It’s New Year’s Eve here in Tasmania, and like the worst possible Australian cliché, we have spent it on the beach. I’m not quite sure how – I reckon I’ll blame DorkySon – but somewhere along this wonderful journey we have turned into a family of wetsuit wearers. Even on days when the water temperature is a few degrees below balmy, we can now while away our hours bobbing in the Derwent.
Watching DorkySon in the water is one of my biggest pleasures at the moment. He is equal parts fear and joy – exhilaration is probably the word – and it is one of those learning experiences where we have no choice as parents but to step back. He is jumping and splashing, diving and flailing, starting to understand how powerful the tide can be. He knows how much fun it is to catch a wave and let himself surge to shore, but he’s also had a few mouthfuls of stinging salt water, and when it rises too high up his chest he checks to make sure we are near.
Christmas already feels like it is well in the past. We had the best day, full of champagne and sunshine (36 degrees!), wrapping paper strewn across the carpet and gold crowns worn with aplomb. But the tree and the cards are now down, DorkySon’s new jigsaws have found a place in his cupboard, and the chocolate stash is running low.
It was the perfect, quiet end to a busy year, and what a year it has been. DorkyDad has spent it working so hard on the University of Tasmania’s Anniversary celebrations. He has travelled across the world, bringing back jade from Hong Kong, a stuffed koala from Canberra, Lego from Copenhagen, and scores of new stories, connections and relationships. In addition to his work with the uni, he is taking on a new role next year as chair of the Tasmanian Writers Centre board. I am so excited to see what adventures that leads to.
DorkySon has finished his prep year. I remember last February his teacher told us to expect big things – that it would be a year of transition – but I hadn’t realised that I would reach December with such a happy, confident boy. He gets such immense pleasure from learning – from reading, writing, and maths – but also from spending time with his friends, from art, from music, and from running around outside in the playground. Tonight DorkySon asked us to write a list of our ten favourite things about 2015, and top of his list was ‘school’. We have five weeks of summer holiday left – five weeks that include a holiday on Bruny Island and a visit from his Scottish Grandpa – but he already can’t wait for the start of the new term.
What about my 2015? Well, poor old DorkyMum has been much neglected this year while I’ve focused on other writing projects. I’ve worked hard to try and get a foot on the freelance writing ladder, and while we can’t retire on the earnings quite yet, I’m so happy to have built some ongoing relationships with great editors, and to have had pieces published both online and in print.
But it leaves the blog in a funny place. Strong ideas that I would previously have just spraffed on about here, I now try to work into something well crafted that I can pitch elsewhere. That leaves all the more personal family stories for the blog, but I don’t want DorkyMum posts to turn into the online equivalent of the cringey round robin letters we’ve all just rolled our eyes at over the festive season. It’s a balance I’ll keep working on over the next year, but in the meantime I can make two promises. Number one: I’ll always value reader feedback, so if I write something that makes you roll your eyes you have to tell me. And number two: I promise not to share any pictures of the wetsuits. At least not of me, DorkySon looks frickin’ adorable in his…
Whatever your 2016 holds, I hope it is a wonderful one. I hope it is full of naps and good books, of tasty food and warm days, of hugs and music and left wing government.
Thank you for reading this year. I hope you stick with me in 2016 xx
I’ve been writing in some other places over the last month. I’m on Kidspot writing about how Christmas feels as an expat in Australia, and also about how challenging parenting is as an introvert. In addition to that, I’ve written a couple more pieces for The Crafty Pint – the first about Moo Brew’s tenth anniversary celebrations and the second about Moo’s new beer in a can. Finally, if you’re in a newsagents and you see the January edition of The Simple Things magazine, check out my city guide to Hobart, with loads of pictures and tips about the best things to see and do.