Choices

I never used to believe in New Years. The idea that one year was 'over' and a new year 'began' simply because the calendar tells us so seemed pretty ludicrous... And as for staying up until midnight and counting down to a single second in an attempt to welcome this supposedly 'new' year... Well... It all seemed like a load of mass consciousness crap to me.

I never thought I'd be one to get married, either. I didn't need a piece of paper to tell me I loved someone, and as for the whole ceremonial extravaganza... Yeah... What was that I was saying about mass consciousness crap?

On the same token, I never paid much attention to anniversaries, or even birthdays. Really, they are just another 24 hour block of time where society tells us we are supposed to do something that we otherwise wouldn't, and half the time don't really want to.

Now, I realise that I sound like a miserable pain in the rear - but it didn't feel that way at the time. I never felt like I was missing out on anything and I always had more fun not getting involved, than I would have had taking part in celebrations, just because I thought I should.

For me, it was a choice - and I simply chose what brought me the most joy.

Then Daddy Kewl proposed on New Years Eve, we got married, I gave birth and experienced a wedding anniversary (ok, I experienced wedding anniversary sex) and suddenly New Years, marriage, anniversaries and birthdays weren't so meaningless.

The night that Daddy Kewl proposed we were at a festival watching the midnight fireworks to 'welcome the new year'. As we sat watching the sky light up, I had a deep and rather content feeling of one chapter ending and another beginning. Not particularly because it was "New Years" though.
We'd been on the festival circuit for almost 2 years and at the beginning of this particular festival, we had decided that this was the last one we were going to do for a while. After the festival ended we were going to head back 'home' and set up a more stationary base for ourselves, together. We'd spent much of our time at this festival planning our new beginning and in lots of ways saying goodbye to what had been our life for the past 2 years.
That night, as we sat on our picnic blanket watching the display, the sky turned purple in a sudden explosion of sparks, and M said,
"I want to start my life with you every day, Al."
I lifted my head up off his shoulder and took his hand in mine.
"Me too."

There was a pause so still and so silent that I swear the entire universe was holding it's breath. Then hundreds of spectacular golden sparks burst into life above us... M said, "Let's get married".... And I nodded and I said, "Kewl."

It really was that perfect.

We got married in a stunningly beautiful valley over the Chinese New Year, continuing with our theme of new years and new beginnings. It was a new beginning for the two of us, and more amazingly, it was the beginning of our family. A moment after we exchanged rings, Daddy Kewl wrapped his arms around me, took my hands, placed them on my stomach and whispered to me, "Guess what honey? We're pregnant."
He was right.

Almost nine months later, Miss F and Miss J were born. We wanted a home birth, but considering this was my first pregnancy, my mother had an emergency c-section and there were not one, but two babies - we compromised. The girls were born just 3 days before their due date, at a beautiful midwife run facility, in a big floaty bubble bath with their dad waiting to catch them. It was nothing like I had expected and everything more that I'd hoped.
They were also born on my birthday.

Our first wedding anniversary was just a few months later... But I am not telling that story (hi mum)!

So, with New Year, marriage, birthdays and anniversaries (hi mum!) now having their own 'personalised' meaning to replace what society had previously offered - I made a new choice. These 24 hour blocks of time bought me joy, and so I chose to celebrate them.

Then Daddy Kewl died.

He was not there for Miss J and Miss F's first birthday. He was not at Miss V's birth. He is not here - will never be here - for New Years, nor for any future birthdays or wedding anniversaries, nor even to be the other half of our marriage.

But I still chose to celebrate these occasions.
Not doing so would have made me even more miserable. There were moments of intense sadness, sure, but on the whole I was starting to find joy in them again.

Then Zy died.

His birth was quickly followed by his physical death. He was here for little more than one block of 24 hours.
Do you know how short that block of time is?
Far too short.
It is certainly not enough for a lifetime. How can it be enough to celebrate a birth? Or a marriage of two live into one life together?
Just 24 hours to celebrate an entire year of anything?
No, it's not enough.

These were the thoughts that filled my head this new year, and they didn't bring me any joy at all. In fact, on the eve of 2009, every physical and non physical part of me screamed in agony and burned with all of the lack that was filling my mind. I woke up on the 1st of day of this year, and instead of seeing my three incredible children and smiling because they were here - I saw an empty space in the bed next to me and burst into tears because M is not.

Just as I was deciding to bury my face in my pillow and howl, Miss V half woke, rolled over to look at me and asked, "Are you making good choices, mum?"
Then she rolled over and went back to sleep.

Am I making good choices? Now there's a question.
In that moment, I didn't much like the answer.

I was choosing to look at moments of celebration and see heartache for the people who were missing.

I was choosing to think thoughts of absence about the people I love.

I was choosing to feel all of what wasn't there and none of what was.

I was choosing to only see lack.

I was choosing to feel like shit - that's what I was choosing.

Uh oh. Time to make some new choices!

