But this year was different.
When my oldest turned 9, my heart ached as I realized “our time” with him was halfway over. Reflecting on the previous nine years and the speed at which they passed, I know that the next nine will be a blur – and then he’ll be 18.
Which is a good thing. It means he’s healthy, growing and things are as they should be. And although I’m proud of the young man he’s becoming, I still have this small pocket of sadness, and I’m not sure where to put it. I can’t even explain why it’s there.
Four months after his birthday, my grandmother died. She was 84, but still, it was unexpected. She was probably ready, but we weren’t. I guess you never are.
I take comfort in the fact that she passed away peacefully and was released in death from the constraints of her aged mind and body. And best of all, I know she’s been reunited in heaven with her husband – my grandfather – who died 43 years ago. I can’t imagine how much she missed him.
But now that she’s gone, it’s the start of a new chapter for our family. I anticipate a happy ending, but it’s different. Not bad, just different, and for some reason, that makes my heart ache a little.
Maybe these feelings are as natural as the passage of time, maybe they’ll melt away.
But in the meantime, I won’t wonder “why” they’re there, just acknowledge they are and move forward, treasuring each moment and recognizing the significance of every day in the new year.
Kristen Tribe is the Messenger’s news editor.