Twenty fifteen is rounding off to an end. It is 4am, a week before Christmas, and I am sitting in the gentle quiet as my family sleeps, reflecting on the past year.
I find that every year I do this, and I feel ready to see the back of each year and welcome in some good in the next. When I put down on paper just what this last year has entailed, it has been such a mash up of overwhelming emotion that I feel even more ready to just say, "see ya later 2015 - rock on 2016!"
Except the fact is, nobody knows what the future holds - what if next year is harder? Often when you reflect, you ask yourself, "how the hell did I get through that?" and you actually have no idea what made you keep on keeping on.
We've had some pretty majors happen this year. A year ago, my family was planning our Indian Christmas for mum who had missed out on her trip to India because the tumour in her brain had been found a week before she had been due to go, and then she had brain surgery the day she was meant to fly out.
A year ago, on the 23rd of December, we had packed up our house and moved to a new one.
In January, Eddie and I took the kids on our first overseas family trip and went to the NeSA conference in Adelaide.
At the end of January, my dad had his 60th birthday.
In April, we held our second Nevus NZ family gathering and met new friends we never knew we would have.
In May, my baby sister married her soulmate at their surprise wedding.
Two days later, we found out that the tumour had grown back in Mum's brain and she was told she had between 7-12 months without treatment.
At the end of May, we said goodbye to a dear friend, our elderly neighbour who had lived next door to us in the house we lived when Olive was born.
In September, my sister was admitted to hospital and had surgery for appendicitis.
The next day, my husband left for the trip of a lifetime to Tahiti with his mates.
That same day, my mum had her second brain surgery.
At the end of September, my husband left his job of 7 years and started a whole new career with my brother in law.
In November, mum underwent a 10 day course of targeted brain radiation.
Amongst all of this, we all turned a year older, Olive started at a new kindy, we've had celebrations, we've had feuds. We've had illnesses and we've had quiet times. Mum and Olive were on TV, people donated over $26,000 towards the melanoma treatment Keytruda for Mum.
And now we are in December, a week before the fat man in red turns up, and I am actually wondering how on earth I haven't yet found a grey hair.
To say that 2015 has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. Emotions have been running wild with all of us, and I find personally that the constant up and down of emotions is taking it's toll on me. I am exhausted. There is never any downtime as you get older, especially with young children, and that is taking it's toll on my body and my mind.
So I would like to make 'taking care of me' my New Years resolution. And I am starting early, by having my hair cut this morning and going out for some drinks tonight with some wonderful parents from the kids school. A year ago, I would have found an excuse not to go. No matter how much it appealed to me, my anxiety would have taken over and told me that it was too cold, I was too tired, the kids needed me, it wasn't fair on Eddie - anything to make me not go. And I wouldn't have.
But now that I have my anxiety under control, I am going to go out and I am going to enjoy the heck out of it. I am counting down the hours until I can leave!
We are going on a short holiday this Summer too, with good friends and their kids. Our first holiday over the Christmas break in many years as Eddie used to work through. I am really looking forward to it, and am grateful we can give this to the kids.
Olive has her dermatologist appointment in early January and I am not expecting any issues to arise. She is doing wonderfully, and we have no concerns.
Though this year has been more than tough, there are so many positives that have come out of it. I have made a bunch of new and awesome friends. My kids are gaining more independence and they are fast approaching the next chapter of their lives.
Eddie and I are stronger than we have ever been and our teamwork seems to be paying off, with each getting a bit more time out, and the kids respecting that both Mum and Dad deserve that.
I appreciate all I have, and am so grateful to all that everyone gives me - love, support, encouragement. It all makes my life richer.
And the best part? Is that on Monday this week we had news that the tumours in Mum's lymph nodes and lung have gotten SMALLER. And no sign of disease in her brain. Best present ever.