Ok - M died, and ok - that is a fact not a choice.
But it only hurts because I love him.
So I can choose to see and feel the hurt, or I can choose to see and feel our love.
This New Year, I can hurt because he is not here, or, I can love that New Year is so magical because he made it that way.
On our wedding anniversary, I can hurt because he is not here, or, I can love that I married the most amazing man in the universe.
When our girls have a birthday, I can hurt because he is not here, or, I can love that we have three incredible children together.

Ok - Zy died, and ok - that is a fact, not a choice.
But it only hurts because I love him.
I can choose to see and feel the hurt - But I choose to see and feel our love.
I can hurt because he died, or, I can love that I ever knew him at all.
I can hurt because he was here for such a short time, or, I can love the time that he was here.

What choices, hey?
This year, this day, this moment - I know what I am choosing.

There is one more choice that I want to share...

Earlier, I chose to see one block of 24 hours as too little time.
This is still my choice.

One day of the year is not enough time to celebrate a birth, a marriage, an anniversary, a year - and certainly not a lifetime.

I choose to celebrate these things every day.
For all of my lifetime
.

So, for yesterday - Happy New Year!
And for today - Happy New Day!
And for tomorrow - Happy New Day!
And for the next day - Happy New Day!

And every day after that.

14 comments:

Megan Bayliss said...

Happy year Al, happy year.
Mxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Debby said...

Hey, mum...you're making some very good choices. Moreover, you're helping a 51 year old American woman who's suddenly realized that she's lost the joy and enthusiasm in her own life.

Melody said...

Happy New Year Alison.

Keep strong.

M+B said...

Wishing you a lifetime of Happy Days :-) xxx

Pencil Writer said...

Wonderful New Year's resoultion, Al! Congratulations and happy new year every day! May we all be so blessed to recognized the joy of each day!

Mama Zen said...

This is stunning and amazing and beautiful.

Alison said...

Megan - Right back to you!

Debby - Today I am making some good choices. Last week... Not so good... But that's what I love about celebrating a new day, every day. It's NOW that counts. This celebration, today.

Melody - Happy new year to you, too. And Happy New Day :-)

M+B - Same to you and Boo. A lifetime of happy days. Wow - THAT is kewl!

PW - Happy new day to you :-)

Mama Zen - It's also a GREAT excuse to wear party hats and eat chocolate cake for breakfast every day ;-)

Trish said...

Al,precious heartfelt words.I cannot imagine all the pain in your journey . I am in awe of the way you now chose to celebrate every day.I agree.I am with you totally - every day living is worth celebrating.


I too wish you a wonderful 2009 , an abundance of love, laughter, good health and happiness and of course many blogable moments -

I have two quotes to share with you

"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth."

— Raymond Carver


"though in reality you were hardly there ~ in my heart you were everything" ~unknown

M & Zy will always be a part of your everyday celebrations and M legacy is your gorgeous kewl girls.

jeanie said...

Happy new Saturday, Al. Not every day will dawn bright or beautiful - but this post is one that will brighten any and many.

Hugs girl.

Woman in a Window said...

uh, hi, you, hi there.
maybe it was jeanie over at my place
(don't remember, not sure)
but I was sent here
and I see you
and I am amazed.

Wish I was here for fart jokes,
but instead
I'm here to witness a power that is you.

All the best in the New Year to you and yours,
erin

tiff said...

Al,

happy new choices to you.

It's okay to feel crap, so long as you acknowledge it.
Its amazing to see the beauty through the pain.
It opens your eyes and your heart to so much.

My thoughts are always with you. Always.

Bush Babe said...

Oh Al (do I start off every comment this way to you?)...

You are so courageous. I think I may have mentioned this on my blog a little while ago. I could have been sitting there with you when M proposed. And then when your kewl girls were born. And through your rollercoaster events since. Your words are sooooo powerful. Your girls words seem so very mature. So "been here before". You are lucky to have them. And they you.

I applaud your choices. Especially the one not to feel shitty. I think everyone needs to make THAT choice. The world would be a better place.

Stay strong and beautiful, my friend.
:-)
BB

Alison said...

Trish - Happy new day to you and your family :-) Thanks for the quotes - they are beautiful.

Jeanie - You're right, not every new day will begin bright and beautiful, but every new day will begin with a whole new lot of choices. That's pretty kewl.

Erin - Hi! Thanks for dropping in and for your darling comment :-) If you feel like staying tuned - we do some pretty mean fart jokes, too!

Tiff - Crap is ok for a little while, but feeling crap for too long makes the good stuff is so much harder to see. That's just boring!
Happy new day to you, your toothpaste terrors and family :-)

BB - lol... Today is a new day and you can start your comment any way you want! Thanks for your compliment, although I'm kind of glad you weren't where M was when the girls were being born. That would be er, 'stretching' the friendship.
The girls are definitely wise beyond their years. Most of the time, anyway. Yesterday they were completely thrilled that a dog had done a poo on the mini golf course in front of them.

Bush Babe said...

I like the idea that everything is fresh and shiny and new. I guess we should try and manage that more than once a year!!

I too am glad that M was there (and not me) at the birthing suite - I meant it in a figurative sense!

Hugs
BB