I didn’t do a review of 2017. I was so blindsided by the sleeplessness and the stress of having a 3 month old who never slept at night and a 3 year old who wanted me awake in the day, that is was all i could do to get from one end of the day to the other without breaking down.
At the end of 2018 I still have two children. But the now one-year-old sleeps better, and we all have long since settled into a routine. The days have a manageable ebb and flow to them. I feel like I’m coping more days than I feel like I’m surviving. And that in itself is a huge highlight.
I have a few and I’ll list them month by month.
- CC turned 4 in April. This birthday was her first ‘big girl’ style party, where her own friends were invited, not just mine and K’s. I am so proud of how friendly and outgoing she is. She has some close friends, though she’s only 4, who she delighted in inviting to her party. CC is my delight; a passionate and compassionate, strong-willed and gentle, playful and cuddly girl. We rented a small function room for her party, as we have no living space on our bus. I went a bit Pinterest-mad. I made two (yes, two!) cardboard castles, a castle cake and a crown decorating station.
- This website. I set in July 2018, and even went all in and bought the domain. I have enjoyed making it, figuring out how things should be and where things should go. (I am still learning.) I have loved having this blog space to share my thoughts. FionaSGilesWriting.com has given me the confidence to say on forms or if I am asked, “I’m a writer”.
- K started a new job in September, which he loves. He gets to work outdoors using his hands, with a small team, and on a salary we can survive on. He is a beekeeper! It’s an entry level position, but he will progress similarly to an apprenticeship. No more late nights or extra-early starts, no more night shift, no more weekends (mostly), no more difficult clients. The kids and I love it too. The difference in K has been overwhelming. He has so much more energy these days. He is so much more positive. I’ll gladly take a drop in salary for a happier K.
- In September T turned 1. How on earth did my tiny snuffly little lump turn into a big eating, crawling, almost-walking little boy? Who loves ducks and balls and things that go, and the swimming pool and eating pasta by the handful. A talented friend made his stunning birthday cake and we had a low-key party to accompany it. He has changed immeasurably since birth, which has been a joy to observe. He is my snuggle-bug, my daily companion, my little wonder.
- In October I attended a writing retreat for writers who are also mothers. It is the best thing I have ever done for my writing. I met like-minded women, going through similar struggles as me, who had created a supportive, empowering environment in which to write. Meals and childcare were provided, (I brought T but left CC with her dad) and the chores were minimal, leaving many blissful hours each day to simply write. And did I write!
- The kids and I went to Ireland for two months. My brother married his lovely fiancee in November and since the trip is so far we stayed until Christmas. I hadn’t been home in 3 1/2 years and none of the family had met little T. It was the perfect opportunity to make the trip. After much saving and with help from parents, we made it over. I was so happy to watch my brother tie the knot – in fact I got a bit overwhelmed and started to cry! CC was a flower girl, which she did beautifully. Staying on till Christmas was a long time away from their friends, daddy and familiar things, but I’m so glad for the kids that we did. They got to spend lots of time with their Irish grandparents and other relatives, whom they may not see again for a few years. For me, I loved being in beautiful Galway again and catching up with friends and family. I caught up with more during a brief visit to my kind aunty’s house in London. I also ate my bodyweight in all the food I had been homesick for: jaffa cakes, Butler’s hot chocolate, black and white pudding, Supermacs, PROPER rashers, soda bread, Galaxy caramel, and Pizza Express dough balls. My kids had their first Irish Christmas (and my first since 2012). It was a wrench to leave and I so wish we could visit every year.
What have been your highlights of 2018? I’d live to know. Please share with me in the comments.