I was commenting last night to Zach how this might have been my favorite New Year's Eve. We went to a hockey game with most of my in-laws as well as my sister and her friend. We all had a fantastic time. When we got home we let the kids have a sleepover in Dailah's room. For the next hour and a half Zach and I played board games and listened to the kids on the monitor. It made for an entertaining time. At about 10:45 Zach and I snuggled in to watch the ball drop in New York knowing I would doubtfully make it to the Iowa New Year. I was mentally taking stock of the last year and noticed a smile creep across my face. A lot happened this past year but it began and ended the same way-with Zach and my legs laced together, beer in hand, my head in the crook of his shoulder. I'm fairly certain as long as my years begin and end like that, anything else in between can happen and I'll make it through.
But since this is the closest I'll get to a scrapbook, I thought I'd record a bit about each of the Klipschs.
Trysten (6) is the oldest and makes note of that often. He started attending a different school this year and has come home with a more colorful vocabulary as well as a more thorough outlook on life. He continues to be the one to remark that his favorite part of the day is snuggling with me or something sweet like that. There is something about the oldest that brings out the mother bear in us, I think. They were the first ones to bring out this power we didn't know we had. This year brought on him an awareness of how he looks to other people and a new emotion-embarrassment. Whether it be tripping when he didn't mean to or running into a glass door, his tears are more likely attributed to being embarrassed than being hurt, though he would never tell you that. This boy wears his heart on his sleeve, which makes me painfully aware of the fact that I'm fiercely overprotective of that in particular.
Tariku (4) is our "middle" but you would never know it. He spends a lot of his day taking care of one thing or the other. More than likely it's his younger sister but he can also be found cleaning or organizing (thus taking care of mommy), trying to feed the dogs or let them out to go to the bathroom. He clearly holds onto the notion that he has to be useful in order to stay, which we're trying to combat on an hourly basis. 2009 has been the year that he clearly is starting to feel he belongs with us. Because of this, we are seeing a few more things that he had been trying to cover up (things I've mentioned in this blog before). This makes us both happy and sad. Happy that he knows he's with us forever and sad that the events leading up to him becoming ours will forever be a part of his story. Though I know I shouldn't say this, he has my favorite laugh of anyone I've ever heard. I think it's because he's the only one of our kids who has experienced such great loss and trauma. It's like his laugh is so sweet because he knows the opposite of happiness and so appreciates happiness so much more. For him, I find myself protecting things he cannot protect himself yet-his self-esteem, his truly beautiful nature. 2009 was a witness to my falling in love with this boy over and over again.
Dailah (3) is the mommy of the group. As I type she is giving her baby a bottle, kissing her good morning and burping her. Not a lot has changed in the last year for this one other than she now speaks in full paragraphs, can tell sweet stories and has developed into a full fledged entertainer. Dailah seems to have wholeheartedly embraced her role as the lone female and uses it in every capacity she can, most notably getting whatever she wants from whoever is around her. Though we tease a lot about her being a little diva, she has quite the sweet heart. Should one of her boys fall ill or get even the slightest injury she is the first on the scene, stroking their hands and telling them "it's ok". She holds Tariku's hand every morning as I comb out his hair (there are tears nearly every time, you see). Dailah remains the uncontested best snuggler, she throws herself into our arms with abandon. I think for my life I will be protecting her natural innocence and our pride (I have a feeling when she's doing standup I will have given her quite a bit of ammunition against me).
Aristotle (5) our chocolate lab runs amok on the campgrounds. Stealing food from people's campfires and stealing hearts from the workcrew (who recently bought dog treats to give him...and we wonder why he had gained 10 lbs in a few months).
Abe (1) our great dane is the dog version of Dailah. A comedian in his own right. Watching him prance through snow is one of the funniest things we've seen. Though close to 150 lbs he still considers himself a lap dog and truth be told when Zach is away, he can be found on the bed next to me.
Zach has come fully into his own as the Director of Camp. Watching him find the place where his passion and God's provisions meet has been exceptionally wonderful this year. Zach has a natural ability towards leadership which has become increasingly evident as he's been able to get a typically nomadic group (counselors) to sign on year after year. They believe in what he's doing and can't wait to be a part. Zach comes home to a house who eagerly awaits his arrival every day. To a wife who asks incessant questions about his day and to kids waiting to be thrown, wrestled and challenged in the Wii. No matter how hard his day, he always saves even the tiniest bit of patience for his family.
As for me, well I spend most of my days humbled by this life. Raising kids has become the most satisfying work I've ever done which is a complete shock to me. I also truly enjoy my work as a fitness instructor and have become good friends with a lot of my participants as we sweat and sometimes cry together. Being a part of their health journey is a really fantastic place to be as I see them become better versions of themselves. Water For Christmas continues to be at the top of my priority list as well. Though I don't blog about it or talk about it as much as last year at this time, I think about it all the time. As cool as it is to be able to tell people where you were when certain events in history happened, I am ever so humble to say I was a small part of this group of people who fulfilled God's promise to the world.
We have many hopes and dreams for 2010. 2009 was the first year in our lives together when we weren't preparing to have a baby, moving or taking on a new job. We will doubtfully be able to say the same for 2010 but we're ready for whatever might happen. With hands intertwined, we'll face whatever comes our way with love in our hearts and the will to thrive-not just survive.
May you face the new year with the same gleeful tenacity. Happy New Year!