We’ve had some fun times, you and I. Together, we’ve seen me push a baby out of my body, feed said baby approximately five zillion times, and eat three tons of food each day in order to produce said baby-food.
We’ve gone on bike rides all kinds of conditions – in sun and rain, while pregnant, while reveling in being not pregnant, with a baby strapped to my chest, in running clothes, in biking clothes, in everyday clothes. We’ve hiked through mountains in America’s midwest and China’s mid-who-knows-where. We explored dark caves, and got sunburned in bright sunlight, and splashed in warm oceans and cold oceans. We saw dolphins and whales and water buffalos, oh my!
We counted down days to when the baby would be born. We counted down days till nursing wouldn’t make my toes curl in pain. We counted down the days till we left for America. We counted down the days to when we returned to China. We watched the days on the calendar fly by, years ticking by in the time Terry and I have been married, and months marching on in Sander’s young life.
You threw us a curveball with the stomach flu on our trip to the States. I’m sure you laughed as all three of us (not to mention my step-mom and step-sister) miserably curled up in the TV room at my dad’s house, sipping Sprite and watching episode after episode of Fixer Upper on HGTV. Well the joke’s on you, buddy. We survived to tell the tale, and we look back on the moment when Terry was throwing up in the bathroom and I was barging in on him to steal the toilet to do the same and Sander was laying in a poopy blowout of a diaper screaming his head off, and we think this – this is family.
There were nights when I got almost no sleep. Nights when I begged for morning, just so I could accept the fact that it was time to be awake and just get on with it. Nights when I blissfully slept until morning. Nights when I tried to go to bed at a responsible hour, only to be convinced by my husband that watching a movie would be more fun. Nights when we slept on the couch, either because we were too tired to make it to the bed, or because Sander was in our room and guests in his room. Nights when my baby slept close by me, nights when he slept on his own. Nights where we all stared at the ceiling, wondering how much longer the jet lag would keep us awake.
And there were days filled with laughter as a tiny baby discovered how hilarious it is to have his parents cover his face in a blanket and whip it away, while his parents discovered how awesome it is to have a kid that you can make laugh. There were days of writing, days when it felt like the words were all coming together and days when the words on the page felt like despair, and despair just felt like too much to deal with.
There were days of wheezing and coughing and cursing the pollution outside. Days when I questioned why we’re still living here. Days when I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Days when I dreamed of where we’ll live next, where we’ll be this time next year, where we’ll land in a few months. Days when I tried to speak Mandarin and days when I gave up on it.
I can look back and see the stack of books I left littered through you, some in the three-star range, a few lucky ones in the five-star range. It’s like seeing a constellation of critiques.
We’ve dealt with a few tantrums (some from the baby, some unfortunately from me), and a few unexpected loopholes (hello, moldy apartment in Hong Kong). But we usually pulled it together.
All in all, you were a pretty great year. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m thinking (or at least hoping) that 2016 could beat you out, mostly because I believe the best is yet to come. But for now, let’s just cheers our imaginary bowls of mint chocolate chip ice cream, snuggle into the soft blue robe we finally got for cold middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, and live for right now.