I was going to do something flip here, a sort of tongue in cheek version of the recent flurry of blog posts that detail the events of the last year and the pearls of wisdom the blogger has gleaned from their experiences. Then I thought about everything that’s happened this year, and I just couldn’t do it. Oh, there will be an item or two, but for the most part, my year has been surrounded by real, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, drama. I couldn’t minimize it for entertainment.
One of the defining moments of this year was the suicide of my cousin’s 16-year-old son. He had a lot of stuff happening in his life, and I regret that he chose to end his life rather than push through and find out that things could get better. Although I quickly learned that he had a support system had he chosen to ask for help, I still have moments of regret for not seeking him out and giving him another link in his support chain. I learned that it’s better to offer and be rejected than regret not offering.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I met my niece for the first time in 12 years. She’s 14. She joined us for Christmas Eve, and it was a wonderful day. Her energy and enthusiasm for everything – EVERYTHING – around her were exhausting and exhilarating. She is riding that line between little girl and young woman, and her leaps from one to the other were dizzying. I am so glad that we had the time together, and I look forward to more. Here’s Lilly with the quilt Mom made for her:
Work has been both truly enjoyable and truly frustrating. I’m still learning how to bite my tongue, moderate my temper, and get things done even when the time and support aren’t necessarily available. I still believe, and I still hope.
Our Stitch & Bitch has continued every month for almost three years! We’ve gained and lost members, notably my aunt Mickey who has moved (again!) to Washington state. The additions to our group include an old friend (Lisa) that I hadn’t seen in over ten years, a new friend (Jeanne of Grey Cat Quilts) who found me through this blog, and another blogger (Karrie of Freckled Whimsy) that I met thanks to an online swap. We’re up to eleven quilters now, and as long as no one needs to use the quilting frame, we can fit one more in the basement. I can’t list all that I’ve learned from this group, but it includes everything from new quilting techniques (thanks to Jeanne and Karrie) and new recipes (Lisa introduced me to fennel, for which I will always be grateful) to how to laugh until it hurts (Pat and Becky, I’m looking at you!). I also learned that getting together once a month to ignore everything else and just sew and laugh does wonders for my mental health.
One of our S&Bers is dealing with some challenging health issues. I don’t want to share too much detail, but my mom’s sister is battling cancer that was more extensive than doctors originally thought. Recovery from surgery has been plagued by setbacks that add to her frustration and exhaustion, and she’s has a reaction to chemo that makes treatment difficult. Her focus and positive attitude are inspiring, and I know by next Christmas she will be fully recovered. She is one of those people who just puts her head down and pushes through, and her grit goes a long way. She was able to come to the family Christmas at our house, despite the challenges of traveling, and I believe that being surrounded by family and joy was good for her. I am still learning this lesson, too.
Another thing I learned this year is much less emotional, but no less important. I learned that when you are using a sewing machine, you should keep your fingers back. I learned that if you do accidentally sew your finger, you should remove your foot from the pedal immediately and freeze. You should not, under any circumstances, jerk your hand back once the needle has entered your finger. It is too late to get it out of the way, and it will just cause damage.
I also learned how to put on a fingertip bandage.
I hope your year was less eventful – or at least more joyous – than mine has been. I also hope that your upcoming year brings you peace and happiness.