Friday, January 1, 2010

dear 2009,

{us Chapmans getting ready to ring in the new year- M's mom had this really cute idea for all of us to decorate our own party hats. even Ellie had a little head-band to decorate! i'm totally gonna have this be a family tradition because it was so fun}.

what a year, what a year. i feel like i blinked and you disappeared. (or maybe it was that i fell asleep and woke up realizing that the ball had dropped and everyone drank their bubbly without me...that's what i get for being a morning person...aka NOT a night person). wow. i get sad thinking of telling you good bye. because, well, because you were a good year to me and my family. a year of hope, a year of crazy changes, a year of good-byes, a year of hellos, a year of friendships and relationships, and a year of stress, happiness, and joy. and to add to all of that, you were the last year to the decade of my youth. yes, i may be gripping to hold on to that decade of my youth a bit longer...but i promise i'll give it up soon. maybe after i reminisce just a little bit with you and thank you for lots and lots of things.

you gave me many gifts this year- one of them being a new job at a new school. together we met the cutest little five-year olds with the cutest parents in the cutest little community. i hope to never forget them and the things they taught me about love, life, snacks, learning, reading, friendship, humor, shapes, math, and trust. you tried to teach me how to balance being a mommy and a teacher- even though i stunk at it pretty bad. you also helped me forge relationships and friendships with the neatest ladies in the world- co-workers who i learned so much from, gained inspiration and guidance from, and consider dear friends. you showed me that next to my religion and my calling as a mom,being a teacher brings me the most fulfillment and joy.

while i loved my experience as a teacher, you helped me celebrate early retirement. wow was i glad to be done balancing being a young mom and a teacher...for now. you gave me the gift of being able to be a stay-at-home mom for the first time in my life- how will i ever repay you? i've never been so happy doing anything in my entire life.

oh man, and remember all of our car drama this year? break-downs on the free-way wth engine problems, flat tires, spin-outs on the snowy high-way... but somehow you provided me with safety. thank you for keeping me and my family safe.

you gave me new t.v. shows to love and reinforced my love for old ones. i grew to become incomplete without my weekly fill of Kris Allen's breathtaking renditions of any song he sang, House's sarcasm, Kate, Sawyer, Jack, John, Ben & Juliette (& everyone in between)'s drama and mysteries, awe-inspiring dance routines, Pam & Jim's romance and Michael's lack-thereof, and finally, Glee music that stays in my head till the following week when i get new songs to stick in my head. and while i know that i probably could and should be putting my energy into something with a little more substance-- i didn't. and i won't. because i like t.v. a lot. thank you for bringing me some great seasons of tv, 2009.

you helped me forge and strengthen wonderful friendships and relationships- some already existing, and some new. some in real-life, and some in this fantasy world i call the blogosphere. in times when i could've felt lonely and isolated, you put people in my path to help me feel validated and loved.

you also were with me to survive my first year of motherhood. it was stinky, messy, tantrumy, fun, exciting, slobbery, funny, joyful, stressful, expensive, multitask-ful, tiresome, rewarding, frustrating, fulfilling, and lovely in each of its outstanding emotions. you taught me that motherhood is it's own journey...on which i have only taken 2 baby steps, and includes ups, downs, curves, spins, and lots of hugs and kisses. you taught me to love being a mom. thank you for that.

you watched us close the chapter of BYU-- one that seemed would never end-- one that we were so sad to close-- and still are sad that is over. you helped M finish strong in his studies and gave us many wonderful memories at basketball games and football games and on-campus festivities. you gave us pride in knowing that we will always be Cougars at heart even though we had to move away. rise and shout, rah rah, rah rah rah!!

you were right by me when i fell down the stairs in sacrament meeting. and almost cursed. i think you may have laughed a little. i won't hold it against you.

we celebrated 4 years of marriage together. you made me remember why i chose M-- because he was the kindest person i had ever met, and still is the kindest man on the face of the earth. man, i'm lucky. thanks for helping me remember how lucky i truly am.

we felt our families grow even closer together-- as we celebrated all sorts of occasions together including birthdays, fourth of july festivities, Easters, births, homecomings, farewells, graduations, concerts, Halloween parties, family dinners, outings, and everything in between. you gave me the overwhelming sense of belonging and meaning with each new memory that was made with my family and M's family. you helped me gain greater love and appreciation for the people in life who matter most: family.

you gave us the most wonderful summer to date- with trips and vacations- a community garden to tend to- and excursions to the local water park and the library. you let us work on our tans and gave us reason to be lazy and free. really, you gave us the greatest gift of all: time to spend together. thank you for giving us time.

and then it was time for us to move. and you were there. you were there with every frame i took off the walls of that little apartment we had lived in for 3 years. you were there with every box that was intricately packed. you watched us throw together about 10 "random" boxes at 4:00 am when we just wanted the packing to be over...and then you saw the hot tears roll down when i saw that place all empty and bare...the place that had once been full of messes and crumbs...yummy dinners and funny friends....and lots of love and laughter. you were there through all the goodbyes. and even though my heart pulled me back and wanted me to stay, you helped me be strong and move forward.

