Usually this time of year I start compiling my annual awards list, coveted by so many as acknowledgement that the 1,179,091st most popular blog on the internet has admired or condemned your work. In years past I've handed awards to Eva Longoria, Dane Cook, and Somali pirates (you can see the connection) but this year I'm going to follow the lead of Copenhagen Climate Conference and put it off until next year and get a little thoughtful.
Because...man, what a year.
It started out innocently enough, with a great Super Bowl and a cardiac arrest. Things were going swimmingly, with Cheeky trudging through the snow to her celebrity child-filled school while I hoisted my computer bag over my shoulder every morning and took the 4 train to Union Square. As long as we ignored the flight delays from Cleveland to La Guardia and the balance of our checkbook things were pretty OK.
Today I drove IN MY CAR to work IN TEXAS while Cheeky plays at her DAY CARE and Oodgie takes the ornaments off the fire hazard in the living OF OUR HOUSE.
My mind is numb from all the change. Friendships built with trips to playgrounds or shared elevator rides are now reduced to occasional text messages and Facebook updates. Cheekys occasional overnighters at ECG's house have been replaced by multi-day extravaganzas with airport pickups, shared bathrooms, and vain searches for authentic Thai food. I recall long walks past brownstones and bodegas, but now any store worth visiting involves traffic lights, freeway exits, and GPS. I recognize myself in the mirror every morning, but I hardly recognize my life at all.
Not that it's been bad. You could hear a deafening tearing sound as we left New York, but in the months since the promises of a better life are starting to be tangible. Despite inadequate staffing, chaotic clients, and periodically obnoxious hours I feel like I've FINALLY got a job I can both love and thrive in. Cheeky spontaneously yells "I love Austin" when we're walking around the lake or playing in the yard. It was 68 degrees the day after Christmas. Oodgie, long known for her resistance to happiness in most forms, has gone weeks without uncontrollable flatulence sobbing. There are even things we flat out love about the place.
It's been a crazy journey, but a new year is dawning which will be more about looking forward than looking back. I look at 2010 as the beginning of "best years of our lives," and I mean that in the most cliched way imaginable. But dammit, we deserve it, right?
So quickly, as the torch of 2009 starts to sputter and cough in the fading light, I want to pass out a small handful of awards.
The Ryan Bingham Award for Humanity in the Face of a Shitty Situation: To my old friends at iCrossing, who were kind and supportive after the company kicked me to the curb. Ironically, it was the work of a handful of them that made this new life possible. You know who you are.
The Lindy Chamberlain Award for Strength through Tragedy: ECG, who spends more time in Austin than the governor. Thanks for not suing for custody of Cheeky.
The Little Miss Fun Award for Perpetual Happiness (Except When Resisting Potty Training): Cheeky. Seriously, drop that kid in East Timor or Tora Bora and she'd probably have a great time.
The Tami Taylor Award for Grace Under Pressure: Oodgie (duh). It hasn't ALWAYS been graceful, but she's been a trooper during what has been a heart-wrenching experience, and has been the wing nut that holds our lives together. I love you, Oodgie.
I'd give myself an award but that's pretty self-serving, especially knowing exactly how influencial the 1,179,091st most popular blogger is.
And if you're reading this you deserve an award for coming back after two months of staring at my kids Halloween pictures. Don't you have some reruns to watch?
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2010 bring you joy, prosperity, and consequence free nachos and beer.