Thank U, 2018

My original plan was to record one second for each day of 2018 and make a little movie out of it. I have a friend who had done this before, and I loved the way it turned out. I cherish my photos, but video offers beautiful subtleties that pictures just can’t: my mom’s affectionate mannerisms, my nephews’ voices, the twinkle in my niece’s eye when I tell her how gorgeous she is, and the slow progression of my husband’s mischievous smile when he’s said something he knows I’d deem inappropriate. However, my approach changed by February, when I realized that some days called for more than a mere second of footage. I needed more time to chronicle my niece hunting for Easter eggs in her white, faux fur coat, and December easily sweet-talked me into bigger chunks of time with her whimsical lights and pure-hearted children. In the same vain, some days looked a little too much like the one before it, so I skipped a few due to monotony.

Working on this project throughout the year allowed me to keep my eyes open to the present and acknowledge the sovereign beauty of the ordinary. Taking vacations, celebrating birthdays, and attending concerts are delicious highlights, but man, I love the in-between. The day-to-day. Those are the moments I’ll be reliving when I’m sipping English breakfast tea in my rocking chair at 99.

Lavish, lavender and apricot sunsets encompassing the city we live in and love.

Nail-biting sporting events played by little guys I’d do anything for.

Laid-back dinners on the couch preceding cutthroat Jeopardy matches with my best guy.

Watching my niece’s proud, toothy smile as she graduated from needing an adult (or big brother) as a walking aide, to scampering fearlessly on her own, and listening eagerly as she advanced from calling me Nin-ah to Ya-Ya to Jenna.

Rowdy, splashy Saturdays in the pool with family contrasting quiet Sundays churching, brunching, and grocery shopping with my husband.

I loved those occasions. So much. I grasped their goodness as they unfolded, and I knew they were special.

However, I need my future self to know that this video didn’t capture everything that went down in 2018. It’s a pretty fair glimpse, but there were some valleys that didn’t get filmed (not that I’d include them anyway). It doesn’t show me curled on my bedroom floor, begging God to heal my (re-injured) hip, declaring that I’d had enough. It doesn’t show me wrapping that hip with an ACE bandage for seven months of the year, because I couldn’t walk otherwise. It doesn’t reveal the times I got my feelings hurt by a friend or bickered with my husband over something ridiculous.

I’ve learned powerful lessons from dark moments like those, though. I know that even those chapters can be fruitful. They’ve helped me to cherish (and seek) the light. They’ve strengthened my connection with God (sometimes when life feels easy, I get lazy about my prayers). They’ve also revealed the support system that has kept me standing and smiling.

So, thank you, 2018, for all of it. You were good to me and my family, and I really, really loved you.

I do not own the rights to the music in this video.