with our kids. It was particularly thrilling to watch the boys play.
Even so, it seemed as though we could do without such a long visit. Not that anything went wrong, and we really enjoyed ourselves, but we probably could stand to visit for a shorter time next time.
We did spend New Years Eve with our usual crowd. Except now it's a family party because just about everyone has kids. Great fun watching the kids interact (and pile-on, just like the grownups do).
New Years Day involved a family brunch (I made pancakes, eggs, and steak. What?) followed by dinner with Musical Daddy's BFF and family. They have an adorable niece who also came. She is 2 and loves to play with boys; fortunately, we had 2 for her!
So. Another year. I've never been one for big resolutions and dogmatic efforts to adhere to something without actually making the right changes. I like the idea, though, of using the new year as a stopping point, to recenter and refocus. I can't resolve to get a good job, because that's not entirely in my control--all I can do is make the effort.
I will resolve to continue to be patient. My children are lovely and wonderful, and so smart and so sweet, but sometimes they try my patience. Most of the time, I set the right tone for problem-solving and resolution; I'd like that to be even more of the time, because nothing ever gets done when anyone is screaming.
I will make a generalized resolution to be more active. Just for the sake of getting off my behind and taking the kids out more places where I have to chase them around. They need to be more active as well, although they do fine running circles around the house.
I don't have any major self-improvement projects on the horizon, just the usual. And I'll try to write in my blog a little bit more often.
2010 is history; 2011 is here so let's live it.