Thursday, December 24, 2009

A brief history of our time

When the year 2000 rolled around, I found myself in the minority, as I considered that year to be the final year of the previous decade, not the initial year of this one. And I remain in the minority, still considering 2010 rather than 2009 to be the final year of the Aughties decade. But...who's counting?

I am. Right here in this blog post. A brief history of this almost-complete decade:

2001: TH is born. Two weeks later, I receive my PhD diploma, looking like an oversized eggplant in black and purple graduation robes, still bearing much of my pregnancy weight.
2002: Dubya is born. Little baby boy blue, on his due date, at home, bless the child.
2003: I begin a tenure-track job at a state university.
2004: I leave tenure-track job for newer pastures in San Francisco.
2005: A terrible, prolonged miscarriage experience and lengthy bout with mono. The word "autism" enters our lives for the first time, although autism itself had been with us since 2001 (at least).
2006: A move back to Texas, ostensibly for another tenure track job. Job derails because they don't cough up promised post for Viking. Baby Boy Da arrives the day TH starts kindergarten. The Viking begins an excellent job in a new programming direction.
2007: No talking from Little Da, serious motor delays. Two ambulance trips to children's hospital for febrile UTI and cyanosis (and subsequent dx of bilateral reflux). OT and speech therapies ensue. I begin professorship at local private university. First signs of cervical myelopathy arise. The Viking completes his graduate degree.
2008: Social difficulties with kids at school popping up like a psychotic game of Whack-a-mole. No more bus. My class schedule can't mesh with my mom duties--I leave academia. The Viking flourishes in his career.
2009: I complete a book. We decide to move to Colorado in 2011. And we decided to homeschool our oldest child.

The world saw so much more, I know. Families worldwide experienced so much worse or so much better. But these were our annual highlights, our little two inches of ivory writ large in our eyes. Three children, two degrees, two cross-country moves, a career derailed and another redirected, about 15 surgeries all around, diagnoses big and occasionally small for almost all of us. And a decision to homeschool and yet another decision to move.

More than any decade of my life, this one has involved the big decisions, the arrival at the crossroads, the choices that obviously determine a life's course. We've been in some ways the captain of our ship, but we've also been navigating the entire time with a very blurry map.

And all along our voyage, melded into every minute of every day, thank God, there have been the blessed moments. Laughing. Lots and lots of it. Silliness. Fun. Curiosity and exploration. Growth and maturation. Love and appreciation. I can't quantify these in lists of episodic events because they came and continue to come too fast, too furious. All I can do is remember to be grateful for all that we have, which is so, so very much.

With that sense of gratitude and peace, I can truly say that I will try to keep the peaceful and loving spirit of Christmas in my heart and cling to that spirit throughout the year. Because those intangibles are the truest, deepest meaning of this life of ours, in the moment, right now. That's all that matters. The rest is simply history.