The End of the Year

We’re not big ones for New Years’ Eve in this house, really. The older you get the faster it comes around, and instead of a fireworks champagne celebration it feels like marking another year getting older. It’s funny, isn’t it? When you’re young it seems like time stands still interminably. As you get older I swear the clock spins at 3x normal speed. And sometimes all you want is to celebrate each moment without already preparing for the next one.

All of which sounds dark and depressive, but I’m really not. Really. I’m introspective (but when is that new?) but not down.

Christmas was lovely. Although I was knocked out by the norovirus for a good five days and may in fact be the only person to come out of Christmas weighing less than when I went in, it was good. We did very little – watched movies on TV. Enjoyed our presents. Spent family time. Played a fabulous new game that we all love.

I did have my Christmas theatre and meal out with my friends, and in case you thought my Christmas story wasn’t real here’s photo proof that I really did get dressed up with two of my closest:

(My friends do have faces. They’re quite handsome, actually, but they didn’t ask to have their photo published so I am taking artistic license).

On Christmas night Nora woke up at 330 am (I know this as we kept the bedroom door open so we could hear them) and all I heard was whispers of joy “He’s been! The mince pie is gone! The milk is gone! There are stockings!” I gently guided her back to bed through her tears (“I can’t sleep, this is much too exciting!”) and we all got another 3 hours of sleep, until two little people went screaming through the hallway, banging on the doors of their older brother and sister and exploding into our room with “He’s been! He’s been! Santa’s been!”

I got to have Christmas day the way I love it – everyone opens their stockings on our bed and we ooh and aah over what Santa left us. We head downstairs en masse and have coffee and more presents (it would normally have been mimosas and more presents but I was still very much struggling with not vomiting, so coffee it was). The twins had a marvelous Christmas – we aren’t big on mounds of presents but they got about 4 each, and they were loved (particularly his remote control train and digger. She got a Milky Bunny, which she loves but I find creepy (and which is substantially cheaper over here, surprisingly)). Christmas was also loved by the older kids – iDocks, computer equipment were popular. In hindsight I should have re-thought the recorders I bought the twins, and the iDock does mean that really shit music is played out of Melissa’s bedroom.

Clearly, I am aging.

For Christmas I got the one thing I’ve been wanting for ages – I got a chicken coop. Rather, I got Alastair and Jeff building the chicken coop. Once it’s ready, I am getting 6 chickens – 3 standard stock, and I get 3 ex-battery rescue chickens in early February. I am beside myself. I can’t wait to have the chickens here, I think it will be brilliant.

I look back at 2012 and feel conflicted – I think it was a good year. It was probably a good year. The truth is, most of my years are so tumultuous that I don’t know what’s good and what’s not good. There was a lack of tumult this year (apart from a dire stretch in October which we need not go into). The absence of drama is a good thing by and large, and in fact even having some drama helps show me that coping? I can do it these days without breaking down.

In 2012 the following happened:

- The Olympics (and I got to see the Opening Ceremony rehearsal and the synchronized diving finals).
- The Diamond Jubilee (during which it pissed down the entire time).
- We celebrated Alastair’s 50th birthday in India, overlooking the Taj Mahal.
- Melissa moved in for 6 weeks. It then became 18 months.
- We hopped in the car and went to Italy for a week. As one does.
- Maggie died.
- I left a bad job role within the company into something that I look forward to doing every single day.
- Extensive DIY happened on the house (more on that later).

And we keep going. Life keeps going. It’s not deep, saying that, it just is. I like this life, this lack of insanity life.

I close with this – yesterday Nick and I trooped off to a nearby city to pick up a new digger. His one from Father Christmas broke on its second day so we picked up a new one. He completely accepted that Santa took back the old one and arranged a new one to be delivered to a local toy store. He commended Santa for his prompt organizational skills.

Thus the little boy and I rode off into the sunrise. We got there early and so indulged in a coffee and a chocolate milkshake at McDonald’s accompanied by Nick’s pet dinosaur Dararara (I have no idea how the name came about).

We picked up the digger and came home, where a little chap has been incredibly happy since.

