I realize that this is the post I should have started the new year with. But hey, we are still in January! I am still in the high spirits that every new year brings, which totally justifies my looking back and thinking about my favorite moments and memories from 2017.
The first half of our year was rather uneventful, which is never a bad thing. But the second half of 2017 was super exciting and filled with our favorite moments. The year was full of many milestones, one of which was me turning 35. Funny how if at 30 I had thought about turning 35, I would have imagined myself a lot more mature than I actually am. I might have thought that I will have life figured at 35 and will be set in my ways. None of that has happened yet. And a major reason of this is how late our daughter decided to make an appearance in our lives.
She is the reason our lives still feel unsettled and chaotic, like the aftershocks of a small natural disaster. But she is also why we still feel so young and silly; why we still feel as if we have our whole lives ahead of us to follow our dreams; why we are ready for every adventure life might throw our way. Becoming her mother will be one of my all time favorite moments, always and forever. Aside from that, these are the top 17 events from 2017 which I will hold dear in my memories forever.
1. I feel that 2017 was the year when I finally gained some confidence in what I do. It took me some time to get comfortable with the idea that I am doing my best at this moment. I am a full-time parent and a part-time blogger. And this might not be where I (or my parents) had hoped to see me at 35, but these are the cards that I was dealt and I will play them to the best of my abilities. It was also this year that I fully comprehended what it means not to compare your idea of perfect to someone else’s. I am loving the life I am living right now and am a lot more blessed than I ever imagined I will be.
2. As I gained more confidence in what I do, I spent a lot more time and energy on the skills needed to improve my blog. I took courses in photography, Photoshop and blog management and saw a significant improvement in the overall quality of the content I created. Seeing my traffic grow was one of my favorite moments from 2017.
3. My daughter turned two in the August of 2017 and that will top my list of favorite moments from this year. I still cannot believe how I got so fortunate to be the mother of someone as beautiful, smart, spirited and full of love as her. There is a moment every few days when I am still surprised at the realization that this perfect little human is a part of me.
4. My blog turned one year old in June of 2017. When I started the blog, I had not expected that one year down the road I will still be writing and enjoying it as much as I do. I feel really proud of myself for how consistently I have worked on it and how much of myself I have discovered in the process.
5. With my daughter turning two and getting slightly independent, I finally had the time and patience to focus on my relationship with The Husband again. I started and completed a 30 day challenge where I did not argue with The Husband on any matter. This completely changed the way we had become accustomed to communicating under the stress of early parenthood and greatly contributed to an overall environment of love and affection in our home. That led to many a favorite moments that I will not divulge here.
6. We traveled to Sydney for a three week long family holiday. This was the first real vacation we took with our daughter. The pessimist in me was full of doubts and fears as we embarked on our 14 hour long flight but nothing was as bad as I had expected. We saw the city, fell in love with it and saw it all over again. That’s how much time we had!
7. I sat in Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. This is something I had wanted to do ever since I first read about this garden a few years ago. I had no idea then that I will be travelling to Sydney, living at walking distance from it and getting to experience it at least three times in three weeks. I will never forget the haunting feeling of love and loss I felt sitting on a bench there, as if Wendy had poured all her emotions and memories into designing that landscape. This will probably be one of the favorite moments I have lived so far.
8. My daughter started pre-school at Gymboree. Even though she has been going to the play and learn classes since she was nine months old, we had no plans of sending her to pre-school so early on in our lives. But Gymboree started this new toddler program and we thought, “let’s give it a try.” And before we knew it, I was giving her a kiss at her class-room door and running off to a dentist’s appointment. Freedom!!!
9. My parents in-law visited and my daughter got to spend quality time with her grand parents. Growing up far away from my grand parents, I have always missed their presence in my life. My daughter is very lucky to enjoy the love, the stories and the liberties she takes with her grand parents around.
10. We set the date for my baby brother’s wedding. The wedding will be in 2018 but once the date was announced, the entire family got super excited and the planning and festivities began. Can’t wait!
11. We saw Yanni live in concert. This would not have been possible without the support of my mother-in-law. She stayed with our daughter while The Husband and I left home with a heart full of guilt and shame. But we ended up having such a memorable evening. I am a little embarrassed to admit that during the two and a half hour long concert, I probably thought about my daughter two and a half times.
12. We went on our first date night since having our daughter. We didn’t plan it, she was asleep, her grandma was home, we were hungry. So we went out to get some sushi, ended up having the best pizza in Riyadh and an amazing night. The best part was talking without being interrupted. We even had time for dessert!
13. I got back into my habit of reading. Before I became a mother, I feel that every stage in my life was defined by the book I was reading then. I was so tired in the first year of motherhood that try as I might, I couldn’t focus on a book for more than a few minutes. The lack of good literature was starting to show on my mind, so I decided to change that. I am reading any chance that I get now and am enjoying it more than ever.
14. The Husband and I celebrated our seven year anniversary. Each year, I love him a lot more than the last. He is the only person who can ground me and make me aim for the stars at the same time.
15. After 35 years together, I feel that I have finally understood my skin. It is no where near as good as I would like it to be, but I am getting there. I know what it needs, why it acts the way it does and what it needs to appease its anger. Things are working out between us and a blog post is coming soon.
16. I bought a Microsoft Surface Pro-4. It had been on my wish-list since the beginning of the year and I finally bought it in December. While I really enjoy the display, graphics, speed and all that techy stuff, what I love most about it is the size. It fits snugly into my larger handbags and goes wherever I need to take it.
17. We spent an entire year full of health, love, happiness and adventure in our home. With a two year old, it is fairly normal at times to feel that your own life has come to a halt. That all that you do is for the benefit of that little person. At such times, I remind myself of how temporary all this is. How soon she will not need us as much as she does now. That’s when I hold her tight, kiss her and smell her until she pushes me away.
To sum up, we had a great 2017 and I hope that so did you. We had a lot more times that can be counted as our favorite moments that are not included in this list. The new year is brimming with excitement and uncertainties and we are fully geared to welcome every new adventure. Happy new year to you and thank you very much for being here.