Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Optimism

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year's celebration, whether with family, friends, four-legged companions, or in the superior company of yourselves (and a nice bottle of champagne).

I must say that I am optimistic about 2012. Our family is in a pretty good place.

It's true I'm jobless, but I have A Plan that involves writing (as usual) and making some money at it. I won't give up publishing for prestige and professional capital, but I will also pursue other kinds of writing that actually pay decently. And for those who have been following this blog for a while, remember how I sent my personal essay to an editor at Major, Major Magazine? Well, she read it the same day she received it (unheard of, but I wrote a killer pitch) and loved it. We're now waiting on the editor in chief. Cross your fingers for me!

It's true Lars is drowning in work over at Software Central, but on the other hand he is gainfully employed and appreciated by his boss and co-workers.

It's true Saskia has been especially eye-rolly and exasperated recently, but the other night we had a stunning, gratifying conversation about literature from 10:30-11:15 p.m., at which point I made her go to bed (and exacted a promise from her that she won't do a PhD in English. Anything but that).

Most importantly? It's true that Benjy has had a few relatively minor setbacks in the past few weeks, but overall he is functional, regulated, and happy. For the first time in years I am pretty sure he will survive into adulthood. Sure, things change -- sometimes hourly -- but I just have this feeling. He may not ever be able to make it through college or live independently, but those are worries for another day -- and I'd say there's a slightly lopsided chance he'll do something splendid and extraordinary with his life.

Last night, on New Year's Eve, we were at my brother and sister-in-law's house. All family plus my BFF Anke. There were around 15 of us there, in R-- and J--'s small house, and the sensory input was pretty overwhelming, even for me. Benjy was already kind of down when we arrived -- I think he's trying to come to terms with the great disparity in holiday giftage between him and Saskia and their two young cousins, who really, really raked it in this year -- and between jealousy and sensory overload his depression and anxiety quickly escalated.

Fifteen minutes after we walked in the house Grandma said to me, "Is Ben okay?"

"Where is he?" I wondered.

"In the hallway."

I got up and looked for him. He was pacing the hallway, wringing his hands. His face was tight.

I touched his shoulder as he passed. "Are you okay, Benjy?"

He did not answer me, just continued pacing like a caged tiger. Back and forth. After the fifth or sixth lap I went and got Saskia, who knew what to do. She took him upstairs to the Wii. The next time I saw him, close to an hour later, he was cuddling with Lars on the couch, and he was just fine.

And this is why I'm optimistic. What would once have escalated into a crisis involving Lars and me rushing around hiding scissors and knives, and engaging in near constant surveillance of our boy for a day or a week or a month, ended relatively quickly, after only 45 minutes. It turned out Ben was fine, and he made it, fine, into the new year.

Here's to a happy, healthy, productive, love-filled 2012 for us all!

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