Dear 2013…

2013, you’ve been pretty bloody amazing, I have to say. If you were a person your hair would be shiny, you’d be wearing great shoes, you wouldn’t get splashed by vans driving through muddy puddle water OR get sunburn. Congratulations on your awesomeness. 

2013, you gave me so much. A lot of it I had to work for, I’m not going to shortchange myself. But you gave me so much more than I expected. I love you for that. You also took some stuff away. Stuff I wasn’t ready to give up. Stuff I still miss, and will continue to miss well into your not-yet-born baby, 2014.

In you, 2013, I found the perfect bra. The bra that I had been waiting for, for 10 years. That I thought might not actually exist. Without you, I’d be destined for a life of quietly despising women who talked about that undergarment of joy that they owned in seven different colours because it’s just ‘sooooo amazing’. Thank you, 2013. (I bought it in three colours. THE JOY.)

Two words. Tumble drier. Poor you, 2013, being just a year. A collection of days can never understand the glee of Tumble Drier Delivery Day. Our clothes are so soft! Towels are washed and dried in the same day! The radiators are free from muslin drying duties! I haven’t had to frantically wash a work shirt for Phil in weeks. It’s been a revelation. 8 years of living away from my parents and I *might* be starting to feel like an adult, thanks in part to Monsieur Tumble Drier.  

Owning a tumble drier isn’t the main reason I feel I’ve matured, though. That’s mostly down to my daughter. You’ll forever be a wondrous year to me, 2013, for gifting us Stella Temperance. Maybe I’m slightly odd, but I’ve always had harboured affectionate feelings for 1987, the year I was born. ‘Sixteenth of the fifth, eighty-seven’, I say casually, when asked for my birth date. It trips off the tongue, in the same way my name does. I’ve never had that ease with anyone else’s birthday. They’re special dates and years that belong to other people, not me. I wouldn’t have imagined, had I thought of it, that I would ever be as natural with another date. Until now. ‘Sixth of the second, two thousand and thirteen’, I declare proudly. That day, that moment at 3.45am, it’s mine. I hope that’s ok, 2013. I hope you don’t mind. It’s just I’m certain I’ll never be able to let that day leave my heart, so you should probably get used to being without it.

You were the year I learnt to let go. Faced with the biggest challenge of my life thus far, being responsible for a whole new life, I could see it being very easy to become stuck in the whys, whens and what ifs. I’m still learning, it’s taking some practice. But we’re a happy wee family, for the most part, bowing to the seemingly random whims of a tiny human. It’s relaxing, going with the flow. I wish I’d tried it sooner.

You gave me a gift I wasn’t expecting, not even a little bit. I hadn’t asked for it, or even dropped any hints. I didn’t leave magazines lying around or bookmark websites, I didn’t even know I needed what you gave me. 2013, you made me believe in my body. To give credit where it’s due, I think 2012 played a big part in the whole surprise. There was no question that my body was capable of great things last year – it was growing a human! But this year, I met that human. I gave birth to her, fed her, watched her sleep and grow and learn and be wonderful. And all of the angst I’d been carrying around about my body, my still-broken body, it disappeared. I think because I’ve never been worried about my weight or my thighs or my stomach (not out of misguided self-assurance, you understand; just out of sheer laziness) I didn’t recognise the intense dislike of my body and it’s inability to do it’s job as a confidence issue. But it was. Giving birth to Stella was my marathon, my triathalon, my Land’s End to John O’Groats bike ride. You gave me confidence and with that came respect.

You were a bit of a git though, at times, ’13. (Can I call you ’13?) You took some people from my life that I wasn’t ready to let go. Maybe some of them will come back to me. Maybe they won’t. But people change, all the time, and I chose to take that lesson from the whole sorry situation. ’13, you made me leave my home. My HOME. I may forgive you for that, one day. I won’t forget though. I’m sorry. It’ll always be there, the blot of ink on the otherwise beautiful watercolour that you were.

