Family

2013 Year In Review: Or How I Made Lemon Drops

The one thing I’ve always hated about the end of the year is all the Top “whatever” lists. It was annoying. That was then, this is now. As I have gotten older, I reflect a little more and what better time to do that than at the end of the year. Let’s all sit around and reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly of 2013 so that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st we can start off 2014 with a clean slate.

The first quarter of 2013 started off exactly the way any year with a 13 in it should start. It sucked. We spent the first three months fighting with “the ex” (his, not mine) over visitation issues. What it boiled down to was this, when there’s money there’s visitation and when there wasn’t, they disappeared. It still pretty much works that way, sad to say but at least we’re both aware of how it’s going to be. The Husband also turned the big 4-0. He’s still not happy with that and takes every opportunity to show me that he still has “it”, even though I know he never lost “it”.

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In April, I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine and as a late “paper” anniversary present, the Hubby took me all the way to North Carolina to see Elton John in concert. I have to admit I cried when he took the stage. He sang all my favorite songs and I was very pleased. Most notably we did have an “incident”. During the concert there was this group of very loud drunk women in front of us. It would have been alright if they were singing along but they were sitting there talking LOUDLY about husband swapping. (NASTY, even more so since I saw their husbands, no thanks.) So, The Hubby asks them to pipe down and one of the “husbands” takes offense and wants to fight my ex-boxer husband. He responds, “come on and hit me”, secretly wanting this fight a little more than he actually should have since turning 40. The guy ultimately backed down when he actually saw that my husband was in way better shape than he was. Now whenever I hear Saturday Night’s Alright, I think of this and the fact that my Husband almost got into a brawl at an Elton John concert.

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After this, the boys turned 3 and we celebrated with a trip to Toys R Us and Monkey Joe’s. The summer quickly arrived with a move to Northern Virginia from Western Virginia (not West Virginia but the west side of Virginia). I had big plans for the summer with all the kids, being so close to D.C. and then exactly a week before we moved the van died. It was literally right out of a movie. I was driving down the highway, it was pouring down raining. I mean torrential rain to the point where you couldn’t see and I was just stranded. In the middle of God’s country, no one around for miles. We had to tow it to a place near we lived at the time and there it stayed for the entire summer while the damn thing got rebuilt.

There was a time when something like that would have gotten me so depressed I would have given up. I had five kids who were in a new house and in a new neighborhood that I had to entertain. I had to make the most of the summer, I didn’t want to have another crappy one.  So we made plans, we had  a family Summer Olympics and we got a pool for the backyard. For my birthday, the husband turned our backyard into a beach resort and for Conner’s, we took the older kids to see Train in concert. It was their first and the look on their faces when they actually realized that the group that sang the song was right there in front of them was priceless. We had the best summer ever and we never left our backyard. We will forever remember the summer of 2013 as the one where we got lemons and made lemon drop martinis. It was the best summer I’ve ever had.

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In the fall, the kids started a new school. Conner in Middle school and the girls at Elementary school. Bryleigh started Kindergarten and the boys are still potty training (oh Lord when will it end?). The Hubby loves his job and is doing well there. I started volunteering at our local library and launched Scattered Wrecks at the end of August.

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Now at the end of the year, I’m closing it out by fulfilling another life long dream of mine. On New Year’s Eve, I will be in NYC watching the ball drop in Times Square. I’m sure I will cry like I did at the Elton John concert. It wasn’t because I’m overly sentimental, it was because I never thought that I would ever have a dream come true. I’m just a nobody from South Philly. We don’t waste time on dreams because they never materialize. This year, the one that I thought was going to be horrible, has taught me that not everything goes according to plan. When you push yourself to rise above it, things usually turn out better than you could have dreamed. So when I cry on New Year’s Eve, I’m not just crying for the ones we are leaving behind. (My children lost their paternal grandmother in October and a very wonderful woman who has been a friend to my family since I was a girl, lost her husband of over 20 years a few weeks ago.) I’m crying because life goes on and it is wonderful and amazing.

I’m looking forward to 2014.The boys will start Pre-K (I’m dying inside over that one), Bryleigh will be in first grade, Haileigh will turn 12 and start her journey toward becoming a woman and Conner will start 8th grade. The kids are growing up and I will be 35.  The Husband is finally realizing his dream. He has climbed to heights no one would have ever thought possible given his back story and what he has lived through.  One day, I’ll write a story about him, it’ll probably be a best seller (he’ll never let me live it down if it is). As for me, I would have never thought that when I started writing a blog that I would wind up being a part of book that will come out in 2014. It’s a collaborative project with a bunch of well-known and respected bloggers and I am just floored that they even read my work, the fact that they wanted to include me was just icing on the cake.

I’m glad I took a moment to stop. To look back on where we’ve been and to look forward to where we’re going. 2014 is going to be an amazing year and I know there will be low points in addition to the highs but we’re all still here. We have each other to get through it all together, we’ll take the lemons and make us a drink. Happy New Year!

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