Eight is my favorite number, yet 2008 wasn’t so great. I had thyroid surgery in January, broke my knee in February, got audited in April, and lost my job in June. During 2016, another multiple of eight, every member of my immediate family landed in the emergency room, my mother was in the hospital twice, our apartment got flooded, a scary clown craze damaged our business, and my husband and I both lost an aunt to ovarian cancer.
This morning over breakfast, I tried a final attempt to lure my artist hubby into a last-minute holiday card. I had a funny idea which I thought might hook him:
“How about a toilet bowl showing 2016 flushing down the drain?”
His eyes looked up and he played along for a second. “Yeah and we can show Prince and David Bowie and Gene Wilder…” His voice trailed off, he looked away.
“No?” I knew he wasn’t biting.
“No,” he said and carried on with the loud chewing of the over toasted sesame bagel.
The other day a friend texted me: “2016: FOAD” (Urban Dictionary.com confirmed the acronym is telling 2016 to F-off and die.) “Amen,” I wrote back.
What a year for everyone. Our country endured a public political showdown which left half of us miserable about the outcome. Some are rallying to come together, some rally to call congress people, and I’m hoping to get through each day alive. 2016 had countless heartbreaking deaths, robbing us of geniuses famous and familiar. There wasn’t a person I met who didn’t have a health crisis, a career transition, or a relationship catastrophe yet somehow we’ve made it out, with a week to go, to read and write about it. Survivors. Collectors of life stories. Joining clubs; laughing and commiserating with fellow humans.
I am filled with gratitude for the year I was given and the stories it allowed me to record for posterity. Here are some of the happy highlights:
- My immediate family is healthy, happy and together
- I set a challenge to write an autobiographical essay every single day this year … AND I FULFILLED IT: OVER 245,000 words written.
- We spent two weeks in a quintessential piece of paradise in Hawaii.
- I overcame my fear of heights and walked across the George Washington Bridge.
- Concerts and Show Highlights: Wilco, Paul McCartney, Ray LaMontagne, Elle King, Matisyahu, Gogol Bordello, Book of Mormon, Fiddler on the Roof, Fun Home, The Humans.
- My son graduated from middle school, went to Shakespeare camp, started high school, and landed a lead role in his first play.
- My six-year-old daughter crushed kindergarten, ending on a reading level of “M,” which is the equivalent of third grade. She also landed the only solo in her chorus recital: “I’ve Got Rhythm.”
- Our unexpected flood caused an unplanned, difficult and lengthy renovation, but we ended up with a brand new kitchen and contracting skills for life.
- We rocked a family Halloween costume where I was the Queen of Hearts
- Hamilton: An American Musical was the soundtrack to our year and both children have the rap album memorized. Seeing it in September was our dream come true, with the cherry on top being the boat ride around New York City on September 11th, where we got to discuss the genius show with Hamilton’s brilliant choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler.