I almost inexplicably hate review shows about the ‘previous year,’ although I do love year-review for albums. That’s really it. Music is kind of the only thing deserving of getting reviewed in reflection on an annual basis. Maybe top internet searches just to give perspective. But this isn’t like those, I’m not rating my year, I’m simply laying it out like a newly washed rug and taking a step back to see how it fits in the room.
This may not have been the start of the year, but it’s hard to bookend a year without talking about the 28# baby in the room. He was born in February, pulled from the clutches of Lis’s interior on the 15th. We spent three days building up, then Lis got sliced open, I saw a tiny human being yanked through a hole in my wife’s stomach and got to tell the sex of said tiny human. I cut the cord too. I listened to the placenta being ram-fisted with a gut push like the world’s worst fart. I held him before Lis’s arms were released from the crucifix-like spread of the operating table. Everyone says it’s a super happy moment, and part of it was, but I wasn’t sure if I was only suppressing my fear of now having this responsibly and feigning overjoy or if I was actually elated. Sleep deprivation, emotional roller-coasters, over caffeinated, fear, happiness, shock, joy, horror – all played their part in making me feel the most disconnected from myself than I had ever felt in my life.
People say that was the easy part – thus far, it’s been the hardest.
It may sound strange – but, emotionally, Finn didn’t feel like a part of our lives until about two or three weeks after getting home from the hospital. Having family visiting was fantastic, but after plowing through the most stressful, beautiful, horrible, wonderful thing in your life the last thing you want is to ask your mother if she wants some more tea. I am glad Lis was off as long as she was. Sharing the load of diapers, bottles, and emotional weight made the transition to my solo tour that much easier.
I still snap awake from work or reading to the mysterious cries from the next room – oh right, I’m a dad.
Let me be clear, I like going to them. It’s like prom but the older people tell much dirtier jokes and the alcohol consumption is much more explicit. Lis and I held our reception more than half a year after getting wed. We had it at SPG. Our thought was great food, very small group, and little hassle. Oh whoa, how those aspirations of the uneducated in such a space are placed in the mire; of rude in-laws, of pushing family, of a tired baby, of unforeseen havoc in the most obnoxious sense. All I wanted was to eat some lobster rolls, show off my baby, shake some hands, and relax. Last time we will ever attempt something like that.
The fancy food show in DC. A few days in Chicago. A weekend here or there in Boston. A drive up the coast. A hike up a local Mountain. A visit to crashing ocean waves. A visit with family. A holiday. Funerals in Chicagoland. This year was like a roll of film from a long vacation. Snapshots of finally really enjoying a new state and enjoying our baby. We traveled a lot, we were on the move a lot, crossing half the nation via car, flying, being inundated with family and just getting round.
2012 was sort of getting to a place where I could be comfortable with brewing. It will slowly tilt from obsessive hobby to zealous unstoppable venture in no time flat. Resolutions aren’t quite my bag but I made an exception – I’m going to take this much more seriously. I can keep it fun, but let’s try to get something more out of it. Many homebrewers are complacent, this one is ready to go. Spreadsheet updated, recipes slotted, gobs of malt ordered, yeast lined up. From finding my way to building a ‘house brew,’ this will be a touchstone year for my beer.
This past year, I could have been truly living life. Maybe that is the underlying theme to my year – breathing it all in, from ocean air to hop aromas to ripe diapers.
Happy New Year.