Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Look Back at 2016

was wandering the streets of my neighborhood with Avalon in some transportation device, as I usually do at dusk, thinking about how I had maybe missed my period when a song came on my phone singing "Life will never get easy, but baby it's gonna get good." And that was all I needed to quiet my mind so that I could notice the dogs twinkle by with their humans toting small, crinkly bags as the sun turned the sky from grey to magenta and then back to blue.

I read something the other day on my friend's instagram that said New Year's Eve is like the buttcrack of the holidays. I didn't appreciate the visual, but I couldn't help feeling like my feelings about Christmas and a whole year of hard work, struggles and accomplishments coming to an end were validated.

This year Avalon's hair turned from brown to blonde. There was an election. There was chemotherapy and a party for Maddie when it was successful and over. There was fading barbecue smoke. There were brightening lights, numbing waters, sinking boats, broken trees, drifting kelp beds, visitors, lost GoPro Cameras, speeding tickets, new friends, new boards, bruised egos, changed minds, pictures of most of it, more sleep, more messes, and 365 sunsets. Of course, that isn't all.

January. I took my first trip without the baby to San Francisco for Basia's birthday wearing a troll mask. While the El Nino weather mostly hit northern California, we did see some signs of it here. One particular storm that caused our canary palm tree to fall on the neighbor's car, sunk our family boat the same day. 
February. After taking the trip up north without Avalon, I felt brave enough to try skateboarding again. I haven't stopped since. With Maddie in the middle of her chemo treatment and chaos erupting around us, I started feeling like I needed a sign that it wasn't all downhill from here. That my childhood dread that adulthood was going to suck way more wasn't true. I felt like I was beginning to question and lose sight of everything I knew until a quiet morning when the baby slept and the drapes danced.

March. Even with the dancing drapes and the warming weather and the crawling, laughing baby, my mind always felt like it was with Maddie. She began sharing some of her stories here so others could understand her experience. Scott and Avalon and I took a trip to the desert with friends. My dreams let me escape from some the the continued chaos around my family. And this quote... "Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have loved to swim." by Tyler Knott Gregson gave me perspective. 
May. I wrote a letter to Avalon and a poem about the wilderness that we named her after.
June. We saw Iron and Wine in concert. They only played their new album, a cardinal sin if there ever was one. Maybe I packed up my frustration about that and brought with me to Texas where I threw an ice cube at a DJ. Back on the home front I found the tool I needed so Basia and I could bead necklaces and we had a party to celebrate Maddie's last chemo treatment. 
August. We drove up north to Eureka to hide in the mountain hills from internet service and the government with Aunt Liz, Uncle Thomas, Basia and Phil. I talked story about surfing (what's new?) and wrote about critics and artists.
October. Halloween, another letter to a very present baby, another water story. Maddie shared the third and fourth chapters to her cancer story.
November. I noticed that after all the difficulties and newness this year had brought,  I was actually excited that my life had changed. Then we went to Santa Cruz.
And now it's December and it's cold and bright. 

I have two conflicting feelings. One is that there is never enough time for everything and the other is that there is just enough. I am so glad and grateful, I am. But there have been times this year where I heard songs playing and I felt like I could only hear the sad instruments, the low keys on the piano predicting the worst. But not now. Not this month that resoundingly punctuates a year where one of the very smallest and best of us beat the odds; stood right in the face of death and darkness and cried and wept and then kept going.

There are some days, many that I had within the bookends of this year, where we feel like we are held together by string and other people and some days we know that if none of that was there we could still find something to laugh about.

When we were walking into the hospital to visit Maddie after she got hot-tub folliculitis we had a cooler full of beer and wine to watch The Bachelorette and the whole thing tipped, ice and Pacificos clambering on the Purell soaked floors, right in front of the security guard and we all just started laughing hysterically.

So here we are, on the eve of a year with a lucky seven, with so many feelings and hopes and plans and spill-able drinks. When I was out surfing I thought about how life kind of ends up seasoning us like a wok or a cast-iron skillet.

And then I think: life will always be exactly as good as it is now, only more so.


  1. New Year can be a bit overwhelming can't it. All the looking back! All the looking forward! Your lovely post is very calming though, I have really enjoyed it. I'm wishing you and yours a wonderful and happy 2017. CJ xx

    1. Thank you CJ, always. Happy 2017 to you too!

  2. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog!
    I wish you a wonderful New Year for you and your family!

    1. Thank you Ryoma! That means so much. I wish the same for you and yours.

  3. Love this. I resonated so much with what you wrote. Life is so hard but so good all at once.

  4. I know 2016 had some lows for you and your family, but I'm so glad you are starting to hear those upbeat happy tunes again. And you are will always be exactly as good as it is now, only more so. Happy New Year friend.

    1. Thank you Allison! Happy New Year to you too!

  5. Loved this recap and your pictures so much, Devon. I struggle with the anxiety about there never being enough time too. Trying to work through it now with Gabby Bernstein's "May Cause Miracles" - we'll see if it helps. And I'm headed for my first colonoscopy in a couple of weeks... I'm terrified. Hugs for getting through such an incredibly tough year. I believe this year will be brighter. <3

    1. I'll be thinking of you Bri. Colonoscopies aren't that bad in that they almost feel over before they even start. They knock you out right away and then snap you awake when it's over. I believe this year will be awesome too! I'll have to check out that book too. <3


I love to hear from you! I try to reply within the comment form.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...