We made our first trip as a family of three up to Maine to visit my family for Christmas. Maya was a trooper on both flights, sleeping almost the whole way both directions. She met lots of extended family for the first time, and learned that she’s going to be getting a baby girl cousin to boss around in May! It was both an eventful and restful trip for us, and my family spoiled us all rotten. We’re very excited to have seen a little snow, even if it happened after Christmas.
We really soaked up the time in Maine while we were there, and I had a surprisingly easy time hanging out and not thinking about the year ahead. But once we headed south, the wheels started turning again. For the last three months, I’ve mostly been operating in survival mode since Maya arrived without much notice! I kept writing for the Irish Independent every week (somehow!), and I even had a few articles in a local magazine (called Local!) here in Houston (you can read the issue here!). But my usual hustle mode totally fell overboard once Maya arrived. I could barely plan dinner let alone plan goals for the coming months.
Now that Maya is in a relatively predictable schedule, my brain is starting to shift into gear again. I’ve let myself warm up by thinking about the coming year, both in terms of a main focus and a few resolutions. 2015 was a year of plotting and planning and courage and bravery, all to make our dream of starting our family happen. We bought a house in Dublin, relocated to Houston, met our little Maya at the hospital, and spent three months enjoying her and pinching ourselves that our big leap really worked. We were more flexible than I ever thought we could be – we weren’t even there for the closing on our house, we tried our best to make our Houston home homey for as long as we need to be here, and we managed to whip up a nursery while the newborn was already in it!
As we’ve found our stride in the last month or so, we’ve realised we want the next year to be about listening to what’s in store for us next. I mentioned to friends the other day that I feel like Michael and I were on this big project with God for the last five years to start our family, like the three of us were constantly working toward that goal, listening for what our steps to our family should be, and following God’s lead wherever that took us. Now that we’ve accomplished that project, there’s a new freedom in being able to listen for what’s next for the three of us – for Michael’s career, for my career, for where our home will be and when, and even for whether we add a fourth member to the mix this year. It’s so exciting to feel like we just get to listen and be guided, and that anything could happen in the coming months. And that no matter what does happen, right now, just as we are, is exactly enough.
But the listening theme is in the smaller, day to day, as well. I want to make sure I’m really listening to Michael and Maya, and making time in our new busy-ness to listen to what they’re saying (or cooing!) as well as what might be underneath those sounds. And I want to listen before I open my mouth to respond, which I’m guilty of not always doing, both to Michael and others around me.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a new year without a few old-fashioned resolutions, though, would it? So, here are my more specific goals for the year, more personal than usual, but that’s the season we’re in at the moment.
1. Fund Maya’s adoption
This is a tricky one, that’s a little odd for me to even talk about publicly. But you’ve all been so heartwarmingly supportive, I want to share with you with the nitty gritty. Because we got Maya so quickly after arriving in Houston, we weren’t in quite the position we had hoped to be financially. Later this spring, we will need to pay a sizeable fee for her adoptive placement as well as considerable legal fees. We have already been on the receiving end of so much generosity that it feels strange to be in a position to need even more. We have applied for several grants, and are saving our pennies as quickly as we can, but we also have a profile on an adoption fundraising site. If you were so inclined, you might have a peek. To say we would be grateful for your generosity would be a giant understatement.
2. Blog again!
I miss being here more than once a week – or in some cases last year, once a month! My regular exploring routine came to a standstill in early October, but Maya is just about old enough now to be toted around on a few local adventures. I also have a whole chunk of posts from Dublin that I was hoping to share all autumn, so you’ll see those as well, however anachronistic they may be! I’m also considering writing more about our experience with infertility, as well as the brass tacks of going through an adoption. I’d love to know if that’s something you’re interested in. For that matter, I’d love to hear what you miss or what you’d like to see more of. I could use a little direction as I get back to the drawing board.
3. Travel again
Each year, Michael and I look ahead and plan weekend trips and longer summer vacations, usually based on his basketball schedule. After moving to Houston, we made plans to go to New Orleans, Austin and a few other weekend trips. I was supposed to travel back to Dublin and spend a few days in Oslo — the very same week Maya arrived. I had a funny feeling about going, so I cancelled my trip. Thank goodness! Needless to say, all our other travel was happily scrapped in lieu of caring for our little lady, but I know Michael is really itching to travel again. We’re heading to Colorado next week for a little skiing, and hopefully we’ll make it to Austin for a weekend adventure later in the spring.
4. Print photo books
This is one of those languishing goals that might take an intervention (or, God forbid, a technological breakdown) to actually get me to accomplish. I want to do it every year, and then I get stuck at first step choosing photos from the 25,000 on my computer. I need a plan. Or a Task Rabbit person!
5. Get a freaking alarm clock
Last year, one of my resolutions was to get my phone out of the bedroom, which was brilliant. I would recommend it to anyone. I got much better sleep, and my body got used to being able to fall asleep much more quickly. Then we moved away from my alarm clock, and I’ve gotten back into the habit of bringing my phone to bed, and into the even worse habit of scrolling through Instagram after feeding Maya at 4am when I can’t fall back asleep. So today, we are investing in a freaking alarm clock. And maybe one for Michael, too!
What’s on your list for 2016? Big goals? Small goals? No goals? I’d love to hear.