2010 Year in Review

My 30th year (or the 2010 year in review)

This year seems to have passed by, quickly and under the radar…and when I think about all that’s happened, I shouldn’t be too surprised. So here goes the 2010/age 30 round-up:

I did my first marathon…got my first tattoo…survived a semester with two practica…attended soccer games for my child…ran my first 10K in Charleston…smashed my 10K time in VA Beach…finally got my child the resources he needs to catch up and be successful in school…took a family trip to Williamsburg…took another trip to DC…finally went to the Holocaust museum (I’d been wanting to go since it opened my junior year in high school)…saw the Newseum…revisited powerful monuments…took in the city…navigated my family through the metro…went to the beach…survived the hottest summer on record of late…lost some weight…found some muscle…read some really good books…started a dissertation…had it scrapped four months later…fought (and lost) more dissertation battles (I’m just hoping to win the war)…was introduced to Anusara yoga by my sister in love and have gone to a class almost every week since…sent my child off to high school…got ready to attend wrestling matches and then he broke his arm…cleaned out the closet in my home office twice (and it needs another two rounds)…had a lot of family time…squeezed in a half-marathon…did a total of five races this year…celebrated Thanksgiving in a different way…had work done on our house…broke the book embargo…started shifting my taste buds away from coffee and to hot tea…discovered the beauty of Brooks shoes…made new friends…renewed bonds with old friends…finished my last required class for this degree…met a lot of new babies (all girls)…left church…found church…saw my husband get a job that went along with his calling…did honest to God therapy in a university counseling center…beat my head against a wall…and a desk…posted links…shook my fist at the Wake Co. school board, NC voters and Westboro Baptist Church…increased the tweeting…started Insanity…had the best birthday (31st) I’ve had since Mom died…got selfish…reached out…prayed a little more…opened to grace…mellowed a bit…borrowed books from others I have yet to return…did a Warrior Dash…contemplated giving up football…discovered the beauty of the salted caramel hot chocolate…had only one pumpkin spice latte…broke bread with some really great people…spent more time in the kitchen…realized my level of competence…and how far I have to go…


We Made An Excel Spreadsheet

I was in session today with one of my clients who is navigating her role in her family–and how to spend the holidays with them. She and her husband will spend their time driving half way across the country where they will split their time among his parents, her dad, and her mom (hers are divorced) and all the respective siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents. In order to devise a plan that will allow them to maximize the time they will spend with each part of the family, they literally made a spreadsheet to work it out.


And that’s how it is for a lot of families. Adult children have divorced parents…and maybe a partner with divorced parents. Or have divorced parents and have a partner with one “set” of parents. Or have two in tact sets of parents but live in completely different places. Or two in tact sets of parents who live near by but have nothing in common with the other set. Sometimes you can get all those people together in the same room. Most of the time, you can’t.


And then you make a spreadsheet. Because the holidays are stressful enough. You can’t go throwin’ conflict on the fire, too. Even though you may spend the entire holiday season feeling pulled in 17 different directions and/or caught in the middle of a few. Or a feud.


I am thankful. I am one of those few lucky (blessed) individuals whose parents never got divorced. I have a partner whose parents never got divorced. I like his people; he likes mine. We can all–and frequently do–spend time in the same room together.


And so here’s what my Thanksgiving gathering looked like: A trip to Columbia, SC with my husband, son and father to stop at the home of my husband’s sister, brother-in-law and niece (and really, they’re my siblings, too). While there, the parental in-laws stopped through on their way to the final destination of us all, and we all (all 9 of us) went out for dinner. The parental in-laws took the niece and charged on to Washington, GA. We got up the next morning (Thanksgiving morn) and headed there ourselves…to the home of my brother-in-law-in-law’s people. His parents, brother, sister-in-law and two nieces. Add about three others who weren’t spending the holiday with their families (one of whom is because they really shouldn’t spend time together without a therapist on retainer), and you have 18 people for Thanksgiving. Two went home after the big meal, but the 16 of us remained…and actually enjoyed one another’s company.


Thank God I don’t have to make a spreadsheet. But I am mindful of those who do. And I feel a little guilty–because what I just described is so NOT the norm. For those of you navigating the rough waters of the holiday season, hang in there. My hope for you all is that you can find a way to get what you want and what you need from the people you love most–and that your holiday will be short on conflict and feeling pulled in so many directions.