or as Instagram would put it
Here are the themes that popped out at me.
I love to travel! I always have. Whether road trips back to Nebraska or leaving on a jet plane to Minnesota or big cities or warm beaches, just say the word, and I'm gone. This year my travels took me to Nebraska twice--to celebrate birthdays, to see Jackson Browne, and most importantly to be with family. I also got to go to Christmas Lake twice, too--to spend Easter with my family and back again to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday. 2018 also brought me my first ever trip to New York City--to see Springsteen on Broadway and to explore Manhattan. I've had the Big Apple on my bucket list for a very long time, and how fun it was to check this one off. And oh how wonderful it was to return to San Diego. My sister Kerri and nephew Gabe were the best traveling buddies for Mom and me as we continued Mom's 90th birthday celebration at the Pacific Terrace Hotel on Pacific Beach. We stayed there five years ago, and we were delighted to find that the hotel is as fabulous as it was back then, and many of our favorite restaurants are still there. My wanderlust definitely was satisfied this year.
|Travels near and far|
I don't know where I would be without our Royal Babies--all ten of them! Being an aunt, and now a great aunt, has been my greatest joy in life, and now that I'm retired, I get to experience so many of their events and celebrations. This year, two more sweet babies joined our family--Nora Marie (Nate and Lindsey) in June and Atlas Thompson (Amy and Austin) in October. I met Nora when we were in Minnesota in August, and I fell immediately under her spell. She is a little doll! Since Atlas was born right here in the Denver area, I got to meet him when he was 36 hours old. I didn't want to stop holding him then, and i still can't get enough of him. They join Ethan, now 8 and a big, happy 3rd grader. Three of The Royals started kindergarten this year--Drake, Max, and Madi. These 5 year olds love being in school and are learning so much. Lucy Mae is 4 and loves dresses , Barbies, and singing. Quinn, 3, is our animal lover and Little Miss Smiley Face. Archer is 3 and in pre-school and loves being Atlas's big brother. And finally Russell turned 2 in November and has everyone under his thumb, especially his grandparents Kerri and Marty and his three uncles. How grateful I am to be their great aunt.
Always the clearest theme in my life is this big, beautiful Thompson family of mine. I am happiest in the midst of them, especially when all 35 of us are together. That happened this summer as we all gathered to celebrate our Mom/Grams for her 90th birthday. We spent the Christmas Lake weekend boating and swimming and tubing and eating and laughing and celebrating Mom, and despite the unique personalities, that Thompson blood runs strong through all 35 of us and binds us together, forever. And speaking of my Mom, at 90 years and 4 months, she is vibrant, smart as a tack, happy and as loving as ever. We are all so grateful to have her in our lives.
The Writer in Me
Although not an obvious theme, I do continue to enjoy writing. I wrote blog posts for most of the major happenings in 2018. If you're interested, you can click on any of the red words, and you will be directed to a post on that subject. I also branched out a bit and wrote a few articles for Cavalier Rescue USA, a non-profit rescue group for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Several of these articles took me out of my comfort zone, but I learned so much while researching and writing. I adore this group--it helps me fill a hole in my heart.
Which brings me to the elephant in the blog post. 2018 had barely started when I lost my Sweet Juliet. I was so unprepared for the sorrow her death brought--my heart was broken, and the sorrow shadowed most of my year. I felt it most in the fall. Jewel and I loved our walks around our neighborhood, and we especially loved crunching through fall leaves and stopping to enjoy the colors and smells of autumn. I couldn't bring myself to take walks without her, but I made myself go in the fall. I needed to see the beauty again, and so off I went, searching for color. But it just wasn't there. I thought maybe I went too early, and so I made myself go a few weeks later, but the leaves were already dropping, leaving trees almost bare. Even my favorite spots lacked the reds and golds I love so much. This fall was disappointing, to say the least. Maybe it had something to do with the weather we had, or maybe my timing was off, or maybe it was that shadow dulling my view. Whatever it was, I truly hope next fall is better.
Shadows aren't ever permanent, and it took a baby to shine a light through this one. Our little Atlas entered this world in the most miraculous way, a story for his mom and dad to share, but his strength and will ushered him in on his terms. When I held him for the first time, 36 hours after his birth, I felt the light shine all the way through my heart. That feeling of emptiness was gone, and I finally felt a true sense of happiness. I'll always miss my girl, but I smile and have a warm feeling now when I think of her.
|A baby changes everything|
My champagne glass and heart are full as I toast to Jewel and see her tail wagging, her big brown eyes shining, and hear her softly snoring.
And here's to our Royal Babies and all the big, beautiful Thompson family as I carry your laughter and love with me into 2019.
And here's to travels near and far as I dream of home and beaches and sunshine.
And here's to retirement as I piece together themes and messages and look forward to discovering a new direction.
And to you, my friends, as I reflect on the joy of kindred spirits and soul sisters.
Wishing you all a new year full of love and happiness--Happy 2019!
|Ringing in 2019 with books and bubbles|