Every year around this time, I think about all the things that happened during the past 300 or so days. January always seems like it belongs to the year before to me. It's still unfathomable to me that I was hugely pregnant this time last year and that I could've gone from being a terrified and clueless new mother with an hours-old baby to someone who waits five minutes to pull the wrapping paper out of her child's mouth because it IS kind of funny.
Obviously, the appearance of the little angel was probably the biggest thing that happened for me, but I am still aware that things like a presidential election, a horrible tsunami and earthquake and a war waged on under my own personal radar. I was a bit distracted, thankfully, because all of the above were hugely disturbing to me and made me realize all over again how very little control I have over my environment.
Upon further naval-gazing, though, I think 2004 has been my finest year. It's the year I'm proudest of, anyway, and not just because I had a baby. That was something that kind of happened - my personal strength or perseverence could not have kept her inside me, even if I had wanted that - which I didn't. Any common weakling can get an epidural and experience childbirth. Other things happened, though, too. I taught my first college class, and out of 19 original students, about 14 or so hung in there until the end. One even begged me to teach Composition II (I taught Comp I) because she said she couldn't stand writing but didn't mind my class. I think this is the highest compliment community college professors probably get. I also became a manager of two, a term I should probably use loosely, because they don't really require management, but still. I was a manager once before, and I did a very bad job at it, because I didn't really own the experience very well. So 2004 was a whole year of firsts and rather a year of adulthood for me. There were many situations in which I realized I had to be the authority figure, which then would require me to be firmer than I usually am. I also realized that all that crazy responsibility probably also made me a BETTER person, because in trying to model the behavior I expected from my beloved, my students and my co-workers and subordinates, I probably did a better job than I would have had I thought no one was really watching. Interesting. I never really thought about this before.