greetings from one of your biggest fans and harshest critics! you were horrible! you brought devastating wildfires and displaced children and crisis and riots and picketing and loneliness and loss and more division than i’ve ever experienced in my precious country before. you personally made me and mine move 16 hours from home, and you didn’t let 2.5 different house offers go through before that. you provided more time outs, more sobbing, more homesickness disguised as toy throwing, more threats, more growing pains to my toddler cub child.
you saw people take their own lives rather than feel safe and free to confront their demons together. you couldn’t stop it. but you had to bear witness to it. we all did, utterly helpless in the aftermath. we saw lives lost both with old age and far too young age. and we couldn’t do anything more to change it. you saw a human race walk daily with freshly broken hearts.
you saw so many mass shootings and a nation divided on just about every partisan issue available. you saw 24-hour news networks anxious to be the very first to terrify us before we had wiped the sleep from our eyes.
you saw comments, millions of hateful comments, from lonely people trying to create newer, lonelier people on the internet. you also saw Twitter, which…just…ugh.
i can only say that you, dear 2018, saw us at some of our most isolated. for a world that claims to be more connected than ever, we all certainly saw the most disconnection. you almost had us all convinced that electronics are a good replacement for eye contact.
but you know what else? you saw a movement where certain unspeakable predators finally received their comeuppance. the promise of some healing and change and hope for our future might endure.
you saw some awful religious fervor represented, yes, but you also saw some of the very best. deep, peaceful kindness. people doing God’s work out of love and gratitude for this great earth and the One who created it.
you saw men and women celebrating days, weeks, months, and years of sobriety. you were there for every chip received. or maybe you just saw them finally admitting there was a problem. that might be one of the bravest things of all.
you saw so many new books written and published and purchased from actual stores. because 2018! isn’t it wonderful that bookstores and libraries still exist? and we, as a society, keep demanding more and more words to be written? isn’t that the most miraculous thing? that we love to read and feel the magical connection of stories.
and museums. 2018, we all saw something new preserved and archived and documented because we recognize the importance of remembering. maybe we framed a child’s artwork. maybe the Guggenheim recognized a bigger child’s artwork. but we all worked to preserve what we know matters.
you saw babies being born and taking their first steps and hitting their siblings and throwing their food. you saw those in the waiting and grieving and hoping and enduring. you saw rainbow babies born. you saw home studies being done and red tape finalized and paper pregnant mamas and daddies going across the world to hug their babies for the very first time.
for every mass shooting, you saw people running into the danger. you saw heroes being born of terror and more courage than they knew they had. just because their fellow man needed them.
you saw dance parties and screaming song lyrics and an absolute refusal to let hate and fear win. you saw joy at its very best defiance, and you showed up every single morning and night with a chance to pause and a chance to begin again. well, i say you did that, but i feel God really gets the full credit for the sun and the moon.
2018, you were just stupid hard. you really were. like your cousins 2017, 2016, 2015, and, well, i guess everything since The Good Ole Days in the 50’s when were we were only afraid of the Russians and smallpox outbreaks.
but you were good, too, like all of your cousins. even on the very worst of days, the good of it all prevailed. The Trenches only expanded and provided even more comfortable seating for all of us on the 24-hour shift. the solidarity was like hot coffee most days.
so thank you for being. and tell this cousin we’re all about to meet tomorrow to get ready. she’s never seen a force of love like us before. we hope she’s agreeable from the start, but we’re braced with our thicker skin, more determined resolve and fuller hearts either way.
for auld lang syne, my dear 2018.
layne and the rest of the world.