For me, there had always been something magical about December 31st, where the possibilities of recreating and realigning yourself exist. You go to bed one person, and the next morning you could begin a new year as someone else. Every year I had a chance to finally get it right.

All my life, I have been told that I’m too much.  Too much talking, taking up too much space, too bossy, too argumentative, and too passionate.  Was it meant to diminish me?  Yes sometimes. Meant as a caution? Likely.   And for most of my life, I listened.  Heavy-hearted, I struggled to fit a vision that people could easily accept.  Who doesn’t want to feel the warm embrace of acceptance and love? Even if it felt like a burden to change myself. 

Of course, those feelings of inadequacy softened when I met Scott.  I had a partner that didn’t judge me, didn’t ask that I be different and genuinely seemed to like who I was.  Unconditional love is a primal need.  The confidence that comes from knowing you are safe and protected gives you the courage to explore the world outside your home and hearth. The moment I laid eyes on each of my children, I knew this to be true.  It would be our strengths and our challenges that would shape the world as they knew it until they could influence it themselves.  Our children were the saplings from our seeds, destined to form their own deep roots. 

Despite the clarity with my family, I still couldn’t shake the overwhelming desire to correct my flaws until my son’s disappearance.  It is through life’s tragedies that the greatest epiphanies take shape. 

“ Epiphanies are never convenient, and often arrive too late.”  ~ Neal Shusterman

All those traits that everyone thought were too much suddenly became the tools I needed to find Ryan.  All those perceived flaws were now opportunities. I embraced what I once shunned and sought to change.  I did not break.  I did not crumble.  I grew strong, and I became fierce.

Now I wonder why I felt it necessary to constantly shape myself into this palatable, easily digestible version. An impossible task to be sure bound by the fickleness of others.

Like you, I am this beautiful masterpiece of complexities and ordinariness. I am not flawed but rather a work in progress. My canvas undergoes subtle changes that I, as the artist, am privileged to make.

Unlike previous years, this year, there will be no New Year’s resolutions to re-create or re-align. Instead, I want to take the best moments from all the years and add to them.

May this year be filled with more adventures, love, and the ability to grow exponentially more in spirit.


 Happy 2023 everyone!