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…