I haven’t written a post about leap year before. The opportunity only comes along only once every four years, and I had barely started writing this blog in February 2012.
I tend to use mile markers to assess my life over the longer term. For example, on a major birthday, I might ask myself what I have accomplished in the last decade. Or I will mark that this year is the 40th anniversary of my graduation from college. So when I focused on this Leap Year post, I asked myself: What has happened in my life in the four years that I have been blogging?
Regular readers will be well aware of most of the major events in my life, but listing them helps me to reflect on what has occurred, if only to see how I have been changed.
When I started this blog early in 2012, my parents and both of my in-laws were still alive. Now, three of them are dead. My daughter’s skiing accident was still a year in the future, and she hadn’t bought her house or dog. My son lived in a different city and hadn’t started dating his current girlfriend. Suffice it to say, my world has changed in four years.
Here are some major markers in my life in the last four years. Some I’ve written about on this blog, but not all. Some are documented in my journal, and others exist only in my memory.
- January 2012: I published the first post on this blog
- March 2012: Publication of my Family Recipe anthology
- September 2012: My father-in-law died (anticipated, but still unexpected)
- November 2012: Our 35th wedding anniversary
- December 2012: The last time my family spent Christmas with my parents (unsuspected at the time)
- January 2013: My mother moved into assisted living because her Alzeimer’s was worsening
- February 2013: My daughter broke her leg and I went to care for her (sudden)
- March 2013: My mother turned 80
- April 2013: My father turned 80
- June 2013: My father’s last visit to my home in Kansas City (unsuspected at the time)
- November 2013: Publication of my first novel, under a pseudonym
- January 2014: I joined the board of a local writing organization
- June 2014: My last visit with my mother (unsuspected at the time)
- July 2014: My mother died (anticipated, but still unexpected)
- August 2014: My mother’s memorial service
- September 2014: My husband and I took a Rhine River cruise
- October 2014: My husband retired
- December 2014: My last trip to visit my father (unsuspected at the time)
- January 2015: My father died (sudden)
- January 2015: I resigned from the local writing organization, knowing I would be unable to fulfill my commitment to the group
- March 2015: The last time I stayed in my parents’ house—still full of their possessions and memories
- April 2015: My father’s memorial service
- July 2015: The last time I was in my parents’ house—empty by now
- August 2015: A family reunion of my husband’s family in Cannon Beach, Oregon
- October 2015: Publication of my novel, Lead Me Home—the first novel I published under my own name
- October 2015: My husband went back to work temporarily
- December 2015: My parents’ house sold
What I glean from putting together this list is how many events come upon us unexpectedly, like illness and injury and death. We cope as best we can, our lives thrown into turmoil. It takes days or months or years for us to regain a sense of control—if we ever do.
Other events we anticipate, like trips and retirements. The reality may live up to the anticipation, or it may not, or it may be different in ways we never expected (for better and for worse).
And yet other events we do not appreciate until much later. Like the last visit with someone. Or a trip you expect to make again, but then realize you will never return to that place. All you have is the memories, which make them more poignant than you thought they would be.
We must savor each moment. Which is a challenge as we face our harried lives. And which is difficult when we are thrown into turmoil.
What events have been most significant in your life since Leap Year 2012?