Having not blogged since October, I wasn’t going to do a yearly round-up post, as it almost seemed disingenuous to sweep in with only a few hours remaining of 2015 and attempt to summarise twelve months worth of incredible highs and lows, and life in all it’s glorious messiness.  Not when this has been my quietest blogging year yet, when great swaths of time have gone by un-narrated.  But then all around me, on social media I have been seeing other people’s concluding paragraphs, and reading about their hopes and aspirations for the coming year and there is just something about that drawing a line and turning to a blank page that I can’t resist.  So here I am, joining in.

We started out this year with very little in the way of goals, but we knew that the year was going to bring big changes as in the first week of January we were approved as foster carers for our local authority and began eagerly awaiting the arrival of a baby to care for.

Little did we know how long we’d have to wait, but sure enough, after a few false-starts, she came into the world in March and into our hearts and home in April.  Then sixteen days ago she left, and there is no way on earth for me to put into words all that came between.  Fostering was a rollercoaster.  People say that about all sorts of things, and maybe it’s a fitting metaphor for them all, but in this case, I am telling you- nothing describes the experience more accurately.  Highs and lows, total loss of control, confusion about which direction you came from and where you’re heading next, and so, so so much vomit. Seriously.

The thing is, I can appreciate the appeal of rollercoasters, but I get motion sickness.  And I’m no longer speaking in metaphors now, I can barely ride the bus into town without turning green.  Fostering was one hell of a ride, and when the ride came to a stop I was glad I’d got on, but I also knew, as I climbed out of my seat on wobbly legs, with my heart in my throat, that I wouldn’t be lining up for another go.

I won’t say never, because it was only 18 months ago I made the decision to leave nursing, and now I’m barely 3 weeks away from going back to it, so I’m starting to see how timing and circumstance play a huge part in so many of the decisions that I see as final.  But for now, we’re done.

As for what else has happened this year- our youngest child started school nursery full-time, which was a huge tug on my heart strings (and, let’s be honest here, ovaries) but was also so right- as he was so very ready and he’s settled in wonderfully.  And Chris started studying for his masters, because he literally cannot just NOT and is determined to be a student forever, albeit now a student with a full-time job, a part-time job, a young family and precisely zero time to write any of the assignments…so yeah…good luck with that cariad 😉

We said goodbye to Chris’s Taid this year, a wonderful man whose last couple of years of life were stolen by dementia.

Then a little later in the year I found myself applying for a return to nursing post, and in what I’m sure is just a coincidence, but felt very *something* I was allocated to an elderly medical ward specialising in dementia and I start work there next month.

I edited the book I wrote last year and a couple of lovely people (you know who you are) have been good enough to read it through for me already and have given me some great feedback.  I also wrote what on some level I suppose, could be called another book?  Or at least a vague semblance of a first draft of something that one day could possibly become a book?!  But such are the pitfalls of NaNoWriMo I guess?  In any case, I barfed out over 50k of words during the month of November and there are characters, setting and even a bit of plot (!) and I’m looking forward to diving back in to sort that wonderful awful mess out at some point in 2016.

Other things I’m looking forward to are settling back into life as a family of four, instead of five.  We’ve overhauled our entire house since Squishlet moved on, and in some ways it’s worked really well, as there aren’t constant reminders of her time with us everywhere, so we’ve got used to her absence probably quicker than if say, her cot was still standing empty and her bottles lined up on the kitchen worktop.  And yet, when I check on the boys before I go to sleep at night, I still take one step towards her door to check on her, and it’s only in the last few days that Chris and I have stopped ‘hearing’ her crying or the beep of her Angelcare monitor.  So…it’ll take a bit more time for us to fully adjust I think.  But it’ll be nice to get back to some of the things that either are, or just feel, impossible with a baby in tow.  Like family bike rides for example *looks out the window at the storm*…ok, maybe not.  But I’m sure there are other things we can do to make the most of our new-found baby-free freedom.

As for any specific goals, hopes or dreams for the coming year, I feel that they’re very much the same as always- happy days with my boys, quiet nights with my nose in a book, more time in the company of friends and family, and if possible to avoid any hospital stays/CIDP related drama- always a bonus 😉

So- farewell 2015.  I doubt I’ll be awake to see in 2016, but I will welcome it with an open heart tomorrow morning when I wake at 5.40 to give Chris a lift into work.  Or at least, after a coffee I will anyway.

And thank you to everyone who has supported us during the highs and lows of this year, and for those of you who’ve taken the time to read my witterings, past, present and future.  I love you all xxxx