I’ve created so many short video/photo compilations over the years, always making my best choice of transition for each scene change. Transitions can spin, slide, or puzzle. They can open a story or close it. I often use the crossfade transition where one image gently gives way to the next, and it seems that pretty much describes the way our family is making the transition from 2018 to 2019.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve by gearing up with lights and lacing on our spiked shoes for a run through sloppy snow in the Resolution Run 5K. Since moving to Anchorage in 2012, we’ve enjoyed the easy access to the running community. Living close to downtown, we’ve run many races and have quite a t-shirt collection, but this was the first time we’ve participated in this particular race. The event was festive and fun and we will definitely plan to run this race again.
Afterward, we came home, Facetimed with family, and then in the final hours of 2018, Ryan built us a fire and we sat around the living room looking at pictures from 2018. A lot has changed since this time last year. There have been some huge shifts from what what was to what is. A few of them I anticipated, but most…..not so much.
In January 2018, we did not have a dog and did not have any plans for one. Ginger arrived in August. And for very many reasons, we are so glad to have her here.
In January, we had not started our remodel, but the contractor was chosen and the flooring was on order.
We anticipated Mom and Dad would live with us for big chunks of the year, and indeed, having Mom here (and Dad, when he could get away from work) through the spring and into the early summer was truly a gift. And not just because they tackled enormous yard clean up projects when the snow finally thawed.
Last January, I was working 18 hours a week at the library, shelving books and complaining about how it hurt my hands, but had no plans to quit. When our June travel took us to Kentucky for a wedding and Nashville for the airport and the pool, I used the break for my exit plan. My hands have been ever so grateful, but I suspect they may never entirely recover.
At the end of June, my dear friend and college roommate brought her family all the way from Montreal to spend 10 days with us. We had so much fun traipsing around our favorite haunts, sharing our life with them. What a tremendous gift, this friendship through the years and across the miles.
And speaking of friendship across time, a couple of David’s childhood friends came to visit over Labor Day, and the three guys did a fabulous job creating Alaska memories together and tapping back into rich, deep friendship. Also. they passed reading glasses out every time they needed to read a map or study a travel brochure.
My aunt and uncle and their family came to explore Alaska at the end of July. Cousins and second cousins. It was a delight to have them all here and when they left I found myself wistful yet again–thinking about the choices we’ve made, the path that we’ve followed to bring us here, so far from home. Thankfully, there is an antidote for that ever true sense of loss and grief, and we can find it in the friendships and community we are making here, keeping us anchored well in this place. I look forward to the coming year as these relationships and opportunities continue to unfold.
When we bought the house in November 2017, we took out insurance to cover us for Airbnb rentals, but did not have specific plans to use it. But after summer family and friends left and my parents had no plans to return, we opened up as an Airbnb and found ourselves full blast busy through the end of tourist season and beyond. It continues to be a useful side gig and we have stories to tell.
When I first started thinking about this January as compared to last, I thought that we had not yet imagined also homeschooling Ethan, but when I looked back at a January 2018 journal entry I discovered that rumblings had indeed started. Ethan had such a great experience at Inlet View Elementary that I never anticipated that he’d choose to join us at home for his middle school years, but when school started in August that is exactly what he did. It’s been a full-time demand on me to be a homeschooling mom this school year, but I couldn’t be more delighted with the growth and goodness I see in my boys. I don’t know how the next couple years are going to unfold for them, nor what it will mean for me, but I am learning to trust the process.
I guess the last bullet point on my mind, when I think about the crossfade, is David’s job. It’s what brought us here and it’s probably what will frame our eventual leaving. But meanwhile, it’s in a slooooow crossfade of its own. He works for the city utility company and in 2018 the city began the process of selling to another local utility company. By the end of 2019 the deal should be done and we will know more fully what the change means for us.
As I look into this new year I suppose I know about as much as I ever know about the details to come. In some things, less. In others, more. Mostly what I know is that I will keep showing up. Because that is what I do. And along the way I will discover ever more how grateful I am for this place, these people, this life. And also, this dog.