So that was a pretty perfect end to the year.
We didn’t have any grand plans or exciting adventures but the husband was on leave for the last two weeks of the year so we just hung out with the kids, made pancakes, went for leisurely brunches, cleaned out the house, played board games, and took things slow for a bit. It was nice.
While Truett and Kirsten were packing their bags for the new school year last week, they were all “For this new year, I’m going to make sure all my things are packed super neatly” and I was like “YES THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!” If 2017 is the year that I don’t have to decipher coded messages from torn/crumpled/bitten?? scraps of kiam chye, it would already be an amazing year. To that end, I offered to wrap all their books with plastic wrap like I used to do when I was in Primary school. I got out the plastic wrap and after struggling with a 好公民 for 5 minutes, I looked at the remaining mountain of books on the floor and told them, “You know what guys? The books are fine as they are. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
I’ve had some time to think about 2016 and these are all the things I’ve learnt from the past year.
1. Time spent with the people you love is never wasted.
With each year that passes, I’m terribly aware that my time is ticking away, not in a morbid I don’t have much time left in this world way, but like yeah, I guess I’m one year down from however many years I have left. I’ve spent all these hours and days and weeks and months doing the same things – feeding babies, bathing babies, cuddling babies, cleaning poop, checking homework, fixing the same blocks, reading the same books, telling the same stories, playing the same crazy games.
Mundane? Sure. But wasted? Not even a little.
2. Bad days don’t make a bad life.
Some days are harder than others. Some years are harder than others. But once we get through them, there’ll be some not-so-bad days, and some mediocre-kind-of-meh days, and some above average days. And yes, there will also be some ridiculously good days. All these days add up to a pretty great life if we let them.
3. Smile through the really awful days.
Kirsten is really good at picking up on my expressions. She always knows when I’m writing a blog post because apparently I look very serious when I’m doing it. Or when she sees my brow furrow in visible annoyance while I’m on the phone, she’ll intercept the babies and tell them, “Don’t stress mommy, she can’t handle you right now…” which is so thoughtful and adorable and it always makes me laugh.
It also makes me realise that the kids are so intuitive when it comes to picking up on my body language. When I’m high-strung or snappy or upset, it affects them too, which then just snowballs into one huge, unstoppable mess of bad feelings.
So even if I have to fake it, I force myself to breathe and smile until it gets better.
4. Do the things that need to be done. Then make some time for the fun parts.
As the holidays were winding down, the kids were like “I wish we could have holidays forever. Just all play and no work forever and ever.” I wish that too but that’s not how life works. There are things to be done and we need to do them. Things like homework and housework and actual work that pays you money.
Although there have been too many days in 2016 where we did all of the work and forgot to have any fun. We’d get overwhelmed by the hustle all day and when it got to bedtime, there wasn’t any time left for a bit of fun. This year, I’ll try to be get-things-done-mom and I’ll also try to be superfun-mom. No matter how the day went, we’ll make some time for bedtime stories or chats or a short game, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
I’m glad for a new year. At the start of every year, I’d wish for it to be a good one, and by that I meant an easy one filled with many days sitting by the pool having people feed me grapes while other people gave me foot massages. Ok wait, those years do sound amazing, I’d take one of those years anytime.
But if I’m really honest, it’s the difficult years that help us become better, kinder, more resilient versions of ourselves.
Whichever sort of year this one turns out to be, I’m thankful I get to do it with these guys.