When my life is as complicated as replacing a digger, accompanied by my son with his cheeky grin and a tummy full of chocolate milkshake and his relentless chat, when my daughter’s imaginative stories start out as “Mummy, imagine you’re a giant fish finger and need to swim to New Zealand! That would be amazing!”, when the biggest conflict I have of the day is what to make for lunch, when I watch the foundations of my chicken coop go up accompanied to the good music of Mumford and Sons, then that….that is the definition of good in my life. That.

Just that.

Happy New Year.


18 Responses to “The End of the Year”

  1. Lily says:

    Happy New Year, dear Shannon, and thank you very much for a whole year of excellent writing.

  2. Charles says:

    Thanx for sharing a beautiful Christmas and you talent and inspiring messages for th past year.

  3. Donna says:

    I have also found as I get older that I am more satisfied with my life, sure there are things I would change, but the biggest change is that I am more satisfied with me…..
    I hope that next year is better than the last, and the next better still.
    Thank you for the kind of writing about your life that can cause me to reflect on my own life.
    And hug the babies!

  4. Mama Pants says:

    Wonderful post. I loved it all. Life is a series of copings – and enjoyings and some other stuff that is just life. Thanks for sharing yours!

  5. diamond dave says:

    I can’t help but contrast your postings now with your postings past and see just how far you have come. I caught myself doing the same thing and while a great deal of circumstances have changed in my life, I’m not sure if I changed that much. Evolved, adjusted, coped better, but I’m still the same basic person. You, on the other hand, have come a long way and beaten back a lot of demons to get to where you are today. When our issues have been reduced to trivialities, we know we’ve made progress. Will hate to see you close up shop here for good, but understand that it’s just moving on to another chapter of your life.

    Happy New Year, and blessings to your family and children.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Happy New Year, and could you please post some pics of the chickens/coop when it’s all finished?

  7. How can Nick be that big already!?!

    ps from February on, I’ll be living back in Napier NZ – if you come back to visit, my house is your house.

  8. Lor says:

    Happy New Year. Cherish it all :)

  9. Cissy says:

    You will LOVE the chickens. I’ve had six hens now for almost two years, and we love them. Their personalities are so different,they love being around us, and the dogs. Please post pics. My poor Facebook is littered with our chicken pictures.

  10. a says:

    Happy New Year!

  11. Julie says:

    For some reason, the photo of you and the two faceless dudes really cracked me up.

  12. Miss Kelly says:

    Happy New Year!

  13. D says:

    Yeah, that bunny looks like it’s planning something incredibly diabolical. I’d keep an eye on it. At least have Dararara act as watchraptor. Have it guard the chickens, too, I don’t trust those things.

    (Also, I just spent fifteen minutes surfing the web and trying to decide what kind of raptor it was and being reminded that the stupid things had feathers and were probably much sillier looking than we’d all like to imagine. Apparently it might also be a tyrannosaur. I’m just saying, you know what type of dino Dararara is, I’m eager to know.)

    Glad your Christmas and New Years were nice and that Santa’s customer service team is more efficient than Time Warner Cable NYC.

  14. kenju says:

    A lovely Christmas. I hope the older children were as happy as the younger ones! Happy New Year to all!

  15. physics geek says:

    Shannon, I’m with Dave in how different your posts are now than back when I first stumbled onto your site, which was a pretty good day for me. Your life seems…happier and content. And that makes me happy, too. I look forward to the day when your past dreams of Christmas future come true, and turn out better than your dreams.

    And I too will miss you horribly when you stop writing here. I realize that I don’t stop by as much these days (that third child happily removed most of my free time), but you’re frequently in my thoughts. I’m glad to see that, overall, life is treating you pretty darned well. A belated Happy New Year to you and yours.

  16. B. Durbin says:

    Add me to the chorus of “how far you’ve come!” I used to worry about you, in a long-distance internet kind of way. Now I can just wonder what madcap adventures you’re into, and that is much to be preferred.

    I definitely think there needs to be a dinosaur merry-go-round with feathered dinosaurs of the silliest type. Hmm.

  17. Theresa says:

    I see you have the Europe version, but there are so many other maps. If you are like me and my family, you will want to keep playing and will want new challenges. We have the USA, Europe, and Asia maps. It is so much fun!

  18. Solomon says:

    I agree, that’s the good life. Sounds very nice. Happy belated New Year.

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