I discovered the wonder of the show, "The Voice," and weekly cheered for my favorite contestants. (Marry me, Adam Levine?) I discovered Trader Joe's and their delicious, chunky guacamole. And their orange chicken. And their cookie butter. I discovered that small children and long hotel stays are a recipe for "monkey-like" behavior! I discovered Maybelline's Baby Lips and Tarina Tarantino's eyeshadow palettes. (Oh. My. Gosh!) I discovered the public school system as the parent of a kindergartener, and what it means to "collect Box Tops" for a school. I discovered the PTA!
I discovered the peaceful serenity of Amish country, and fell in love with the charm of the old farm houses there. I found a place, in Pennsylvania, where the angel-fingers of heaven touch the earth.
As a girl who comes from a desert state, I discovered the "high-definition green" of the east coast. I discovered the east's humidity and it's ability to wilt someone like steamed spinach! (Which is also green!) I discovered that the "bugs" that reside in the canopy-like trees chirp loudly when the sun goes down. I discovered I barely noticed the bug sounds, when staying up late to listen to my friend's infectious laughter.
I discovered a bit of myself; who I am and what makes me special. I discovered I am braver than I realize, nicer than I know, stronger than I remember, and a better mother than I give myself credit for. I am a good person. I am a good friend. I'm capable of giving much and loving greatly. And like the lyrics from the Peter, Bjorn & John song, Objects of My Affection: "I laugh more often now. I cry more often now. I am more me."
It would be easy to focus on the hardships, to let myself sink into the murky waters of discouragement and despair. But I choose not to do that. I choose to celebrate the edifying and invaluable experiences I had in 2012. The discoveries. I choose to focus on all the high points, the moments that made my heart soar. The new friends I made, the old ones I kept and cherished. The support shown to me by those I know; the love offered to me by those I have yet to meet. The times of laughter and indelible goodness. The times I joyfully cried to God, "Thank you for my incredible life."
Helen Keller said, "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." As I bid farewell to 2012--the highs and lows, the blessings, the lessons learned--and greet 2013 with a courageous will and open arms, I will choose to do exactly what the incomparable Helen Keller suggests...
I will resolve to keep happy.
(Happy New Year, my darlings!)