Fifteen

Fifteen years ago today, I sat down in my living room on an absolutely enormous family computer, and with Ken’s help, I posted the very first entry ever on this blog, and everything changed. That makes today my Blogiversary, and as is my tradition (you know how I love those) I went back to read my previous Blogiversary posts.  I got as far as last year, and then started to lose my scene, and had to drink coffee and knit for a while to get it together.

(Those are my January Self-Imposed-Sock-Club socks, I’d originally pulled a bag at random and the yarn in it was grey, and I looked outside at the deep dark that is a Toronto winter and thought better of it instantly. I put that bag back, and then next one I pulled was “Spring Forward” in this pretty pink.  Much better.)

I’ve got it back together now,  but I had entirely forgotten that I wrote last year’s post to you from a hotel room near the hospital while Susan was so sick – it makes sense now though, and I’m kinda a moron for not seeing that coming, I know it’s been almost a year since she died, and therefore last year at this time my life was on fire, and truthfully, that’s not what set me off.  It was reading the words “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

That theme last year was so hard for me.  I’m not the best at changing the channel – once I make a plan I really like it to happen the way I’ve decided, and the universe and I having such divergent goals and hopes over the last year and a bit has been… well. In the interest of being a positive and optimistic person, let’s just say it’s had a learning curve.  Almost nothing over the last year has been the way I expected it to be – which is not to say that things are bad, sometimes the way I expected things to be was horrible and what I got was definitely better than that, but it’s always different, like my prediction system is broken, and that makes me kinda nervous a lot of the time. It’s like at this time last year, the Universe took one look at me and said “she thinks she knows what’s going on. Hold my beer and watch this.” Then picked up my world as though it was a giant snow-globe, and giggled maniacally while watching all the bits float down into new and strange places as I scramble around trying to figure out which snowflake went where.

Just as an example, I know that I’ve told you that I’m the Chair of the Bike Rally this year, which isn’t exactly the job I was after there. The way that it works is that each Co-Chair serves a two year term.  One year they’re the incoming, and the next year the outgoing, and it’s staggered, so that there’s always a new one and someone who knows what they’re doing. Last year I was the incoming, and Ted was the outgoing, and Ted’s turn was up in September, and then it would be me as outgoing, and someone new as incoming, except that through a series of events generated by the snow-globe shake, that’s not what happened, and there was no incoming, and now… it’s me. It’s just me. What was already a pretty big commitment to the Rally is now a huge commitment to the Rally.

This is more than I bargained for. I’m not trying to register this as a complaint, I made the commitment and I’m fine with it, but it is a bit of an explanation for how wild things must seem.  People keep asking if I am in over my head, and the answer is yes. Absolutely. Between my work, our family, and this charity work, the water I am in is very deep, and completely, absolutely over my head.  There are even waves. Possibly a rip tide, I’m not sure, I don’t have time to notice. That doesn’t mean I’m drowning, I can promise you that – but it does mean that I have to keep swimming all the time or I will totally sink, and that is really, really tiring, even though I am a strong swimmer and enjoy the water.  It is not what I expected it to be.

Neither is the new shape of our family what I expected it to be, almost a year out from the shocking exits that Tupper, Mum and Susan made, although I think I am getting the hang.  I still miss my mother acutely, especially as I navigate all these surprises. She gave the best advice, and I think I’d be doing a better job of it all if she was here to help me – although her advice usually didn’t include knitting, and frankly I’d be in prison or at least a court mandated anger management program right now if I wasn’t surrounded by yarn all the time.  (I tried to do that Marie Kondo de-cluttering thing where you get rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy.” It resulted in the purchase of MORE YARN. I feel like I understand that woman completely.)

So I sat there this morning, having a bit of a thing, remembering what it felt like this time last year. Sitting alone in that hotel room, wondering if I had what it took to face what I had just realized was happening, and reaching out to The Blog as I did it… and I realized that there has been one thing that was what I expected it to be this  past year. it was you.

I meant what I said on last year’s Blogiversary.  I could never, ever have predicted what this Blog would become. I didn’t see it coming,  but over the last year my darlings, in the force of a storm that I thought would change everything, there you are, every time I manage to stagger back here for a gulp of air… The Blog. You sure weren’t what I expected in the beginning, but now you’re so steadfast, so reliable, you feel like a safe place for me to land over and over, and every time I do land here lately, I can’t remember why I don’t do it more often. (Except for the previously mentioned combination of perfectionism and lack of time, but I’m working on that.) I know that I haven’t been as present here as any of us wish, and I’m so sorry. I am grateful that you’ve stuck with me, even while it’s really hard for me to type and swim at the same time.

I wish there were words better than Thank You. Words that could convey what a tremendous gift you are in my life, and what your presence has meant to me, and as always on this day, it is so hard to convey what this group of people – most of whom I’ve never met, are for me. You are exactly as I expected you to be this last little while, which is, as always, so much more than I deserve.  I love you.

Thank you for fifteen.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional and sentimental, today’s the day that people make donations to my ride (because I’m still also a rider, even though I’m the Chair) in multiples of the number of blog years I’m at.  While I admit random donations of $13 or $14 was more confusing for PWA (and therefore more entertaining for me) multiples of $15 have a lovely solidity to them. If I’ve entertained you $15 worth over the last 15 years, the link for donations is here.)