Yesterday at work, our boss wished us all a happy new year.
"What a year it was!" he said, and we all agreed, thinking about the ups and downs: New ownership for our company, several rounds of layoffs and buyouts, a complete redesign of the paper, a bankruptcy filing. And, of course, we covered an amazing string of news stories: The shooting deaths of five NIU students, a murderous rampage by a western Illinois man, a helicopter crash that killed a medical crew and their tiny patient, the rise of our senator to the presidency, the indictment of our governor.
"Yes, quite a year," he said, then laughingly added: "Good riddance!"
Indeed, as far as my job goes, I don't care if I never have another year like 2008. The loss of TWO tires in ONE pothole as I drove to a meeting downtown Monday afternoon just seemed to put an exclamation point on the whole thing.
But then I thought about all the other things I experienced this year. Lance and I marked five years of marriage, and my parents celebrated 50. We lost my grandmother this year, but we celebrated 96 wonderful years of having her on this earth. Lauren conquered algebra and is becoming an amazing young woman. Brandon is in honors classes at school and confirmation class at church. One nephew got his driver's license, and another graduated from college. A niece and her husband moved into a beautiful new home. Lance and I held on to our jobs and home in a tumultuous economy and hosted our annual Thanksgiving dinner here with much love and laughter.
Our little Ting Ting has traded in her crib for a big girl bed. She hasn't worn diapers in ages, and she can dress herself. She's talking nonstop and showing great imagination, passion and poise. I've had to say goodbye to my little baby, but I've gained a delightful little girl.
And, after all, what's important? Is it the long hours at the office that make for a good life, or is it the time I spend reading books to my daughter or posing as a patient at her medical clinic? No matter how badly things go during the day, she can wipe it all away in an instant by throwing her arms around me and exclaiming, "Mommy! I love you so much!"
Yes, upon reflection, 2008 was the best year yet -- but something tells me 2009 is going to give it a run for its money.
Happy new year, everyone! May you all experience true peace and contentment.