I didn’t write an end-of-year post, a goodbye-2014/hello-2015 wrap-up. Because the end of the year didn’t feel like an ending. But now does.
The year of the horse is coming to a close. It started on January 31, 2014, just before my last week of work. Within weeks, we had packed up our house and were making the 5-day drive to a new city, a new country, a new home, a brand new life.
Over the summer, my niece, A, had a decision to make: horses or dance? For the past few years, she’s been taking horse grooming/riding lessons and had her last birthday party at the stables. I remember how crazy about horses I was at her age. My friend, Melissa, had horses, and I would spend as much time at her house as I could for that very reason. We would brush them and take turns riding her pony. It’s one of many similarities A and I share. My mother infamously said, “If I hadn’t been there when she was born, I would swear she’s your child.” Like me, she loves reading and writing. She makes up stories and keeps journals. She has an affection for animals of all kinds. I’m sure our shared genes play a role, but we have something else in common: we were both born in the year of the horse.
During my family’s visit in June, A made lists of all the things she would need to care for a horse of her own. We watched the So You Think You Can Dance auditions. She begged for a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Montreal. I could almost see her mind changing, back and forth, trying to decide which she loved more. Horses. Dance. Horses. Dance.
When baby girl was born, I immediately began searching for pieces of myself in her, traces of sameness, qualities that we shared, that strangers would comment on: “just like your mama.” She definitely didn’t get her sleep habits from me. And that stubbornness? That could just as easily have come from her father.
Back in the fall, as she was making her first attempts at mobility, I sent my oldest sister a video of baby girl doing her inch worm crawl in her yellow striped sleep gown, and she replied, “You used to do the same thing in your yellow zip up sleep bag!” I held tight to that statement. Finally, something we shared.
Since then, countless people have said she looks like Hubby, but I see those dimples and remember her inch worminess and just nod.
This year has had a bit of everything: the joyous addition of baby girl to our family of two; the loss of my father-in-law; the start of Hubby’s new job; the realization that it may not be the start to his career that he so wanted; exploring a new city; and hunkering down in our apartment, safe from the brutal elements outside. All while hopelessly sleep deprived, sometimes in horrible pain, and–lately–frequently jet-lagged. For all the good this year brought us, there was plenty of heartache as well, and I’m not sad to see this horse gallop into the distance.
At the end of the summer, A decided to try something new. She chose dance. I can’t say I blame her.