reflecting on 2012

For months now I have been thinking about how much this year sucked. I was always careful to clarify that it could have been much worse, it’s not like it was tragic or anything, but it has been very, very difficult. We had all kinds of illness last winter with pertussis (aka Whooping Cough), which we only figured out in hindsight. My baby had feeding problems galore, partly due to multiple food intolerances (gluten, dairy, soy, corn and tomatoes that we know of), which are still problematic today, and partly due to the severe nutritional deficiencies we discovered in August/September (a vicious circle). The challenges continued through the fall with the baby still losing his appetite for days or weeks, and a couple of very stressful nursing strikes, and I felt really, really overwhelmed this fall, trying to get all the different supplements into him and tempting him to eat food. We’ve also had to change our diet drastically, going from mostly vegetarian fare heavy with wheat, tomatoes, corn and cheese, to largely meat and vegetable-type meals with gluten-free, home-baked snacks. It was so difficult, many nights I wished I could just not eat anything, because I just couldn’t figure out what to make.

Anyways, just now I asked my husband how we wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We won’t be getting a babysitter and leaving the house or anything, but I felt like we needed to consciously say goodbye to 2012 (the phrase, “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out,” kept going through my mind) and articulate some hopes and dreams for 2013. And then we started talking about the things that didn’t suck. So here are the reasons 2012 didn’t suck as much I thought it did:

1. My husband got a new job that he really likes!
2. I was part of an amazing exhibition at a public gallery, for which a catalogue with a critical essay was produced!
3. I got a grant to pay for most of my exhibition costs!
4. My oldest started homeschooling! Although he was doing fine in school, my husband and I got really excited about the possibilities that homeschooling could offer him.
5. We grew food in a community garden — and harvested 50 pounds of potatoes, 25 pounds of carrots, 12 pounds of chard, 6 pounds of beets and unweighed basil, cilantro, lettuce and cayenne peppers. Not bad for a first effort!
6. Despite his ongoing eating and nutrition issues, my youngest has been developing like mad, well ahead on pretty much all the milestones, and he’s showing signs of a wicked sense of humour. He certainly keeps us on our toes and it often feels relentless and exhausting, but he is also a big joy.
7. We’re transforming our whole diet and way of cooking.
8. We’ve transformed our grocery shopping and are buying a lot more local food and grass-fed meats.
9. I tried many new skills. I experimented with canning and sewing and am looking forward to doing more next year.
10. I quit my job to begin a new, more home-based life.

As my husband and I thought of the good things about 2012, we realized that it’s really been a year of transformation on almost every front. No wonder it felt so hard!