The best bit about you, 2013, was the incredible relationships that flourished within your days, your weeks and months. My marriage has never been more incredible, more inspiring, more infuriatingly challenging. I see my parents through new eyes. Better eyes, without question. Friends have carried me through sleepless nights, infected boobs and wracking self-doubt. They’ve made me laugh more than I thought possible, given me gifts and time and words and love; so much love. And then there’s Stella. 2013, you made me a mother. And that makes you my favourite.

Let’s go out with a quiet, contented sigh, shall we, 2013? And a mince pie or two…

 

Categories: Body Image, Family, Friends and Relationships, Written By Aisling
12 interesting thoughts on this

12 Comments

  1. Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I love this so hard. So so hard.

  2. rachel JHD
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Oh Aisling I think you’ve just clarified my thoughts on having two important dates in my life. It felt strange realising that my birth date had a new best friend in another important date, one I will never forget & will use frequently. Our wedding date seemed to reduce in significance & has been bumped to third in the line now.
    I love your go with the flow attitude to motherhood, it inspires from Twitter, Instagram & here – thank you for that.
    And how did you manage to find your perfect bra in a year of pregnancy & breast feeding? I’ve lost my perfect bra this year & hope that 2014 is the year of refinding it, & much more.
    Wishing you & your family a wonderful 2014 x

  3. Posted December 2, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    This is absolutely awesome. Beautifully written :) xx

  4. Posted December 2, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    You are awesome, glad this year had helped you realise just how much.

  5. mysparethoughts
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    People have perfect bras? This knowledge MUST be shared for the good of womankind.

    2013 has been fairly mammoth for us too. Loved this letter.

  6. Fee
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    This is so lovely, it has made me cry into my christmas cookie – I mean cereal, healthy cereal!

    The jury’s still out for me on 2013 but we’re getting a tumble drier soon so there’s still time…..

    Like Rachel, the important dates thing struck a chord with me. I have rattled off my own birthdate and my due date to various doctors every couple of weeks for the last seven months so they kind of roll off the tongue as one. And then on the front of my notes is Patrick’s name & date of birth, the most significant date of my life so far. Hopefully soon to be joined by another very important date.

    Which may still sneak into 2013, this usurping the soon to be purchased tumble drier. Maybe. I really want a tumble drier.

    • Caroline
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      *wonders how F&T will feel about joint custody of the tumble drier*

  7. Caroline
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The first half of this year for me was a sh*tter.
    No question about it, due to the most heartbreaking things as well as some that would usually be considered trivial.
    Dealing with my own grief as well as severe anxiety issues of a loved one on top of a handful of other things has made me not too unhappy to see the back of this year.
    Add to that my pregnancy in the second half of the year which has left me digging my nails into the palms of the hands with stress and worry and to be honest 2013 can do one.
    I’m looking forward to 2014. The new baby, the healing of old wounds and the start of a new chapter.
    I will be toasted 2014 in with more enthusiasm that I ever thought I could muster.

    On an aside note, I loved reading your post xx

  8. Katielase
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I love this, and you, and Stella. And my tumble drier.

    They’ve stopped making my perfect bra. Sigh.

    KL x

  9. Rach M
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I love this! Brilliant. It’s great to think of the dates that identify you. I read somewhere earlier this year that 2013 was the first year since 1987 to be made up of four different numbers. *Date geek*.

    It is a joy to follow your Twitter and Instagram. Happy 2014! Love Rach x

  10. Sharon
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I love love love this post, especially your go with the flow approach. 2013 has been a special year for me, starting out not knowing quite what the year would bring, falling pregnant and now wondering (with a due date of 1st Jan), will 2013 finish with me as a mum or is that how 2014 will start? Am so excited either way and reading this post has just made me more so xx ps please let us know about the magic bra

  11. Sarah
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    *Swoons*
    Words can’t describe how much I love this post.
    Thank you once again for such beautiful writing, A.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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