Goodbye, 2013! Life is Still Beautiful

With all the 2013 status reflecting going on, I tried to do a bit of reflecting of my own today…and I kept falling short. I could only think of how much this year sucked monkey butt. Everyone’s lives always seem so much more adventurous, financially stable, trouble free and happier than ours via the social media rise-colored lens. 

So in my sour convalescing mood, it was very hard for me to find any redeemable credit in this particular year…a year filled with painful memories of watching one young uncle lose his life to cancer (merely three months between diagnosis and death) and another uncle who passed suddenly just before Thanksgiving, more grey hair popped out on my own head and my hands showed their very first signs of aging, our front yard, porch, van, and arbor was ripped to shreds when a pine tree toppled in a storm (demolishing five years hardwork of emotionally irreplaceable hand built carpentry, painting and flower plantings), our second child started her own speech therapy (mama guilt overload!), other random emotional turmoil….and my purse (along with my kindle and fully loaded wallet) was even stolen right out of my car. 

Nothing good came of this year, right?

And then I looked at Facebook again. 

My own. 

And I was met with a huge snapshot diary of not merely all of the downs this year brought, but some fantastic UPS as well:

A full two week trip to visit Kevin’s family in upstate NY in January…in the snow!

Funfilled playdates all around the midlands area with the kids, holiday parties galore all year long, bike rides, walks, zoo visits, Monkey Joe’s, parks, swimming, BBQ’s with good friends at Pine Island, leisurely days watching the kids play in the lake!

A full week at Myrtle beach (with Kevin’s family again! Love them!), followed immediately by a wonderful combined birthday bash for Jack, Jojo and Caleb at the lake celebrated with 100 friends and family…who helped in raising over $1,000 in donations for charity. 

Ran in three really fun 5K’s, learned how to work all the weight machines at Gold’s (and actually enjoyed it), took zumba classes and spent so much time in yoga that I could pass as a pretzel on my good days.  

Tons of moms nights with some of the most fantastic moms on the planet. Good times, great laughs! Dinners, drinks, pool, white elephant games, craft nights, book clubs, Pinterest parties, football, chili, haunted houses, movies, and even the hugest sun/bonfire ever.  
Our oldest “baby” earned his brown belt/black stripe in karate, graduated preschool, started Chinese immersion school (in which he is doing very well!) and whipped out a semester of violin lessons. 
We watched with pride as both of our oldest kids played Tball together on the same team and conquered yet another small bit of social fear. 
And our youngest learned to stand….walk…run…climb…bounce on the trampoline…and say I love you. (Plus we didn’t forget him for Christmas this year). 
I’ve also formed some terrific new friendships with some extremely wonderful people and strengthened ties with older ones. Women who I can call up and say “Hey, my uncle died, I need you”…women who deliver surprise flowers on my door step on my birthday…or who sit on the floor helping me make stupid fluffy clouds out of yarn for hours as birthday favors…or who stay up late at night chatting with me about the deep empirical, all consuming things in life… or who stay at my house til midnight after movie night teaching me how to dance (although my moves still aren’t quite like Jagger). 
And I adopted my very own little brother – a fellow Fred Rogers fan who I consider a writing genius (and who I often bug way too much for writing tips).    
And all that…that only covers the main events. 
Happy statuses, fun conversations, tagged photos of fun times, monthly albums…they’re all here to remind me that life’s moments are not lived on isolated islands. 
 The events that cause trauma to my heart and soul aren’t to be put on a pedestal, magnified to such an extent that they overshadow the happier moments that soothe and make living worthwhile. The bad AND the good surround us all. It’s merely the memories we feed that determine our future outlook. 

I must remember this. 
Must etch it on my forehead somehow. 

So here’s to 2013! And to 2014!

The good and the bad. 

The happy and the sad.  

Here’s to being able to look back and remind ourselves that 

Life, on the whole, is Beautiful.

Author: Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole is a freelance writer and social media specialist skilled in non-profit marketing and grass roots advertising. This mother of four weaves humor, emotion and depth into stories about parenthood and life in the American South.