Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Ten of '10

Au revoir, Brooklyn!


My sister's Christmas card was fabulous this year. Rather than a long letter of all her family's triumphs and woes, she made a bright, vibrant top ten list of their stand-out moments. Seeing as she's a wonderful graphic designer, it was not only poignant, it was visually stunning.

Mine will just be poignant. Maybe.

After the horrible year we experienced in 2009, 2010 was a year of reconstruction - pulling ourselves together after the brutal wars we fought. The war against a corrupt landlord who refused to dispose of both lead paint and a violent neighbor properly. The war against my possibly nearly fatal (TMI?) post-partum depression. The war against our budget after Dave lost his job at Forbes. The war Dave and I fought against each other as we tried to make sense of the constant sleeplessness we were experiencing combined with seemingly constant moving.

2010 was definitely an improvement. We had settled into an apartment that was devoid of lead paint and had a reasonable neighbor. I'd gone back to work part-time at my beloved school in Brooklyn. Stella, thank God in Heaven, had not only begun to sleep, but began to be possibly the best sleeper in her class -- middle-weight toddlers. And, despite Dave's work situation, we'd tightened our apron strings sufficiently to avoid going into debt or claiming bankruptcy.

We had climbed far enough up Maslow's hierarchy of needs to stop simply surviving and start self-actualizing.

For me, that meant being brutally honest with both Dave and myself about the fact that I couldn't stay healthy as a "middle class" (i.e. impoverished) parent in NYC with no family support. I had to stop finding a way to try to fit my square self in that round hole and just start searching for a freaking square hole (they're hard to find).

So, keeping that long-winded prelude in mind, I present to you The Brooklyn/Bluegrass Baby Momma's Top Ten Profound Moments of 2010:

10. Getting bed bugs - TWICE - and dealing with record low temps and large amounts of snow while living in a place with limited heat.
9. Finally convincing Dave that we had to give moving back to Kentucky a shot, after the above events showed us that just moving out of Little Russia wasn't going to solve all of our problems and that possibly NYC was simply not for us.
8. Working my butt off to find (and succeeding in that endeavor) what people told me was an impossible situation: working for a rural, high-needs school an easy commute away from our urban life in Louisville.
7. Moving to the nicest apartment we've ever inhabited without seeing it first. (Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for finding it!)
6. Finding that I love being a middle school language arts teacher, and that I really do love being back in a school where I feel needed.
5. Reconnecting with wonderful Louisville friends while missing wonderful NYC friends.
4. Finally finding a spiritual home at Adath Jeshurun after years and years of searching.
3. Finding so much joy in the fact that we can afford to send Stella to preschool here without knowing the mayor or president or dishing over her entire college fund.
2. Watching with glee as Dave has the time and energy to write awesome freelance stories and perform his wonderful, original music in a band composed of cool, sweet, trustworthy guys.
1. Getting to be with my family again in a normal way (well, as normal as we get) after 12 years away. And the best part of that is watching Stella fall madly in love with them and vice versa.

This is the kind of year that really showed me the power of prayer and positive thinking. I really thought this move, this job, this drastic change would never happen, but once I set my mind and heart and soul into trying to achieve it, it's amazing how things just fell into place.

I hope that we can all keep that in mind in 2011. We are our own worse enemies. Our fear and doubt and self-loathing and petty differences all serve to distract us from our awesome potential.

What does your heart really want for you in 2011? Are you willing to shut up the negative voices in your head and just GO FOR IT?

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