In my mother’s home country, New Year’s Eve is celebrated as Old Year’s Night, and this year that seems somewhat appropriate.
While people can fuss over their plans for the year ahead, set resolutions that they don’t really intend to keep, or to put out wishes for how they want things to be in future, I find myself this year looking back at what happened instead.
In my short experience as a parent, it seems that there is very little time available to sit down and reflect on the journey. As I woke up today though, I realised just what a journey the past year has been.
This time last year, my wife and I were still living in Singapore, and contemplating the move back to Australia that we would be doing in April, ahead of the bump being born. I was still waiting to hear from my work if they would still employ me from Australia, while my wife was essentially on the downhilll run with her teaching job as she prepared to finish up in late March.
Since then, it feels like a non-stop rollercoaster, but only now do I look back and just see how far we have really come.
Coming home to Perth in April was thrilling, but involved a lot of adjusting back to things, with probably the biggest adjustment being living with my parents. But that was nothing compared to the call from my wife who, after a routine check-up, was being prepared for an emergency Caesarean. That, thankfully, never happened, but did set us on our toes until our little bubba was born at the end of May.
After weeks of twice-weekly visits to the hospital for monitoring, two attempts at turning the breach baby and a delay of one day, our little bubba came into the world on 31 May, and then life started to change radically.
Well, as I’ve written before, it really changed a few days later when she came home from the hospital.
Then we hit the brutal learning curve that is being a first-time parent. Not only was there feeding, nappies, vomit, more nappies, disrupted sleep and all that goes with (did I mention the nappies?), but we also had hip problems that required our little froggie to wear a leg brace for a few months.
And I also encountered first-hand how fathers can get postnatal depression. And I think for me, the key learning was that, if you’re struggling reach out for help, because with the right help life can be much, much better.
In my case, a few months of antidepressants has helped my mood to return to normal levels, and with the stress of a new baby out of the way, I’m feeling great. And now my doctor has put forward a plan to step down gradually on the meds and that should be it taken care of, for now at least.
Over the year our little baby has grown into an infant, who is now able to interact with us, with a big gummy smile that would melt steel, and parts of her personality starting to show. And to think that in seven months she has gone from a tiny, helpless, screaming child is just mindblowing.
As for work, this year saw me change locations but continue to do the same job, and I think that my colleagues and my boss have been pleasantly surprised about how well it has gone.
The other thing new at the end of this year is our housing situation. We finally got the bulk of our renovations done at our new house, and moved in a couple of days before Christmas. We’ve still got a few small things to do, and we need to get a lot of storage to really put things away, but I’m gradually getting to know the house better and it’s becoming more familiar. I’m looking forward to creating a lifetime of memories in it.
As for 2017? Who knows!
I’ve not been one for waiting until the new year to make resolutions, so let’s just say that I hope to grow into being a better father and husband, becoming more loving to those around me, and perhaps to blog a bit more often.
So, from our family to yours, happy Old Year’s Night!