so then we came here. to beautiful Northern California. we experienced overwhelming love and support in every corner from M's family. they feed us, they shelter us, they introduce us to people to help us feel a part of a new community. they showed true excitement we were here- which made the move and transition much easier. together we definitely have invaded their space- with toys, crumbs, messes, laughter, sesame street, extended bath-times, laundry, and much much more. and yet, we definitely have become greater friends and created new wonderful memories. you helped us be happy in our new surroundings.

with that said, you helped M start his career here in NorCal.
which was scary.
and made life seem more...real.
and while we miss the time together...we are sooo grateful for the security that comes with having a job in this crazy time of economic hardship (including the paychecks).

in the mean time, you watched over my family as they moved from my childhood house. there were lots and lots of tears. how do you say goodbye to memories, and so many people, and your favorite tree, and your bedroom floor that you spilled countless jars of nail-polish on, and your closet that is still adorned with the stickers of Ben Affleck in it, and the window that you used to look out and pray from...and then secretly wish on the stars and the moon for all those embarrassing things that i'd never in a million years admit to...? you can't. and you were ok with that. you let us cry...and helped us find comfort in knowing that that will always and forever be my childhood home- the house to my memories and childhood dreams.

and then you were with us when we found our first house.
and it's been...busy ever since. turning and old run-down house into a home isn't as easy as it sounds.
and even though you didn't help us see it finished, you gave us that house. we are grateful to you for that- and hope that your sister, 2010, can help us get it done!

and, while all that i said is nice and fluffy and made you really special and unique...
it all seems frivolous unless i add our sweet Ellie to the mix.

you'll always be the one that she discovered the world with for the first time. you were there when she said her first words, when she drank her first sippy of apple juice and became an addict, when she took her first step and became an instant pro, when she gave us her first kisses and said her first "love you," when she learned how to wave, and clap- you were there when she ate her first cake (and all was down-hill from there in the sugar department). you were with us when she experienced Elmo for the first time, and saw the animals at the zoo. you gave her confidence, spunk, stubborness, and her sweet personality that is simply addicting and fills your soul in ways you didn't even know was possible. you helped her transition from the Baby world to the toddler world- and boy is it wonderful. and when all is said and done, it is because of Ellie that my belief in all things spiritual has increased, my gratitude for my own Parents has been strengthened, and my knowledge of my Heavenly Father and my Savior's presences in my life has become immovable.

and so, 2009, you are irreplaceable. i'll always remember you- the year of change. thank you for hangin' in there with us..and for letting us hang out with you. i miss you already, my dear friend! and will love you forever,



Heather said...

I am so glad that I was able to teach with you, even if it was only for a year. Your recap of '09made me realize all the events I should be grateful for last year. Thanks for that! Miss you and hope 2010 is filled with more amazing events, stories and excitement!

Mat and Brooke said...

You are amazing. I love how you write--makes me feel like I was there with you, experiencing it all right alongside you. I'm glad 2009 was so good to you, Marce. You'll find it only keeps on getting better as you move into your new home, M gets settled into his career, and Ellie continues to grow and be even cuter than you ever would have imagined she could be! At least that's how my life seems to be going... :) There's just so much to love and enjoy and so many opportunities to grow and learn. I'm so happy for you.

Love you.

Ashley Myntti said...

I am so glad I was able to teach with you too! You are going to have an amazing year, I know it! Love ya!

Ryan Rose said...

Marce, it was so nice to read a recap of 2009 that wasn't just gloom & doom. It was a rough year for everyone in some ways - but I felt like it also made everyone refocus on what really matters and what you write about most: good friends, good family, and doing what you love, because life is short and unpredictable. Even though our lives are quite different, I'm glad that even as this "decade of our youth" comes to a close (and really, I hope to make every decade of my life a youthful one, full of possibility and growth!), we both share a deep sense of gratitude for what we've been given. xoxo, and good luck in 2010!

Ashley said...

Thank goodness for blogs! As I read your reminiscing words, I felt like I was experiencing your year for a second time. It's been so fun reading about your adventures. I love your spice for life and your hilarious perspective on things. I hope you have a wonderful new year!

Much love.

Linda said...

What would I do without your blog posts?: I wold have a little less laughter, a little less remembering, a little less tears of joy... a little less of Ellie and Mike and YOU! Thank You for sharing and taking the time to add so much to my life. I am so happy we get to have you for a few days. I LOVE the hats idea. Awesome tradition!
I love you to the Highest of highests! Un besote Y abrazote.

Joni and Rico Adams said...

I love the collage! And your 2009 letter. It feels nice to reflect sometimes and that's why the new year can be so great and then to set the new goals (yikes) helps you stay on track.

kristen said...

I always have to check on your little blog because we both have an Ellie (only mine doesn't have an E on the end) I'm sitting here wondering why in the world I cried over a letter written to 2009. You have an incredible way with words! I hope this next year is just as good to you and your beautiful Ellie.