Well, Christmas has come and gone and a new year has arrived. Happy New Year!
The family and I headed to Perth for a quick trip to celebrate Christmas with our families. Whilst there, we also celebrated my sister's birthday and Youngest Son's birthday (he finally reached double digits)! We also managed to catch up with a few friends.
The trip was hectic. Manic. I returned ill and exhausted. Eldest Son continues to have a terrible cough since the trip. It was too short and too over-scheduled. (Live and learn.) Still, we returned with some lovely memories and a sense of satisfaction that we managed a Christmas back in our hometown for the first time in five years.
In truth, the lead up to the trip was difficult for me. I wasn't certain that I really wanted to go at all. I felt rather stressed at the idea that I would be spending my first Christmas in Perth without my parents there. However, once I was there (and all the shopping had finally been completed - adding to the stress!), I managed to enjoy myself without thinking too much about my parents' absence. In fact, the whole experience felt more weird than it did sad in that I kept thinking I should see my parents, but I couldn't. I did, however, visit their shared grave on Christmas Eve, after visiting my sister's grave first. (Going to cemeteries is a very natural occurrence for me, as I spent most Sundays as a kid climbing in to my father's car to make the trip with my parents to visit my sister's grave. My boys find it just as normal as I do seeing that they end up visiting a grave site with me at some point during our return trips to Perth.)
Actually, the morning of the day I 'visited' my parents, I did feel quite sad. I desperately needed some alone time (I'm not great being around people constantly - thanks to growing up like an only child!), so I
As I walked back outside, I averted my gaze away from the carollers, swallowing the tears that were threatening to surface. Then, as I entered the store, I spotted a friend from Sydney - also a 'Perth girl' - standing in line, looking sadly out towards the singers. Up until that point, I had felt rather anxious all morning, and on seeing my friend, I felt a sudden sense of relief and calm wash over me. We both knew we were going to be in Perth and that we were staying not that far from each other (a happy coincidence), but running in to her seemed a blessing. You see, her father passed just months before Christmas and I knew when I saw her that she was feeling the exact same way I was. We didn't have to say too much about it, because we knew how each other felt. After hugging hello, we did a mixture of crying and laughing, and both felt better for it afterwards.
Days later, we were back in Sydney in time for New Years Eve. We hadn't planned anything, as we knew we'd be too tired (spot on), so it was a quiet night at home watching the fireworks from afar.
As I've written here before, I don't really 'do' new years' resolutions, but I always have thoughts about what I want out of a new year. There were a couple of years in the past that I wrote I wanted to write and read more, yet I didn't. This time last year I pretty much wrote the same wish for 2016, and guess what? I did it! Since starting this blog in 2012, I've written anywhere from only 9 to 14 blog posts in a given year. However, 2016 I topped them all by writing a total of 24 blog posts! Win.
I've also read more books in this past year. I was a member of a book club until I pulled out late last year, and with that I've felt less pressure with my reading. I can finally focus on my (still ever-growing) reading pile. I'm currently making my way through all the Liane Moriarty books. (Big Little Lies - which I actually read with my book club - and The Husband's Secret are my current faves.)
Together with my reading and writing, I also want to continue to do more paddling. (I'm bummed I didn't get to paddle in Perth. It was a mixture of having no time coupled with a very windy trip!) I expect, like last year, the majority of my paddles will happen in Autumn when the weather and water temps are the best. (Fingers crossed for the long Autumn days we experienced last year.)
I'm quietly confident 2017 will be a good year for me. Here's hoping I'm right.
Hope it's a good one for you too.