Happy new year to all my friends and family, readers and fellow bloggers; and during this time of reflection and resolution, a very quick, if self-indulgent, look back at 2013.
For the family, the biggest moment was Eddie finally taking his first steps back at the end of July. Looking at him running round after his siblings now you'd never guess it had been in any doubt. It quite brought a tear to his mother's eye. In September Gilby started school and has shone ever since. How cute did he look in his little school uniform, just a month after his fourth birthday? It...brought a tear to his mother's eye. After one term he can read and write and loves it. And Gertie becoming the Under-5 Celtic National Irish Dancing Champion in November brought, yes, a little tear or two to her mother's eye. A month later she had the lead in the school play. A star all round.
2013 was the year that I turned 40 and I had the most fantastic weekend for this milestone birthday as well as taking a long-held dream trip to Venice (just my husband and I, no kids!) to celebrate later in the year.
I think I have to count diving into the pool in Cabrieres for the first time at the start of our summer holiday as one of my top moments, and arriving at Harburn House in Scotland for Christmas as another. We can't travel the world in the same way as I once did, but clearly those little short trips and family holidays are just as special and important. Learning to ballroom dance is up there too, though we won't be troubling Strictly any time soon. We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary very happily; where did those years go?
2013 had some professional highs: passing what I thought was my penultimate MA module last January with a merit, being accepted to present a seminar at the NATE conference in June, beginning a National Writing Project Group in Sussex in July, gaining an OFSTED outstanding at school in November. (I know that last one shouldn't count, but it does!)
There were some writing successes: Completing NanoWriMo with a 50,000 word draft of On Sudden Ground was a major achievement and now just that lengthy revision and editing process to go before securing that lucrative publishing deal in 2014. (When I will, also, finally complete my MA.) I won and was placed in a number of different short story competitions through the year; more writing to come in 2014, beginning with an educational article to be published in January.
The lows were thankfully few and far between. We lost my uncle last January. He was relatively young but it wasn't unexpected. Still very sad, though, especially for my mother. The beginning of March was plagued with illness, and I didn't enjoy going to work with an eye-patch during a severe eye-infection. On the upside, Gilby thought it was quite cool. Discovering that my final MA module wasn't was a bit of a bore (20,000 words still to go), and finding another 'suspicious' breast lump was more than a little scary, though thankfully now all fine once more. Being able to count those 'down' things on one hand reminds me of how very much I have to be grateful for.
It remains the family, of course, that is most important. We begin 2014 with a family day out and lunch with some dear friends, and that is the way that I mean to carry on.
Currently Reading: 72 Virgins by Boris Johnson. Not entirely sure why.