So here it is. The compulsory end of year blog post. And what a year it’s been. As you all know 2016 has been dominated by illness and death making it without a doubt the worst year of my life yet. But right now I don’t want to talk about the bad parts of 2016 (you can read all about those here – and writing it down once is enough). I don’t want them to overshadow everything. Though it’s inevitable that a lot of the sadness will travel on into 2017, I know in my heart that this new year will also bring good stuff. There will be changes, there will be challenges, there will be love, there will be tears and there will be joy. But first of all it’s time to say goodbye to 2016 (and boy am I ready to leave it behind). A year that, looking back at it, was not all bad. So here’s some of the fun, happy, good moments that happened in the last twelve months.
A quiet time. After spending a fantastic Christmas in Switzerland (read about it here) I was mainly enjoying maternity leave. Going on zoo dates, riding my horse lots, getting to know our son better every day and watching him learn new stuff all the time. I was getting the playroom all ready and decorated his room.
We also had our first ever baby free night out when we went to the huntball of the Fingal Harriers.
And in April I went to Switzerland for a sneaky weekend trip all by myself. It was my 10 year leaving cert reunion and I took the opportunity to also meet up with my college friends for a pizza night. Throw in a bit of fun family time in the local park and you have the perfect mix for a happy break.
In May I had another trip to Switzerland – this time with Ciaran. It was my godson’s christening. Again a fun filled weekend of catch up time with family and friends.
After 11 months (yes that’s right!!) off, the end of my maternity leave had arrived and in June I went back to work. Amazingly I had found a job in an oncology unit only 20 minutes away from home, with no traffic. Compared to the 45 – 90 minute commute to my old job, it made a huge difference to my work life balance. I had interviewed for it in November and everything worked out perfectly so that I could start it as I was due to go back. And even better they agreed to let me work part-time meaning I only have to work three days. The team is great, the management very helpful and I’m so lucky to be working there.
In July my mum came over for two weeks as I needed a babysitter and she very kindly volunteered for the job. As I only work part time we had plenty of time for some fun stuff such as a trip to Belfast, some shopping, walks in Tara and just hanging out at home working on various projects.
In August we celebrated Ciaran’s first birthday and we had an amazing day at the beach with Chris’ family. Mine and Ciaran’s first time swimming in the Irish Sea…. only took me six years! There was so much laughing – for example when Chris’ mum spilled her glass of red wine over a very white dog, delicious food, kayaking to a remote beach and as said swimming in the sea.
In September we spent a week’s family holiday in Druids Glen, doing absolutely nothing at all except for eating, sleeping, chatting, going to the spa and leisure centre, meeting friends and watch telly. It was also the week Ciaran took his first steps. So exciting.
Not much else good happened in Autumn as it was October when Chris’ health situation changed for the worst. But my brother got married to the wonderful Thirza who fits into our family just perfectly. I’m so glad they found each other and we very happily welcome her into our crazy Handschin clan. Sadly I couldn’t make the wedding, which broke my heart but they had the perfect day!
It was also the time I realised that I have the most amazing bunch of family and friends. The support I received from them is second to none. And one of those amazing friends brought me for a beach ride a week after Chris had passed away. The beauty of nature, our shared love for horses and the company of someone who really cares was exactly what I needed!
Winter is the time for balls and I decided that I was in desperate need for a fun night out. So I got all dolled up and went to the show jumping ball. A major thank you to my parents in law for minding the little man for me, making this evening possible.
We had Ciaran’s second Christmas in Norfolk with Chris’ family. We finally got to see Tash’s new house and enjoyed nice food, fun movies and lovely walks. One of which we went Seal watching at the beach. And now I’m back home enjoying time with my parents and looking forward to a fun filled New Years Eve together with our neighbours and Chris’ brother Anto. There will be games, there will be pizza, there will be prosecco and quite possibly a few tears.